1. Compare and contrast the female characters in “Tanabata’s Wife,” “The Virgin,” and “Sounds of Sunday,” according to their motivations, their personalities, and the manners in which they confronted and resolved their “predicaments.” What do you think were the intentions of the writers in portraying the feminine persona in each of their stories this way?
A very striking similarity relevant to all three stories is that they can be categorized according to their theme: love. The three love stories portray women in their very own circumstances. All of which were showed perspectives that emphasized the realistic situations in real life.
However, each of the stories also presents differing situations of women. In Sinia Hamada’s story, the development of the character of Tanabata is made possible by Fas-ang’s character. Because of the forgiving and loving portrayal of the husband, one is left to judge Fas-ang’s actions. Told in the 3rd person point-of-view, there is no accusation of who did wrong. On the other hand, the other two stories both written by Kerima Polotan, suggest two very different characters. In “The Virgin,” Miss Mijares’s hopelessness for love has waned through time yet was rebirth when an unnamed man came into her life. “Sounds of Sunday” is a very sad story about a marriage that had gone bad because of the arguments regarding different stands ob certain issues that which differentiates Emma and Doming in their decisions. Compared to the first story, I think that the latter two explore more of the emotive aspects of the female characters (This could be because the writer was a woman herself).
2. Cite two stories discussed in class which focus on the setting. Discuss the significance and the impact of the setting in building up the theme and the conflict in each story.
Two stories which were developed through setting are/were Resil Mojares’s “Ark” and Jose Dalisay’s “Heartland.” The first story is situated in a boarding house, divided by apartments, wherein the residents experience a looming grief inside their rooms. In that story, the persona is greatly affected by the atmosphere of their dwelling. Only one person gave a hint of hope asking for refurnishing the boarding house but it later, that person died in his sleep. The allusion to the bible’s “Ark of Noah” wherein the people who live there caged in a place where they are left to last experiencing the sullen ambiance enveloping them. Even the first line already suggested gloom. The existentialist theme of this story also suggests death as a form of escape.
In “Heartland” Jose Dalisay presented a story in the timeline of war and introduced the character of a doctor, whose chamber pot symbolically connects to the civilized and sane world before the war. It was heart wrenching story told in a tone of despair and desperation for the fear of what the future will bring. The story portrays the desynthesized characters during war time and the forces which dehumanize them. The story gives due significance to what makes us humans feel- it’s because of our hearts.
3. List down some comic incidents in “Of Cocks and Hens,” and in “The Courtship of Uncle Sator.” Why would you consider them as comic? What are the elements/ principles to be considered in writing a humor story? Do you think that these two stories are able to meet these principles? How? Why?
The story “Of Cocks and Hens” was categorized under the comic tone because it is said to have explored the tradition of non-contradiction in the events such as the peculiarity of the chicken in the story. Both characters argued over the real gender of the chicken whether it was really a chicken or a hen. Everything about the chicken caused confusion between the brothers.
These are some instances that made the second story comic: the descriptions of Uncle Sator’s physical attributes, the reason why he remarried was because he had problems on how to feed his brood, he thought that food was their main problem and even the jokes about the wife choices of Uncle Sator was comic. Another was when he was thought by Tendeng’s child as a capre and the sarcastic tone of Tendeng towards Sator during his first proposal. I think the most humorous part was when he wore a wig so as to make Tendeng’s child like him and make the end assume a magical event.
I consider both stories as comic because they were told I a light tone and the subject matter was portrayed not as serious as melodramatic stories. The characters themselves even through the dialogues render the stories comical.
4. Discuss the impact of using a child-narrator in the stories “The Chieftest Mourner,” “Clay,” and “The Homing Mandarin.” (5 pts)
I think the theme of these three stories also coincides with the initiation of the main characters into reality which makes a great impact in their lives that leaves them never to be the same again. The first story by Aida Rivera Ford treated a very grave issue through the eyes of a child. It was through the observations of the child-narrator that one can deduce the meanings of the events in the stories.
“Clay” is a story of an experience of a child in having a foreigner as his friend. The story made use of symbolisms that were very significant in implying how the child has changed when he learned of the true nature of his friend. The last story presented the life of a Chinese-Filipino child with his family. A significant figure was the boy’s father. Jaime An Lim’s story reveals the evident distant relationship of the characters. I think the father in the story also suggests “China” for the boy, because that was the place where half of his being should’ve belonged.
The advantage of these stories lies in its speakers. The developments of the events are told in the psychological pace of a child’s mind. Through this, the possibility of barring the truth with biases is prevented by writing them in the perspectives of children. Then comes a deeper understanding of what the child had witnessed and felt.
*this is fromour Philippine Literature exam. It was passed online. Questions courtesy of our dear professor Ma’am Gen.