Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Manuel Puig: The Exploitation and Subversion of Stereotypes

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2003), 80, (2), 247–256.

Abstract

This piece attempts to explore the use of stereotypes, particularly those related to political activism and sexuality in two novels by the Argentine writer Manuel Puig. I examine the notion of the stereotype as imposed and repressive in relation to the voluntary adoption of stereotypical roles by characters. These, I argue, are closely related to psychoanalytical theories of identity and sexuality. Puig, however, shows how characters, like the bricoleur, may take advantage of what they have at hand — stereotypes of camp and drag, machismo and power — to subvert the dominant social order and create a language of resistance using the very terms of oppression. While this may seem a fanciful and utopian claim, I argue that Puig does not suggest solutions to political and sexual repression but offers potential tools for minority groups' struggles.

Este artículo intenta explorar el uso de los estereotipos en dos novelas de Manuel Puig, en particular los que están relacionados a la militancia política y la sexualidad. Analizo el concepto del estereotipo como una imposición represiva en relación a la aceptación voluntaria de papeles estereotípicos por los personajes. Sostengo que éstos papeles están estrechamente vinculados a teorías psicoanalíticas de identidad y sexualidad. Sin embargo, Puig muestra la manera en que, como un bricoleur, estos personajes pueden aprovechar de lo que tienen a mano — estereotipos de 'camp', 'drag', machismo y poder — para subvertir el orden social dominante y crear un lenguaje de resistencia con los propios términos de la opresión. Aunque esto parezca una afirmación exótica y utópica, sostengo que Puig no propone soluciones a la opresión política o sexual, sino dispone herramientos para las luchas que emprenden los grupos minoritarios.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Abercrombie, N., S. Hill, B. S. Turner, 1988. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology (London: Penguin). The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology Google Scholar

Bacarisse, Pamela, 1990. 'Manuel Puig: Boquitas pintadas', in Landmarks in Modern Latin American Fiction, ed. Philip Swanson (London: Routledge), pp. 207–21. Manuel Puig: Boquitas pintadas Landmarks in Modern Latin American Fiction 207 21 Google Scholar

Bacarisse, Pamela, 1986. 'The Projections of Peronism in the Novels of Manuel Puig', in The Historical Novel in Latin America: A Symposium, ed. Daniel Balderstone (Gathesburg: Ediciones Hispamérica), pp. 185–99. The Projections of Peronism in the Novels of Manuel Puig The Historical Novel in Latin America: A Symposium 185 99 Google Scholar

Barbero, J. M., 1993. Communication, Culture and Hegemony: From Media to Mediations (London: Sage). Communication, Culture and Hegemony: From Media to Mediations Google Scholar

Corbatta, Jorgelina, 1983. 'Encuentros con Manuel Puig', Revista Iberoamericana, 123–24: 591– 620. Encuentros con Manuel Puig Revista Iberoamericana 123–24 591 620 Google Scholar

Corbatta, Jorgelina, 1988. Mitos personales y mitos colectivos en las novelas de Manuel Puig (Madrid: Orígenes). Mitos personales y mitos colectivos en las novelas de Manuel Puig Google Scholar

Eagleton, Terence, 1983. Literary Theory: An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell). Literary Theory: An Introduction Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund, 1938. The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud (New York: Random House). The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud Google Scholar

King, John, ed., 1987. On Modern Latin American Fiction (London: Faber and Faber). On Modern Latin American Fiction Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia, 1984. Revolution in Poetic Language, trans. Margaret Waller (New York: Columbia U.P.). Revolution in Poetic Language Google Scholar

Lacan, Jacques, 1997. 'The Mirror Function as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience', 'The Symbolic Order' and 'The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud', in Literary Theory: An Anthology, ed. J. Rivkin and M. Ryan (London: Blackwell), pp. 178–205. The Mirror Function as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience', 'The Symbolic Order' and 'The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud Literary Theory: An Anthology 178 205 Google Scholar

MacAdam, A. J., 1977. Modern Latin American Narratives: The Dreams of Reason (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago P.). Modern Latin American Narratives: The Dreams of Reason Google Scholar

Merrim, S., 1987. 'Bridging the Gap: Freud and Film in Guillermo Cabrera Infante's Three Trapped Tigers and Manuel Puig's The Kiss of the Spider Woman', in King 1987, pp. 291–303. Google Scholar

Perón, Eva Duarte de, 1978. Evita by Evita: Eva Duarte Perón Tells Her Own Story (New York: Proteus). Evita by Evita: Eva Duarte Perón Tells Her Own Story Google Scholar

Puig, Manuel, 1976. El beso de la mujer araña (Barcelona: Seix Barral). El beso de la mujer araña Google Scholar

Puig, Manuel, 1979. Pubis Angelical (Barcelona: Seix Barral). Pubis Angelical Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Ryan, M., 1999. Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell). Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction Google Scholar

Sarduy, S., 1983. 'Notas a las Notas a las Notas. . .A Propósito de Manuel Puig', Revista Iberoamericana, 123: 555–67. Notas a las Notas a las Notas. . .A Propósito de Manuel Puig Revista Iberoamericana 123 555 67 Google Scholar

Smith, Paul Julian, 1989. The Body Hispanic: Gender and Sexuality in Spanish and Spanish American Literature (Oxford: Clarendon). The Body Hispanic: Gender and Sexuality in Spanish and Spanish American Literature Google Scholar

Sontag, Susan, 1967. 'Notes on "Camp"', in Against Interpretation and Other Essays (London: Faber and Faber), pp. 275–92. Notes on "Camp" Against Interpretation and Other Essays 275 92 Google Scholar

Williams, R. L., 1995. The Postmodern Novel in Latin America (New York: St. Martin's Press). The Postmodern Novel in Latin America Google Scholar

Wright, E., 1998. Psychoanalytic Criticism (Cambridge: Polity). Psychoanalytic Criticism Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Bollig, Ben