Thursday, November 29, 2007

Readings for the 5th week

The Sadness Collector by Merlinda Bobis

And she will not stop eating, another pot, another plate, another mouthful of sadness, and she will grow bigger and bigger, and she will burst.

On the bed, six-year-old Rica braces herself, waiting for the dreadful explosion- Nothing. No big bang. Because she’s been a good girl. Her tears are not even a mouthful tonight. And maybe their neighbours in the run-down apartment have been careful, too. From every pot and plate, they must have scraped off their left-over sighs and hidden them somewhere unreachable. So Big Lady can’t get them. So she can be saved from bursting.

Every night, no big bang really, but Rica listen anyway.

The house is quiet again. She breathes easier, lifting the sheets slowly from her face – a brow just unfurrowing, but eyes still wary and a mouth forming the old, silent question – are you really there? She turns on the lamp. It is girlie kitsch like the rest of the decor, from the dancing lady wallpaper to the row of Barbie Dolls on a roseate plastic table. The tiny room is all pink bravado, hoping to compensate for the warped ceiling and stained floor. Even the unhinged window flaunts a family pink paper rabbits.

Are you there?

Her father says she never shows herself to anyone. Big Lady only comes where you’re asleep to eat your sadness. She goes from house to house and eats the sadness in many houses, it just keeps on growing each day, so she can’t stop eating, and can’t stop growing too.

Are you really that big? How do you wear your hair?

Dios ko, if she eats all your mess Rica, she might grow too fat and burst, so be a good girl and save her by not being sad – hoy, stop whimpering, I said, and go to bed. Her father is not always patient in his storytelling.

All quite and still now. She’s gone.

Since Rica was three, when her father told her about Big Lady just after mother left for Paris, she has always listened intently to all the night-noises from the kitchen. No, that sound is not the scurrying of mice – she’s actually checking the plates now, lifting the lid off the rice pot, peeking into cups for sadness, both overt and unspoken. To Rica, it always tastes really salty, like tears, even her father’s funny look each time she asks him to read her again the letters from Paris.

She has three boxes of them, one for each year, though the third box is not even half-full. All of them tied with Paris ribbons. The first year, her mother sent all colours of the rainbow for her long, unruly hair maybe because her father did not know how to makes it more graceful. He must have written her long letters, asking about how to pull the mass of curls away from the face and tie them neatly the way he gathered, into some semblance of order, his own nightly longings.

It took some time for him to perfect the art of making a pony-tail. Then he discovered a trick unknown to even the best hairdressers. Instead of twisting the bunch of hair to makes sure it does not come undone before it’s tied, one can rotate the whole body. Rica simply had to turn around in one place, while her father held the gathered hair above her head. Just like dancing, really.

She never forgets talaga naman, the aunties whisper among themselves these days. A remarkable child. She was only a little thing then, but she noticed all, didn’t she, never missed anything committed even details to memory. A very smart kid, but too serious, a sad kid.

They must have guessed that, recently, she has cheated on her promise to behave and save Big Lady. But only on nights when her father come home late and drunk, and refuses to read the old letters from Paris – indeed, she has been a very good girl. She’s six and grown up now, so, even his refusal has multiplied beyond her ten fingers, she always makes sure that her nightly tears remained small and few. Like tonight, when she hoped her father would come home early. As he promised again. Earlier, Rica watched TV to forget, to make sure the tears won’t amount to a mouthful. She hates waiting. Big lady hates that, too, because then shell have to clean up till the early hours of the morning.

Why Paris? Why three years – and even more? Aba. This is getting too much now. The aunties can never agree with her mother’s decision to work there, on a fake visa, as a domestic helper – ay, naku, taking care of other people’s children, while, across the ocean her own baby cries herself to sleep? Talaga naman! She wants to earn good money and build a house. Remember, I only work in a factory... Her father had always defended his wife, until recently, when all talk about her return was shelved. It seems she must extended her stay, because her employer might help her to become “legal”. Then she can come home for a visit and go back there to work some more-

The lid clatters off the pot. Beneath her room, the kitchen is stirring again. Rica sits up on the bed – the big one has returned? But she made sure the pot and plates were clean, even the cups before she went to bed. She turns off the lamp to listen in the dark. Expectant ears, hungry for the phone’s overseas beep. Her mother used to call each month and write her postcards, also along love letters, even if she couldn’t read yet. With happy snaps, of course. Earlier this year, she sent one of herself and the new baby of her employer.

Cutlery noise. Does she also check them? This has never happened before, her coming back after a lean meal. Perhaps, she’s licking a spoon for any trace of saltiness, searching between the prongs of a fork. Unknown to Rica, Big Lady is wise, an old hand in this business. She senses that there’s more to a mouthful of sadness than meets the tongue. A whisper of salt, even the smallest nudge to the palate, can betray a century of hidden grief. Perhaps, she understands that, for all its practice, humanity can never conceal the daily act of futility at the dinner table.

As we feed continually, we also acknowledge the perennial nature of our hunger. Each time we bring food to our mouths, the gut-emptiness that we attempt to fill inevitably contaminates our cutlery, plates, cups, glasses, our whole table. It is this residua; contamination, our individual portions of grief, that she eats, so we do not die from them – but what if we don’t eat? Then we can claim self-sufficiency, a fullness from birth, perhaps. Then we won’t betray our hunger.
But Rica was not philosophical at four years old, when she had to be cajoled, tricked, ordered, then scolded severely before she finished her meal, if she touched it at all. Rica understood her occasional hunger strikes quite simply. She knew that these dinner quarrels with her father, and sometimes her aunties, ensured dire consequences. Each following day, she always made stick drawings of Big lady with an ever-increasing girth, as she was sure the lady had had a big meal the night before.

Mouth curved downward, she’s sad like her meals. No, she wears a smile, she’s happy because she’s always full. Sharp eyes, they can see in the dark, light-bulb eyes, and big teeth for chewing forever. She can hardly walk, because her belly’s so heavy, she’s pregnant with left-overs. No she doesn’t talk, she flies like a giant cloud and she’s not heavy at all, she only looks heavy. And she doesn’t want us to be sad, so she eats all our tears and sighs. But she can’t starve, can she? Of course, she likes sadness, it’s food.

Fascination, fear and a kinship drawn from trying to save each other. Big Lady saves Rica from sadness; Rica saves Big Lady from bursting by not being sad. An ambivalent relationship, confusing, but certainly a source of comfort. And always Big Lady as object of attention. Those days when Rica drew stick-drawings of her, she made sure the big one was always adorned with pretty baubles and make-up. She even drew her with a Paris ribbon to tighten her belly. Then she added a chic hat to complete the picture.

Crimson velvet with a black satin bow. Quite a change from all the girlie kitsch – that her mother had dredged from Paris’ unfashionable side of town? The day it arrived in the mail, Rica was about to turn six. A perfect Parisienne winter hat for a tiny head in the tropics. It came with a blank-draft for her party.

She did not try it on, it looked strange, so different from the Barbies and pink paper rabbits. This latest gift was unlike her mother, something was missing. Rica turned it inside out, searching – on TV, Magic Man can easily pull a rabbit or a dove out of this hat, just like that, always. But this tale was not part of her father’s repertoire. He told her not to be silly when she asked him to be Magic Man and pull out Paris – but can she eat as far as Paris? Can she fly from here to there overnight? Are their rice pots also full of sad leftovers? How salty?

Nowadays, her father makes sure he comes home late each night, so he won’t have to answer questions, especially about the baby photograph. So he need not improvise further on this three-year-old tall tale.

There it is again, the cutlery clunking against a plate – scraping the bottom of a cup? She’s searching for the hidden mouthfuls and platefuls and potfuls. Cupboards are opened. No, nothing there, big one, nothing – Rica’s eyes are glued shut. The sheets rise and fall with her breathing. She wants to leave the bed, sneak into the kitchen and check out this most unusual return and thoroughness.

That’s the rice pot being overturned –

Her breaths make and unmake a hillock on the sheets -

A plate shatters on the floor –

Back to a foetal curl, knees almost brushing chin –

Another plate crashes –

She screams –

The pot is hurled against the wall –

She keeps screaming as she runs out of the bedroom, down to the kitchen –

And the cutlery, glasses, cups, more plates –

Big Lady’s angry, Big Lady’s hungry, Big Lady’s turning the house upside down –

Breaking it everywhere –

Her throat is weaving sound, as if it were all what is ever knew –

“SHUT UP -!”

Big Lady wants to break all to get to the heart of the matter, where it’s saltiest. In the vein of a plate, within the aluminium bottom of a pot, in the copper fold of a spoon, deep in the curve of a cup’s handle –

Ropes and ropes of scream –


Her cheek stings. She collapses on the floor before his feet.

“I didn’t mean to. Dios ko po, I never meant to – “

Her dazed eyes make out the broken plates, the dented pot, the shards of cups, glasses, the cutlery everywhere –

He’s hiccupping drunkenly all over her –

“I didn’t mean to, Rica, I love you, baby, I’ll never let you go – “. His voice hoarse with anger and remorse.

“She came back, Papa – “

“She can’t take you away from me –“

“She’s here again – “

“Just because she’s ‘legal’ now – “

“She might burst, Papa – “

“That whore - !” His hands curl into fists on her back.

Big Lady knows, has always known. This feast will last her a lifetime, if she does not burst tonight.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Thanks to all 4H4 LIT102 students who took time to analyze the poems of the week. The readings that I am posting tonite were all sourced from my email as of 10PM. Apologies to Jared whose reading is not yet posted below. My computer doesn’t support the file you sent me. Please note that I am setting some lines in BOLD to emphasize your interesting take on the text.

ang babaeng nangangarap ng gising
by virgilio almario aka rio alma

The life of a typical Filipina who has experienced a lot of hardships in life. Despite the challenges and struggles she's been through, she still hopes a better life with her husband. She dreams of a peaceful and happy married life. She wants to escape these disappointments and she does it by day-dreaming. She wishes a happy life; she doesn’t want to experience any more pain. She’s been hurt so many times. She wants a perfect life, she may not achieve it in reality but through day dreaming, it gives her the blissful feeling. She’s a strong Filipina who possesses the quality of being patient and martyr. (Mary Christine C. Rojas)

"i think that the poem was written at a time when the country was still on the verge of industrialization and living in the city was at its peak. the woman in the story symbolizes a typical person living in the province that is blinded by the fast life and possibly a better future in the city. this was her ambition. simply put, to live in the city means to live in prosperity. now reality struck her, she got married to a drunkard husband in a home with few to eat. amidst all these, still she closes her eyes and dreams a life with violins playing and with sweet care from her husband." (Don Gaoiran)

pinapahiwatig sa tula na ang babae na tinutukoy sa tula ang naghihirap sa kanyang kalagayan sa kanyang asawa at sa buhay may asawa. pinahiwatig din sa tula na minsan ay nangarap din ang babae na magkaroon ng magarbong pamumuhay at mabait na asawa. (Gerald Perez)

Isang babaeng nakipagsapalaran sa lungsod para patunayan o asamin ang buhay na maginhawa at ang inasahan niyang magbibigay ng ganitong pamumuhay ay ang kanyang prinsipe na makikilala niya sa kanyang pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay. Inakala niyang nasa lungsod ang kasagutan sa kahirapang kinamulatan. Dahil sa lungsod nandoun ang trabaho at oportunidad. Ngunit sa kinasamaang palad bagamat mangmang sa lungsod at uri ng buhay dito, hindi prinsipe ang kanyang nakilala kundi isang lalaking ginamit ang kanyang pagkainosente. Na maaring pinangakuan siya ng magandang kinabukasan ngunit kabaliktaran ng kanyang inaasahan. Huli na ang lahat para linguning muli ang pinangarap na buhay dahil ngayon siya ay kasangkapan na lamang ng asawa kun baga parang "entertainment and maid or worst slave" na lang ang silbi niya.Lungsod pertains to manila where most of the people esp. from the province seeks opportunities. Nagbakasakali siya na suwertehin sa buhay lungsod and umalis sa buhay mahirap. Pero siguro naging mailap ang pagkakataon at sa kanyang pakikipagsapalaran sa lungsod nakilala niya itong isang lalaki na nagpakita ng pagasa at kasagutan. Siguro wala na siyang ibang choice kundi patulan ito. Maaaring mapariwara o wala na talaga siyang ibang mapupuntahan kaya sumama siya sa lalaki at naging asawa nito.
(Ballesteros, Josephine A. 4H4)

para malimutan ng babae ang kanyang nararamdaman hirap at sakit, ibinabaling na lang niya sa pangangarap ng gising ng mga bagay na kanyang inaambisyon. (Go, Marie Tzarina, 4H4)

May isang babaeng probinsyana na nangarap umahon sa kahirapan. Siya ay nakipagsapalaran sa lungsod ngunit sa hindi inaasahang pangyayari, siya ay nadala ng tukso o makamundong pagnanasa. Dahil sa pangyayaring ito, naglaho ang kanyang pangarap. Ngayon, siya na lamang ay nangangarap ng gising. Dahil sa kahirapan at pagkaligaw ng landas, siya ay napilitang gumawa ng masama. Hindi rin maganda ang naging buhay niya sa kanyang asawa. Sa tuwing ang lalaki ay darating, siya ay pipikit at magpapanggap na siya ay sasalubong sa prinsipe niyang lasing at mangangarap ng gising na ang bawat himas ng asawa’y kaginha-ginhawa. Lumalabas na siya ay itinuturing na laruan lamang ng asawang lasing. (Morales, Raisa )

Para sa akin, ang ibig sabhin ng tulang ito ay, may isang babaeng mahirap at lumaki sa malansa at bukid na basa sa isang liblib na nayon, siya'y nangarap na sanay makatagpo sya ng isang prinsipe na maaaring makapagpaganda ng kanyang buhay at mamuhay na parang prinsesa, kaya lunsod ay kanyang tinungo, subalit ang babaeng ito ay bigo sapagkat nilamon sya sa tukso ng lungsod at kanyang natagpuan ay lalaking lasenggero lamang, ang lahat ng kanyang pangarap ay naglaho at ang kanyang mga nais na matupad sa buhay ay hanggang sa pangarap na lamang. (Sandy Rose Arabia)

the girl wanted to get out of the life she is living in the "bukid". the kind of life that her husband gave her, her husband who is a drunkard and who is always away from home. she is dreaming to have a better life. but then when she found out that her husband is coming home from somewhere, she prepared herself while awaiting for her husband. the dreaming girl, though wanting to have a better life still succumbs to the presence of her husband. that she could forget everything for the man she loves. she would do anything for her husband, whom she loves. (-Nathalie Manuel, 4h4)

she’s dreaming of the ideal man for her while she’s cooking. Flashing back to her memories, she promised to herself that she will rise up from the life of an ordinary provincial girl. Hoping that one day, her ideal guy will come and rescue her, she marries a drunkard (Kim Salvador)

Ang Babaeng Namumuhay ng Mag-isa

the woman in the story had a troubled past that had her scarred for life. this incident wrote a false impression on her. she was treated unfairly by the people around her because of her solitude. despite what people call her, she is undaunted that her dreams will be fulfilled and that it will all come true...even if she's separated, an old-maid, a mistress and a whore. (Don Gaoiran)

The poem speaks of the past of an old woman. Binansagan siya ng sari saring pangalan. And the past still haunts her but that doesn't stop her from proving her worth in the society. Lahat ng mga napagdaanan niya ay may mga dahilan na kapag ibinahagi niya sa lipunan mali pa rin o masama para sa kanila. Maaaring sa hirap ng buhay napilitan siyang pumasok sa isang trabahong kinailangang walang malisya o pakikiapid sa iba. Gumamit ng tao para sa kanyang kaginhawahan. Hindi naging maganda ang propesyon o ibang aspeto ng kanyang pamumuhay. Pinili niya ang landas na ito maaari dahil sa kagipitan o kawalan na ng paraan. Inisip niya na kinailangan niyang makasurvive sa hamon ng buhay. Pero kapalit nun ay ang tingin ng tao sa kanya. Gusto niyang pabayaan na siya ng tao at wag ng pagisipan pa ng ibang bagay dahil buhay naman niya ito at siya ang pangunahing aktor ng bawat kabanata. Para sa kanya anong alam ng tao sa totoong istorya ng naging buhay niya. Ipaliwanag man niya may posibilidad ba na mabago ang pagtingin sa kanya?Nakadikit sa kanya ang kanyang prinsipyo. maaring ito ay ang prinsipyo ng pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay na hindi malinaw ang direksyon. (Ballesteros, Josephine A. 4H4)

hindi naman siya isang perpektong tao pero pinipilit niya tumayo sa bawat pagkakamali at pagkukulang. ang estado ng babae sa tula ay naging basehan ng lipunan sa kanyang pagkatao ngunit ang pag-iisa niya ay di naman kasalanan basta wala siyang ibang taong sinasaktan o tinatapakan. (Go, Marie Tzarina, 4H4)

Isang babaeng piniling mamuhay ng mag-isa. Sa pasyang ito, marami ang humusga sa kanyang pagkatao. Marahil ay hindi naging maganda ang kinagisnang pamumuhay o ang kanyang nakaraan kaya’t ganoon na lamang ang pagkutya sa kanyang katauhan. Marami na siyang pagsubok na pinagdaanan na tumimbang at sumuri sa kanyang katauhan. Ang pag-iisa o pagpili sa kalayaan ay bumuo ng paghuhusga sa kanya ng lipunan. Hindi niya tinalikuran ang pag-ibig, pananagutan, pangarap at pag-asa. Ninais niya lamng na magkaroon ng kalayaan na patakbuhin sa kanyang sariling puso at isipan ang kanyang buhay. Ninais niyang mailayo ang katauhan sa pangalang ikinabit sa kanya. Ninais niyang maging malaya at mamuhay ng walang humuhusga sa kanya. (Morales, Raisa)

ang aking interpretasyon sa tula ay tungkol sa babaeng puta o bayaran. o tinatawag nilang bababeng mababa ang lipad. na tila nahusgahan na siya agad at kinukutya ng mga mapanghusgang mata. hindi na siya napagbigyan ng pagkakataon na maipakita kung sino talaga siya at anung klaseng ugali meron siya. (Gerald Perez)

Ang kuwentong ito ay para sa isang babae na namumuhay mag isa at naghihinagpis, naghihinakit dahil sa pagkutya sa kanya ng lipunan, madaming ikinabit sa kanyang pangalan tulad ng kerida, puta, matandang dalaga at hiwalay sa asawa, ang lahat ng ito at totoo, subalit ang hindi alam ng mga taong kumukutya sa kanya ay meron syang dahilan kung bakit sya nagkaganun, sa madaling salita nais lamang ng babaeng ito na sya ang magpatakbo o humawak ng kanyang sarili, magkaroon ng laya, makapag desisyon para sa sarili at yun ang di nauunawaan ng mga taong kumukutya sa kanya, ng mga taong nagkaruon ng kaugnayan sa buhay nya, para sa kanya "ang pag iisa ay di ibig sabihin ng pagtalikod sa mga responsibilidad tulad ng pag-ibig, pagnanasa o pananagutan, hindi ito pagsuko "kundi ang nais lamang nya ay siya ang humubog ng kanyang buong pag katao at mamuhay ng payapa na walang ikinakabit sa kanyang pagkatao tulad ng kerida, puta, matandang dalaga at hiwalay sa asawa. Hiling sa lipunan ay sanay unawain ang kanyang pamumuhay na mag-isa. (Sandy Rose Arabia)

The character in this poem is bitter with her life. She doesn’t want to blame anybody with the life she has right now, it’s her choice, and it’s her decision. All that she is asking is that she doesn’t want to be judge and let her live her own life, a peaceful and normal life. She’s been thru a lot of things but she keeps herself strong and she continues the fight of her life. Maybe, in a way, she’s also asking for forgiveness in all her wrong actions of the past. She doesn’t want to be alone, it’s not her decision but being alone in life is the best thing she can think for herself. (Mary Christine C. Rojas)

i like the message of the poem even though it was about a girl who is not liked by the society because of her social status and the kind of work she had. but then the poem gives us the message that sometimes, it's ok to live alone, without anyone, away from everyone that to live with criticizing people around you. the woman here proved that she is strong even if she failed a couple of times before. that she can live away from all the negative reactions of the people. it's not that she is weak that's why she opted to love alone, but because she just got tired of the people around her who has nothing good to say about her. this time, she wants to live her life on her own, without anybody free from the people. (Nathalie Manuel, 4h4)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Readings for this (4th) week

*Will recap on Manalang Gloria and Dato’s poems.
*Quiz (including Si Richard Gomez at Ang Mito ng Pagkalalaki, at least before the discussion)

Reading Assignment:
Ang Babaeng Nangarap ng Gising by Rio Alma
Babaeng Namumuhay ng Mag-isa y Joy Barrios
The Mats by Francisco Arcellana

ang babaeng nangangarap ng gising
by virgilio almario aka rio alma

Nakayakap siya sa sandok na bali
Nang muling magising
Habang nagtatalo ang subo't sagitsit
Ng tuyo't sinaing.
Kumukutitap pa sa sulok ng mata
Ang planeta't bitwin
Bagama't naglaho ang sintang prinsipe,
Hasmin at palangkin.

Naisumpa niya noong dalagita
Na siya'y aahon
Mula sa malansa at bukid na basa
Ng liblib na nayon;
Kipkip ang pangarap sa isang tampipi,
Hindi lumilingong
Napaangkin siya sa tukso ng lungsod
At bughaw na layon.

Tulad sa isatorya ng ligaw na sisiw,
Pagod na at lanta
Nang kanyang kagatin ang buhay sa isang
Lumang aksesorya.
May nakapagsabing darating nga ngayon
Ang galang asawa
Kaya't maaga pa'y naghanda't naglinis
Saka nagpaganda.

Sa pagbukas ng pinto, siya ay pipikit
Sa saliw ng b'yolin
At magpapalunod sa hasmin at himas
Ng asawang lasing.

ang babaeng namumuhay ng mag-isa
by joi barrios

Babae akong namumuhay nang mag-isa,
hiwalay sa asawa,
matandang dalaga,
Ang aking pag-iisa'y
batik na itinuturing,
latay na pabaon ng nakaraan,
pilat na taglay habambuhay.
May pagsusulit na di ko nakayanan,
may timbangan sumukat sa aking pagkukulang,
may pagsusuring kumilatis
sa pagkatanso ng aking pagkatao.
Lagi'y may paghuhusga sa aking pag-iisa.
Ang di nila nakita'y
akin ang pasya.
Maliit na kalayaang
hinahamak ng iba pang
pagkapiit at pagkaalipin
sa aking lipunan.
Ang pag-iisa'y di pagtalikod sa
pag-ibig, o pagnanasa o pananagutan.
Hindi ito pagsuko
sa katuparan ng mga pangako
o pagkakatutuo ng mga pangarap.
Hindi pagtanaw sa buhay
nang hubad sa pag-asa.
Paghangad lamang
na kamay ko ang magpatakbo sa aking orasan,
puso at isipan ang sumulat ng aking kasaysayan,
sarili ko ang humubog sa aking kabuuan.
Hayaan akong mamuhay nang payapa,
nang hindi ikinakabit sa aking pangalan
ang mga tawag na pagkutya:
matandang dalaga,
hiwalay sa asawa.
Babae man akong namumuhay nang mag-isa.

The Mats
by Franz Arcellana

For the Angeles family, Mr. Angeles’s homecoming from his periodic inspection trips was always an occasion for celebration. But this homecoming- from a trip to the south-was fated to be more memorable than any of the others.

He had written from Mariveles: “I have just met a marvelous mat weaver-a real artist-and I shall have a surprise for you. I asked him to weave a sleeping mat for every one of the family. He is using many different colors, and for each mat the dominant color is that of our respective birthstones. I am sure that the children will be very pleased. I know you will be. I can hardly wait to show them to you.”

Nana Emilia read the letter that morning and again and again every time she had a chance to leave the kitchen. In the evening when all the children are home from school she asked her oldest son, Jose, to read it at the dinner table. The children became very much excited about the mats, and talked about them until late into the night. This she wrote her husband when she labored over a reply to him. For days after that the mats continued to be the chief topic of conversation among children.

Finally, from Lopez, Mr. Angeles wrote again: “I am taking the Bicol Express tomorrow. I have the mats with me, and they are beautiful. God willing, I shall be home to join you at dinner.”
The letter was read aloud during the noon meal. Talk about the mats flared up again like wildfire.

“I like the feel of mats,” Antonio, the third child, said. “I like the smell of new mats.”
“Oh, but these mats are different,” interposed Susanna, the fifth child. “They have our names woven into them, and in our ascribed colors, too.”
The children knew what they were talking about: they knew just what a decorative mat is like; it was not anything new or strange in their experience. That was why they were so excited about the matter. They had such a mat in the house, one they seldom used, a mat older than any one of them.

This mat had been given to Nana Emilia by her mother when she and Mr. Angeles were married, and it had been with them ever since. It had served on the wedding night, and had not since been used except on special occasions.

It was a very meaningful mat not really meant to be ordinarily used. It had green leaf borders and a lot of gigantic red roses woven into it. In the middle, running the whole length of the mat was the lettering:

Emilia y Jaime

The letters were in gold.

Nana Emilia always kept that mat in her trunk. When any one of the family was taken ill, the mat was brought out and the patient slept on it, had it all to himself, Every one of the children had some time in their lives, slept on it; not a few had slept on it more than once.

Most of the time the mat was kept in Nana Emilia’s trunk and when it was taken out and spread on the floor the children were always around to watch. At first there had been only Nana Emilia to see the mat spread. Then a child-a girl- watched with them. The number of watchers increased as more children came.

The mat did not seem to age. It seemed to Nana Emilia always as new as when it had been laid on the nuptial bed. To the children it seemed as new as the first time it was spread before them. The folds and ceases seemed always new and fresh. The smell was always the smell of a new mat. Watching the intricate design was an endless joy. The children’s pleasure at the golden letters, even before they could work out the meaning, was boundless. Somehow they were always pleasantly shocked by the sight of the mat: so delicate and so consummate the artistry of its weave.

Now, taking out that mat to spread had become a kind of ritual. The process had become associated with illness in the family. Illness, even serious illness, had not been infrequent. There had been deaths…

In the evening Mr. Angeles was with his family. He had brought the usual things home with him. There was a lot of fruit, as always (his itinerary carried him through the fruit-growing provinces): pineapples, lanzones, chicos, atis, santol, sandia, guayabano, avocado, according to the season. He had also brought home a jar of preserved sweets from Lopez.

Putting away the fruits, sampling them, was as usual accomplished with animation and lively talk. Dinner was along affair. Mr. Angeles was full of stories about his trip, but would interrupt his tales with: “I could not sleep off nights thinking of the young ones. They should never be allowed to play in the streets. And you older ones should not stay out too late at night.”
The stories petered out and dinner was over. Putting away the dishes and wiping the table clean did not at all seem tedious. Yet Nana Emilia and the children, although they did not show it, were all on edge about the mats.

Finally, after a long time over his cigar, Mr. Angeles rose from his seat at the head of the table and crossed the room to the corner where his luggage had been piled. From the heap he disengaged a ponderous bundle.

Taking it under one arm, he walked to the middle of the room where the light was brightest. He dropped the bundle, and, bending over and balancing himself on his toes, he strained at the cord that bound it. It was strong, it would not break, it would not give way. He tried working at the knots. His fingers were clumsy, they had begun shaking.

He raised his head, breathing heavily, to ask for the scissors ready. Alfonso, his youngest boy, was to one side of him with the scissors ready.

Nana Emilia and her eldest girl, who had long returned from the kitchen, were watching the proceedings quietly.

One swift movement with the scissors, snip! And the bundle was loose.
Turning to Nana Emilia, Mr. Angeles joyfully cried:“These are the mats Miling.”
Mr. Angeles picked up the topmost mat in the bundle.
“This, I believe, is yours, Miling.”

Nana Emilia stepped forward to the light, wiping her still hands against the fold of her skirt, and with a strangely young shyness received the mat. The children watched the spectacle silently, and then broke into delighted, though a little self-conscious, laughter. Nana Emilia unfolded the mat without a word. It was a beautiful mat: to her, mind, even more beautiful than the one she received from her mother on her wedding day. There was a name in the very center of it: Emilia. The letters were large, done in green. Flowers-cadena-de-amor-were woven in and out among the letters. The border was a long winding twig of cadena-de-amor.

The children stood about the spread mat. The air was punctuated by their breathless exclamations of delight.

“It is beautiful, Jaime; it is beautiful!” Nana Emilia’s voice broke and she could not say any more.

“And this, I know, is my own,” said Mr. Angeles of the next mat in the bundle. The mat was rather simply decorated, the design almost austere, and the only colors used were purple and gold. The letters of the name, Jaime, were in purple.

“And this, for you, Marcelina.”

Marcelina was the oldest child. She had always thought her name too long; it had been one of her worries with regard to the mat. “How on earth are they going to weave all of the letters of my name into my mat?” she had asked of almost every one in the family. Now it delighted her to see her whole name spelled out on the mat, even if the letters were a little small. Besides, there was a device above her name which pleases Marcelina very much. It was in the form of a lyre, finely done in three colors. Marcelina was a student of music, and was quite a proficient pianist.

“And this is for you, Jose.”

Jose was the second child. He was a medical student already in third year at the medical school. Over his name the symbol of Aesculapius was woven into the mat.

“You are not to use this until the year of your internship.” Angeles was saying.

“This is yours, Antonio.”

“And this, yours, Juan.”

“And this, yours, Jesus.”

Mat after mat was unfolded. On each of the children’s mat there was somehow an appropriate device.

At last, all the children had been shown their individual mats. The air was filled with their excited talk, and through it all Mr. Angeles was saying over and over again in his deep voice:
“You are not to use these mats until you go to the university.”

Then Nana Emilia noticed bewilderedly that there were some more mats remaining to be unfolded.

“But, Jaime” Nana Emilia said, wonderingly, with evident trepidation, “there are some more mats.”

Only Mr. Angeles seemed to have heard Nana Emilia’s word. He suddenly stopped talking, as if he had been jerked away from a pleasant phantasy. A puzzled, reminiscent look came into his eyes, superseding the deep and quiet delight that had been briefly there, and when he spoke his voice was different.

“Yes, Emilia,” said Mr. Angeles. “There are three more mats to unfold. The others who aren’t here…”

Nana Emilia caught her breath; there was a swift constriction in her throat; her face paled and she could not say anything.

The Self-centered talk of the children also died. There was a silence as Mr. Angeles picked up the first of the remaining mats and begun slowly unfolding it.

The mat was almost as austere in design as Mr. Angeles’s own, and it had a name. There was no symbol or device above the name ; only a blank space, emptiness.

The children knew the name. But somehow the name, the letters spelling the name, seemed strange to them.

Then Nana Emilia found her voice.
“You know, Jaime, you didn’t have to, you didn’t have to.” Nana Emilia said, and her voice was hurt and sorely frightened.

Mr. Angeles jerked his head back; there was something swift and savage in the movement.
“Do you think I’d forgotten? Do you think I had forgotten them? Do you think I could forget them.

“This is for you, Josefina.”

“This is for you, Victoria!

“This is for you, Concepcion.”

Mr. Angeles called the names rather than uttered item.

“Don’t, Jaime, please don’t, ” was all that Nana Emilia managed to say.

“Is it fair to forget them? Would it be just to disregard them?” Mr. Angeles demanded rather than asked.

His voice had risen shrill, almost hysterical; it was also stern and sad, and somehow vindictive.

Mr. Angeles had spoken almost as if he were a stranger.

Also, he had spoken as if from deep, grudgingly silent, long, bewildered sorrow.

The children heard the words exploding in the silence. They could neither move nor look away; his eyes held them, his voice held them where they were. They seemed rooted to the spot.
Nana Emilia shivered once or twice, bowed her head, gripped her clasped hands between her thighs.

There was a terrible hush. The remaining mats were unfolded in silence. The names which were with infinite slowness revealed, seemed strange and stranger still; the colors not bright but deathly dull; the separate letters spelling out the names of the dead among them, did not seem to glow or shine with a festive sheen as did the other living names.

The Dogeaters: Multi Layered Philippines

I post here a review of Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters staged by Atlantis production yesterday at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater at Yuchengco Towers, Makati. The review was written by Walter Ang.

A Multi-Layered Philippines
by Walter Ang

Dogeaters, now playing at the Carlos Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza though the staging of Atlantis Productions, begins with the ensemble cast announcing snippets of news reports, as if an invisible hand was tuning through all the stations of a radio, cleverly bringing the audience into the milieu of the this multi-layered play based on Jessica Hagedorn’s novel of the same title.

The sentences are clipped and the sound weaves in and out, leaving the audience with only enough bits and pieces to make out that the setting is the beginning of the end of the Marcos regime. A plethora of characters and their stories are introduced in the first act and the audience must stay attentive to grasp everything that is going on amidst the textured set designed by Kalila Aguilos. Smack in the middle of the galvanized iron sheets and barbed wire is a massive portrait of the former First Lady Imelda Marcos, whose off-stage ministrations, such as the construction of a film center and organizing a film festival, are a constant onstage presence that inexorably help bring the plot threads together.

Mirroring how many of the characters seem to be on the periphery of bigger events around them, however close to falling in to or quietly orchestrating the fray they are, the audience is made to feel like expectant voyeurs with all of the scenes being annotated by two broadcaster-announcer personalities Nestor Norales (a dapper Leo Rialp) and Barbara Villanueva (played with gusto by Ana Abad-Santos). Much like the long running radio soap opera hosted by these announcers, the play unfolds in snatches of scenes where tawdry gossip and dangerous secrets are revealed. The cast is populated by a wonderful mix of actors popular in TV and movies such as Michael de Mesa, Gina Alejar and Joel Torre as well as theater stalwarts like Rialp, Abad-Santos and Richard Cunanan with up-and-coming Philippine High School for the Arts alumnus Nicco Manalo in a convincing turn as a drugged-out Amerasian hustler. Directed by Bobby Garcia, all sixteen actors take on double or triple roles. Not to be missed is the fun and fabulous Diana Ross impersonation by Jon Santos, the scene-stealing thunder of Rez Cortez and the subtle but sure changes that Abad-Santos imbues her character as the play progresses.

The multitude of subplots soon builds up to the assassination of Benigno Aquino-inspired Senator Domingo Avila (Joel Torre), revealing two characters, his beauty pageant winner-turned-rebel daughter Daisy (Jenny Jamora) and witness-to-the-assassination Joey Sands (Nicco Manalo), to stand out and drive home the near epic story in a poignant, though somewhat curtailed, encounter. For those of in the audience who lived through or grew up in the 70s and 80s, the stories in Dogeaters are at once familiar yet blurred, distinct yet fractured. Watching the play becomes an exercise in gaining perspective on the events that inspired the veiled retellings onstage as filtered by time and through the playwright’s distance from where they actually happened. Though it seems some scenes would have worked better if the dialogue were in Tagalog instead of English, it only goes to build on the fact that Dogeaters is decidedly a vision of the Philippines in Hagedorn’s voice. As a counterpoint to the play’s insane, colorful array of drugs, guns, power, sex, politics, religion and everything in between, Hagedorn’s alter-ego Rio Gonzaga (Teresa Herrera) provides the concluding commentary. The balikbayan, who returns after more than a decade of being away and is lost in the middle of it all, points out that “everything is different but nothing has changed.”

To The Man I Married by Angela Manalang Gloria

Angela Manalang Gloria's poem, "To the Man I Married," metaphorically portrays her love for her husband by comparing her need for him to her need for the earth.

Angela Manalang Gloria’s "To the Man I Married" is a combination English/Italian sonnet: it consists of an octave with the rime scheme ABABCDCD and in the sestet EFEFGG.
The overall rime-scheme is that of the English sonnet, but instead of three quatrains and a couplet, it features the octave and sestet. Part II consists of two rimed quatrains with the rime scheme ABAB, ACDC.

In the octave, the speaker makes the bold claim addressing the man she married: "You are my earth and all that earth implies." The speaker’s claim alerts the reader to a metaphorical comparison: the addressee is her earth.

And just what does "earth" imply? Because the person is her earth, he supplies her necessities for life:

"air" that she breathes, the fertile soil where her food is grown.

"gravity that ballasts me in space,"

He gives her direction by his "orbit" that "marks [her] way / And sets [her] north and south, [her] east and west."

As most octaves in Italian sonnets do, this octave has offered a thought that will receive a twist in the sestet. While the octave implies a very close and sustaining relationship between the speaker and her husband, the sestet asserts that that closeness does not completely satisfy all of the needs of the speaker as an individual: "If in your arms that hold me now so near / I lift my keening thoughts to another one."

Even as she acknowledges her close, nurturing relationship with her husband, she finds that she needs "another one," because of her "keening thoughts." And then she metaphorically compares herself to a tree whose roots though "long rooted to the earth" raise their "leaves and flowers to the sun."

She needs the earth, but she also needs the sky, just as the earth does, just as trees need the sun. That does not diminish her love for and attachment to her husband, who is her earth. The speaker wants to make that fact quite clear so she repeats her claim

"You who are earth, O never doubt that I / Need you no less because I need the sky."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Week 3 Reading Assignment

attention: AB(POL SCI) class and MWF 5-6pm (HRM) class

sorry guys! i just found out that i do not have a soft copy of "Richard Gomez at Ang Mito ng Pagkalalaki." Unfortunately, it's also not available on the web. Please secure a copy for next week. Here is Luis Dato's The Spouse and Angela Manalang Gloria's To the man I married. Be sure to have your individual copies on Monday. I will check.

The Spouse
by Luis Dato

Rose in her hand, and moist eyes young with weeping,
She stands upon the threshold of her house,
Fragrant with scent that wakens love from sleeping,
She looks far down to where her husband plows.

Her hair dishevelled in the night of passion,
Her warm limbs humid with the sacred strife,
What may she know but man and woman fashion
Out of the clay of wrath and sorrow—Life?

She holds no joys beyond the day’s tomorrow,
She finds no worlds beyond her love’s embrace;
She looks upon the Form behind the furrow,
Who is her Mind, her Motion, Time and Space.

O somber mystery of eyes unspeaking,
O dark enigma of Life’s love forlorn;
The Sphinx beside the river smiles with seeking
The secret answer since the world was born.

To the Man I Married
by Angela Manalang Gloria

You are my earth and all the earth implies:
The gravity that ballasts me in space,
The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries
For food and shelter against devouring days.
You are the eart whose orbit marks my way
And sets my north and south, my east and west,
You are the final, elemented clay
The driven heart must turn to for its rest.

If in your arms that hold me now so near
I lift my keening thoughts to Helicon
As trees long rooted to the eart uprear
Their quickening leaves and flowers to the sun,
You who are earth, O never doubt that I
Need you no less because I need the sky!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Philippine Contemporary Fiction

Prior to the 1920’s, Philippine short stories are better classified as tales rather than stories, mostly ghost tales or folktales explaining natural phenomena with a theme in which a moral was brought home to the reader. Plot structure was worked along the easy, chronological, “and then” method, to use E.M. Froster’s terminology. The short-story writers of that era drew mostly on Western culture and Western models.

By the 1930’s the market for the Philippine short stories in English was no longer confined solely to the home front but had started to break into print abroad as well. Among the prominent writers were Paz Marquez Benitez, Paz Latorena, Arturo B. Rotor, Amador Daguio, Loreto Paras Sulit, Carlos Bulosan, and Manuel Arguilla. Bienvenido Santos and N.V.M Gonzales, although writing at that time, were not to gain wider recognition and a larger audience until after World War II. The years immediately before the war were characterized by a desire to create a “national literature”, not merely by writing about simple rustic life, Philippine flora and fauna, and Philippine national heroes, but by attempting to define the national psyche or identity, however evasive that might be.

By the end of the 1930’s the Philippine short story had already improved in quality, offering plausible characterization, a stricter control of language, and interesting situations and themes. The “modern” short story (in the sense of “contemporary” or “twentieth century”) was not to be written until after the war.

Manuel Arguilla, who died before the war, wrote the most significant prewar collection, How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife and Other Stories, exemplifying a dynamic tension between social commitment and artistic excellence – the objective of good literature both before the war and for all time. The social not was pursued in Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart, in the choice of subject matter and characters like the peasants and the laborers, and in the portrayal of the effects of politics on the private lives of people, the interrelation between economic conditions and political power.

N.V.M. Gonzales began writing in the 1930’s, but his first short-story collection was not published until 1947, when Seven Hills Away appeared. Other distinguished collections followed, all products of serious artistic effort and of an artistic creed which upheld the belief that art must involve working with material (a serious craft) and must be a thing of beauty (artistic/form). The social note in Gonzalez’s fiction never called attention to itself and never took precedence over the artistic objective, and Gonzalez was long considered the supreme craftsman, training many of his students at the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas always to labor with loving attention over every line and detail.

Likewise, Francisco Arcellana started literary career before the war, but his influence and reputation as one of the Philippines’ finest writers did not spread until after the war. His artistic ingenuity is most apparent in Divide by Two, with its strong emotional impact, its subtle manipulation of symbols, and the powerful rhythm of its language. Bienvenido Santos was another prewar youth and postwar writer whose first book of short stories, You Lovely People, about Filipino exiles in America during the war, was not published until well after the war’s end in 1955. Like Gonzalez and Arcellana, he wrote mostly about loneliness, alienation, and homesickness, all postwar maladies. And of course there was Nick Joaquin, who stood above his contemporaries both as craftsman and as cultural historian. His mastery of the language is manifested in his flexible style, one that could be lush and exuberant one moment, slangy or colloquial and very contemporary the next, depending on his subject, his vision matched only by a creative power that was quite unsurpassed in its sense of history, tradition, and art.
Gregorio Brillantes, in his volume of short fiction titled Distance to Andromeda and in other short stories, wrote particularly about the generation under thirty, adolescent and postadolescent youths who suffered alienation from family, from society, and from themselves. Brillantes writes with a sure hand, frequently offering rich insights about the Catholic faith as it illumines the lives of countless Filipino families.

These were the big names in the field of the short story, the artists who never used their art as a tool for social and political propaganda. More than mere preoccupation with form, their writing showed that they had significant truths to express and personal visions to share. More names shone on the horizon: Kerima Tuvera, Gilda Cordero Fernando, Aida Rivera Ford, Juan Gatbonton, and Andres Cristobal Cruz, to name but a few.

The 1960’s were, summarily, a period when writers seriously grappled with problems of art. The early 1970’s saw a proliferation of politically motivated or committed writing and protest literature. Short-story writers became more conscious of the political milieu and of social issues in the wake of the increased activism all over the world and right in their country, especially during the troubled days of a dictatorial government. Some of the more recent fiction writers include Paulino Lim, Alfred Yuson, Jose Dalisay, Mario Eric Gamalinda, and Cristina P. Hidalgo.
In the meantime, what about the novelists? The war provided postwar novelists with a subject. Stevan Javellana’s Without Seeing the Dawn focuses on an antiheroic protagonist hardened and embittered by the war, but ultimately vindicating himself and becoming almost heroic in the process. Edilberto Tiempo, the fiction writer and critic, wrote with an awareness of social history but remained strictly formalistic in his firm grasp of craft and his handling of history. Bienvenido Santos worked with a sense of pathos, irony, and realism, and took up the theme of personal and sociocultural alienation, especially among Filipinos stranded in America during the war, suffering from intense homesickness but somehow managing to endure with strength and fortitude and “loveliness” of spirit.

Francisco Sionil Jose’s monumental Rosales saga, which is made up of five novels, has, more than any other series of works, touched on this Filipino search for roots, as well as on struggle, social corruption, and the fight for social justice in postcolonial times. No other writer has been more widely translated on his own country and other countries. N.V.M. Gonzalez’s novels also reflect discipline, control, and irony, best reflected in his portrayal of the harsh world of the fisherfolk and peasants who endured and prevailed with dignity and grace in the face of pressure and want. His novels are manifestations of reality turned art.

Recent novelists have ventured into the murky terra incognita of postmodernism, rejecting the traditional concepts of fiction, portraying a world devoid of value and meaning, interweaving literature with journalism, history, biography, and even criticism. The objective is merely “pleasure of the text” through verbal or psychological constructs, a totality of vision. Examples of such avant-garde Filipino fictionists are Mario Eric Gamalinda, Jessica Hagedorn, and Alfred Yuson, to name but three of the more prominent figures.

Meanwhile, the influence of literature in the country is imperiled by the impact of modern technology on life and culture, and the Filipino writer feels it his responsibility to put literature back on track and in the center of life, aware of the perpetual need to upgrade and transform it into a meaningful social yet artistically forward-moving activity, opening up to a large interdependent world, listening to the polyphony of voices which could add to their own largeness of spirit and understanding, aware that they cannot continue to write in isolation, that each of the writings of all writers of the world is but a mere episode within that one general experience of the universal person forever in the process of unfolding and evolving.

(Required Reading! I post here Dr. Ophelia Dimalanta's Introduction to Philippine Contemporary Fiction which appeared in OAD Reader Vol. 2, 2006. Ma'am Ophie's Introduction is educational and more than worth your while.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Literary Glossary

setting the time and place of the action in a story, poem, or play.

(authorial time is distinct from plot time and reader time, authorial time denotes the influence that the time in which the author was writing had upon the conception and style of the text.)

in medias res "in the midst of things"; refers to opening a story in the middle of the action, necessitating filling in past details by exposition or flashback.

flashback a plot-structuring device whereby a scene from the fictional past is inserted into the fictional present or dramatized out of order.


plot/plot structure the arrangement of the action.

plot summary a description of the arrangement of the action in the order in which it actually appears in a story. The term is popularly used to mean the description of the history, or chronological order, of the action as it would have appeared in reality. It is important to indicate exactly in which sense you are using the term.

plot time the temporal setting in which the action takes place in a story or play.


exposition that part of the structure that sets the scene, introduces and identifies characters, and establishes the situation at the beginning of a story or play. Additional exposition is often scattered throughout the work.

rising action the second of the five parts of plot structure, in which events complicate the situation that existed at the beginning of a work, intensifying the conflict or introducing new conflict.

falling action the fourth part of plot structure, in which the complications of the rising action are untangled.

turning point the third part of plot structure, the point at which the action stops rising and begins falling or reversing. Also called climax.

conclusion the fifth part of plot structure, the point at which the situation that was destabilized at the beginning of the story becomes stable once more.


(1) a fictional personage who acts, appears, or is referred to in a work;
(2) a combination of a person’s qualities, especially moral qualities, so that such terms as "good" and "bad," "strong" and "weak," often apply.

major (main) characters those characters whom we see and learn about the most.

minor characters those figures who fill out the story but who do not figure prominently in it.

hero/heroine the leading male/female character, usually larger than life, sometimes almost godlike.

protagonist the main character in a work, who may be male or female, heroic or not heroic. protagonist is the most neutral term.

antagonist a neutral term for a character who opposes the leading male or female character. also the villain.


characterization the fictional or artistic presentation of a fictional personage. A term like "a good character" can, then, be ambig-uous—it may mean that the personage is virtuous or that he or she is well presented regardless of his or her characteristics or moral qualities.

flat character a fictional character, often but not always a minor character, who is relatively simple; who is presented as having few, though sometimes dominant, traits; and who thus does not change much in the course of a story.

round characters complex characters, often major characters, who can grow and change and "surprise convincingly"—that is, act in a way that you did not expect from what had gone before but now accept as possible, even probable, and "realistic."

stereotype a characterization based on conscious or unconscious assumptions that some one aspect—such as gender, age, ethnic or national identity, religion, occupation, marital status, and so on—is predictably accompanied by certain character traits, actions, even values.
persona and personality

persona the voice or figure of the author who tells and structures the story and who may or may not share the values of the actual author.

personality that which distinguishes or individualizes a person; its qualities are judged not so much in terms of their moral value, as in "character," but as to whether they are "pleasing" or "unpleasing."


narrator the character who "tells" the story.

first-person narrator a character, "I," who tells the story and necessarily has a limited point of view; may also be an unreliable narrator.

second-person narrator a character, "you," who tells the story and necessarily has a limited point of view; may be seen as an extension of the reader, an external figure acting out a story, or an auditor; may also be an unreliable narrator.

third-person narrator a character, "he" or "she," who "tells" the story; may have either a limited point of view or an omniscient point of view; may also be an unreliable narrator.

The unreliable narrator
unreliable narrator a speaker or voice whose vision or version of the details of a story are consciously or unconsciously deceiving; such a narrator’s version is usually subtly undermined by details in the story or the reader’s general knowledge of facts outside the story. If, for example, the narrator were to tell you that Magellan was Spanish and that he discovered Manila in the fourteenth century when his ship Victoria landed on the coast of Boracay near present-day Palawan, you might not trust other things he tells you.

implied author the guiding personality or value system behind a text; the implied author is not necessarily synonymous with the actual author

voice the acknowledged or unacknowledged source of a story’s words; the speaker; the "person" telling the story.

Focus and point of view

focus the point from which people, events, and other details in a story are viewed. This term is sometimes used to include both focus and voice.

point of view also called focus; the point from which people, events, and other details in a story are viewed.

omniscient point of view also called unlimited point of view; a perspective that can be seen from one character’s view, then another’s, then another’s, or can be moved in or out of any character’s mind at any time. Organization in which the reader has access to the perceptions and thoughts of all the characters in the story.

limited point of view or limited focus a perspective pinned to a single character, whether a first-person-or a third-person-centered consciousness, so that we cannot know for sure what is going on in the minds of other characters; thus, when the focal character leaves the room in a story we must go, too, and cannot know what is going on while our "eyes" or "camera" is gone. A variation on this, which generally has no name and is often lumped with the omniscient point of view, is the point of view that can wander like a camera from one character to another and close in or move back but cannot (or at least does not) get inside anyone’s head and does not present from the inside any character’s thoughts.

unlimited point of view also called omniscient point of view; a perspective that can be seen from one character’s view, then another’s, then another’s, or can be moved in or out of any character’s mind at any time. Organization in which the reader has access to the perceptions and thoughts of all the characters in the story.

centered (central) consciousness a limited third-person point of view, one tied to a single character throughout the story; this character often reveals his or her inner thoughts but is unable to read the thoughts of others.


(1) a generalized, abstract paraphrase of the inferred central or dominant idea or concern of a work;
(2) the statement a poem makes about its subject.

(1) the concrete and literal description of what a story is about;
(2) the general or specific area of concern of a poem—also called topic; (3) also used in fiction commentary to denote a character whose inner thoughts and feelings are recounted
genre the largest category for classifying literature—fiction, poetry, drama.

motif a recurrent device, formula, or situation that deliberately connects a poem with common patterns of existing thought.

canon when applied to an individual author, canon (like oeuvre) means the sum total of works written by that author. When used generally, it means the range of works that a consensus of scholars, teachers, and readers of a particular time and culture consider "great" or "major." This second sense of the word is a matter of debate since the literary canon in Europe and America has long been dominated by the works of white men. During the last several decades, the canon in the United States has expanded considerably to include more works by women and writers from various ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Tragedy a drama in which a character (usually a good and noble person of high rank) is brought to a disastrous end in his or her confrontation with a superior force (fortune, the gods, social forces, universal values), but also comes to understand the meaning of his or her deeds and to accept an appropriate punishment. Often the protagonist’s downfall is a direct result of a fatal flaw in his or her character.

high (verbal) comedy humor that employs subtlety, wit, or the representation of refined life.

low (physical) comedy humor that employs burlesque, horseplay, or the representation of unrefined life.

memory devices also called mnemonic devices; these devices—including rhyme, repetitive phrasing, and meter—when part of the structure of a longer work, make that work easier to memorize.

imagery broadly defined, any sensory detail or evocation in a work; more narrowly, the use of figurative language to evoke a feeling, to call to mind an idea, or to describe an object.

irony a situation or statement characterized by a significant difference between what is expected or understood and what actually happens or is meant. See cosmic irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony.

sourced from w.w. norton and company

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Course Syllabus LIT205A for ITHM

LIT102 Course Syllabus: Philippine Literature
Instructor: Timothy Sanchez
Official website:

Course Objectives

This course is designed to develop among students an awareness and appreciation of the depth and breadth of our country’s literatures in order to foster among them the desire for truth, love for country and nature, which will eventually constitute a competent, compassionate and committed Thomasian.

Learning Outcomes and Competencies

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to demonstrate the following on appropriate testing/evaluation instruments:
1. Read and Analyze literary selections that exemplify the multivalent Filipino experiences and their multivocal articulations.
2. Understand how the Filipino is constituted in Philippine literary texts.
3. Appreciate the different types and forms of Filipino literatures.
4. Value cultural differences and similarities embodied in Philippine Literary outpourings.
5. Write a critique paper on a Filipino novel, epic or drama.
6. Transform and extend creatively Philippine Literary materials to other artistic expression.

Intellectual Competencies Expected of all Students Enrolled in General Education Courses in English and the Humanities

Students will find that although they are only taking this General Education course in their Senior class (General Education Course is supposed to be taken up in their freshman and sophomore years), this course will afford them the opportunity to refine their existing skills in the following six areas:

Reading: Reading at the college level means the ability to analyze and interpret a variety of printed materials.

Writing: Competency in writing is the ability to produce clear, correct, and coherent prose adapted to purpose, occasion and audience.

Speaking: Competence in speaking is the ability to communicate orally in clear, coherent, and persuasive language appropriate to purpose, occasion, and audience.

Listening: Listening at the college level means the ability to analyze and interpret various forms of spoken communication.

Critical Thinking: Critical thinking embraces methods for applying both qualitative and quantitative skills analytically and creatively to subject matter in order to evaluate arguments and to construct alternative strategies.

Computer Literacy: Computer literacy at the college level means the ability to use computer-based technology in communicating, solving problems, and acquiring information.

**Since HRM students are taking this course in their Senior year, there is a much higher expectation from them especially since they have already taken up ENG1, SPEECH, LIT001, ETC. in the past.

Course Methodologies
1. Lectures
2. Report /Discussion
3. Creative/Critical Writing (see Writing Assignment)
4. Drama Presentation/Dramatic Reading (see Final Requirement)
5. Film Viewing6. Field Exposure (see Contingency)

Assessment Procedures

Students will listen to lectures, participate in class discussions through reporting, and write about the authors and works through activities that include essay exams and critical papers. Successful essays and papers must respond to the requirements established by the assignment prompt.

Traditional academic essays must contain a clearly stated arguable thesis, effective evidence used in support of the thesis, a clear organizational pattern, adequate paragraph development, paragraph unity and coherence, and appropriate and accurate documentation, including paraphrasing, quoting, and a "works cited" list at the end when requested by the prompt.

All essays, quizzes and papers must be written according to conventional standards of English grammar and punctuation and should not contain errors that significantly harm or diminish meaning. The following are considered major grammatical errors: sentence boundaries, subject/verb disagreement, and verb tense and form. All essays, quizzes and papers must be written for the appropriate reader and the subject, occasion, and purpose of writing. They must contain complex sentence structure and effective word choice and include a title.

Consultation Hours

Office: ITHM Faculty Room E-mail:
Monday-Thursday, 2-3 p.m.


Students may earn a maximum of 435 points, and grades are based on the percentage of those points a student earns. The percentage is traditional. Grades are broken down as follows:

Writing Assignments, Quizzes
135 pts., or 30% of your grade.
Midterm Examination
100 pts., or 40% of your grade.
Final Examination
100 pts., or 40% of your grade.
100 pts., or 30% of your grade.

(Keep track of the points you have earned for the assignments listed above and convert them into a percentage to determine your grade. For more information on calculating your grade in class, see the information on Quizzes and Grade Calculation below.)

Quizzes and Grade Calculation

Quizzes will usually be worth ten points. I will not announce quizzes in advance; students should expect one at the beginning of every class period. Students will be given ample time to complete quizzes if they arrived to class on time, but if a student is late for class he/she will have less time to complete the quiz. For instance (10minute quiz), if a student arrives 8 minutes late, he/she will only have 2 minutes to complete the quiz. If the student arrives after the quiz is over or if the student is absent, he/she will not be allowed to make up the quiz. At the end of the semester I may have one make-up/replacement quiz to allow the student to improve his/her quiz score or make-up a quiz he/she has missed.

Students may prepare for quizzes by using the (1)course pack reader, (2)lectures in our official website ( and (3) by reading taken lecture notes.

Lecture Notes

Taking notes from lecture is a required part of class and an essential habit of serious students. On any given class period I may ask the student to show me his/her notes for that class period. Merit in class participation.

Attendance and Class Participation Rules and Point Deductions

Attendance is mandatory; absences should be rare; tardiness and leaving early will be penalized; disrupting class is unacceptable. Each student will begin the term with 100 points for attendance and participation; these are the points to lose for violating class rules:-15 points per absence-10 points for arriving late or leaving early-10 points for failing to bring your course pack and required materials-5 points for failing to take lecture notes or completing homework-10 points for disrupting class (examples are cell phones going off in class, having private conversations while class is in session, leaving your seat without permission in the middle of lecture, discussion, or other class activities, etc.)-100 points for cheating or plagiarizing, + failure for the assignment (notice that this means that if you cheat, you will most certainly fail the course. I reserve the right to refer a student to the Prefect of Discipline as well.If a student has accumulated more than -100 points, he/she will earn 0 points for this portion of the grade and the remaining points will be deducted from his/her overall grade. I expect active rather than passive learning. All students must be prepared for class. All students in this course must be prepared to ask and answer questions and participate in class discussion.

Reading Assignment as Homework

Essentially, the homework of students in this course is to read assigned texts. In between each class period, students are expected to review their lecture notes and the material covered in the previous class period, in addition to completing all assignments for the next class period.

Writing Assignment

Students enrolled in this course will write one paper during the term. I will provide separate assignment sheet for the writing assignment. The paper is due at the beginning of the class period on the date listed on the syllabus. Late paper will not be accepted. Writing assignments will be worth 50 points.


All exams may consist of identification, true-false, and short answer and essay sections. Exams may consist of open and closed book portions. My students will need an envelope to compile all quizzes and exams.

Academic Dishonesty

Student Responsibility: Students are expected to be above reproach in all scholastic activities. Students who engage in scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and dismissal from the university. Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts. Since scholastic dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the university, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. (Refer to the Student Handbook for more information.)

Emergency Academic Continuity Program

Academic courses, partially, will hopefully be made available on the ELEAP Blackboard Academic Suite management system before PRELIMS (meanwhile, please refer to the subject’s official website at

This will allow me and my students to continue my teaching and learning via UST E-Learning Access Program (E-LeAP), UST BLACKBOARD Academic Suite management system, in case the university shuts down as a result of a typhoon or any other natural disaster. If the university is forced to shut down, I will notify my students using Blackboard (and/or via the official website) on how to proceed with the course. To receive credit for a course, it is the student's responsibility to complete all the requirements for that course. Failure to access course materials once reasonably possible can result in a reduction of the student’s overall grade in the class. To facilitate the completion of classes, most or all of the communication between students and the institution, the instructor, and fellow classmates will take place using the features in the E-LeAP Blackboard and/or though the course’s website.

In the event of a disaster or other disruptions of normal operations that would result to the suspension of classes, all students must make every effort to access an internet-enabled computer as often as possible to continue the learning process.

Contingency: Extra Credit

To make up for absences, failing quizzes and examinations, or poor grades in the writing activities, students may earn extra credit by participating in any Philippine-related cultural and literary activities at UST and the community; or by submitting additional written work (movie reviews; book reviews, etc.) about Philippine-related topics. This may ONLY be resorted to after consultation with the instructor.

From time to time, I shall announce to the class some Philippine-related cultural and literary events which students may participate in and subsequently earn extra credit from.