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The story of “Scent of Apples by Bienvenido Santos is told in a first person point of view in a persona of a Filipino immigrant way back in the war period in America. This is a written account of an unforgettable experience of the author with another Filipino immigrant named Celestino Fabia.
The structuralism’s approach/theory was used to analyze this literary text as well as for in depth understanding.
The author presented the literary text in a detailed and in a chronological manner with the use of overflowing adjectives and vivid descriptions.
The first and second paragraph introduced the setting and the governing mood of the entire story. The perfect play of words and adjectives was the weapon of the author to give a concrete picture of the setting and to let the reader feel the real emotions existing in every scenes and conversations/dialogues. “When I arrived in Kalamazoo, it was October and the war was still on.
Gold and silver stars hung on pennants above silent windows of white and bricked-red cottages. In a backyard, an old man burned leaves and twigs while a grey-haired woman sat on a porch, her red hands quiet on her lap. Watching the smoke rising above the elms, both of them thinking of the same thought perhaps about a tall, grinning boy with blue eyes and flying hair, who went out to war, where could he be now this month when leaves were turning into gold and the fragrance of gathered apples was in the wind.
“It was a cold night when I left my room at the hotel for a usual speaking engagement. I walked but a little way. A heavy wind coming up from Lake Michigan was icy on the face. It felt like winter straying early in the northern woodlands. Under the lampposts, the leaves shone like bronze. And they rolled on the pavement like the ghost feet of a thousand autumns long dead, long before the boys left for faraway lands without apple trees, the singing and the gold.”
The style of the author in presenting/narrating the story through an introduction then, inserting conversation/dialogues was quite appealing. It does not make the story so monotonous, thus it became more flavorful in spite the sadness and gloominess of the mood of the story.
“It was the same night I met Celestino Fabia, “just a Filipino farmer” as he called himself, who had a farm about thirty miles east of Kalamazoo.”
“You came all that way on a night like this just to hear me talk?” I asked.
“I’ve seen no Filipino for so many years now,” he answered quickly. “ So when I saw your name in the papers where it says you come from the Islands and that you’re going to talk, I come right away. Earlier that night I had addressed a college crowd, mostly women. It appeared that they wanted me to talk about my country……………..”
The highlight of the story started when Celestino Fabia reminisces the past when he was still in his own country. The descriptions were so vivid, that the readers would feel the same emotion Celestino was feeling during that situation. “But sometimes, you know, I miss that house: the roosting chicken and low-topped walls. I miss my brothers and sisters. Mother sitting in her chair, looking like a pale ghost in a corner of the room…….”
Celestino Fabia, as one of the main characters was not exactly describe by the author, except mentioning him as “just a Filipino farmer”. His style of giving the description was through his narration during their conversation and dialogues. It is a good way of spicing up a literary text. Ruth’s role in the story affirmed the sadness and seclusion of Celestino. The failure of providing his family a more comfortable life made him lonelier and regretful.
It was stated in this paragraph: “ Finally we rounded a deep curve and suddenly came upon a shanty, all but ready to crumble in a heap on the ground, its plastered walls were rolling away, the floor was hardly a foot from the ground. I thought of the cottages of the poor colored folk in the south, the hovels of the poor everywhere in the land. This one stood all by itself as though by common consent all the folk that used to live here had decided to stay away, despising it, ashamed of it. Even the lovely season could not color it beauty.”
As a whole, the very weapon of this literary text is its own language. The author successfully played with the language. He used a lot of metaphors as well as colorful analogies. It made the text so interesting. Each descriptions of the place, of the situation and of the characters appeals to one or more of the reader’s senses. Indeed, the author successfully conveyed his message through his effective command of the language.
The Marxist literary theory was used to analyze this literary text as well as for in depth understanding
Social struggle has been a long time issue since the start of civilization. Financial and social status, political standpoint and stability, and religious beliefs are among the main reasons and basis why this struggle exists in a certain society. In the Philippines, the Spanish regime brought forth the prominence of this struggle among our ancestors. Many Filipinos experienced many injustices and malpractices during that time that led the rise of Philippine Revolution. Thus, the play/drama “Walang Sugat” was staged to depict the lives of many Filipinos and the abusive governance of the Spaniards.
“Walang Sugat”, a drama originally written by Severino Reyes is in three acts first released in 1902 and was set during the Philippine revolution. It is about the romantic relationship of Tenyong and Julia and their social and political struggles. Tenyong, as the main protagonist suffered from the many injustices of the Spaniards. His father was killed without any valid reason. The parents of his beloved Julia were against in their relationship because his social status. These reasons caused him to join the revolution and leave Julia behind.
Political and financial power forced Julia to marry a wealthy man. The society where they lived dictates they way they will run their lives, thus she was obliged to agree to whatever it will bring. For a person to reach a higher social and political status, he/she must gain money. Julia was the way of their parents to reach that certain status in the society.
Social struggle changed the lives of Tenyong and Julia. They were forced to do things they don’t want to do. Their story is just one representation of how society affects human lives. Social struggle will never stop as long as greed and personal agendas reigns in every human.
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