May Day Eve By Nick Joaquin

Categories: LonelinessMay Day

The major characters in May Day Eve are Badoy, Agueda, Anastasia,Agueda's daughter, and Voltaire (Badoy's grandson).[5] Agueda and Badoy have different personalities. Agueda was described to be a bold, liberated, and a non-conformist young woman who was “ahead of her time”. While Badoy was characterized in the beginning as a promiscuous young man who wanted to prove his machismo, he realized that he was “deliriously in love” with Agueda.

As Don Badoy Montoya visited his old home at Intramuros, Manila, memories of his youth came back.

He recalled how he fell in love with Agueda, a young woman who resisted his advances. Agueda learned that she would be able to know her future husband by reciting an incantation in front of a mirror. As she recited the words: “Mirror, mirror, show to me him whose woman I will be,” Agueda saw Badoy. Badoy and Agueda got married. However, Don Badoy learned from his grandson that he was described by Doña Agueda (through their daughter) as a "devil".

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In return, Don Badoy told his grandson that every time he looks at the mirror, he only sees a "witch" (Agueda). Don Badoy ponders on love that had dissipated.[5] The truth was revealed, Badoy and Agueda had a “bitter marriage”, which began in the past, during one evening in the month of May in 1847. The tragedy of the story is Badoy’s heart forgot how he loved Agueda in the past. They were not able to mend their broken marriage because their love was a “raging passion and nothing more”.

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May Day Eve, by Nick Joaquin i a short story that told how life was for Filipino women.

Even in today's society there are some that argue that women are inferior to men in many aspects. Many years ago this thought process was the norm for many people and no body at that time questioned this. Women once were refused to be considered equal and thus did not receive treatment as if they were a valued member of their society, they were to be seen and not heard. In this story they spoke of how women were forced to marry an man that they did not know nor love, but were expected to obey without question.

Realism in Scent of Apples serves as the tool of the author to depict the lives of Filipinos in abroad. In this short story there are series of themes that are presented either in an implicit or explicit way that brings the reader to read on. In one of the character who captured my undivided attention is in the sense that the character put a trademark in himself “just a Filipino farmer” which is a common trait of a Filipino who sees himself as a Filipino “only”.

This is an often response of Filipino wherever and whenever is asking him/her about such. . We tend to be ashamed and make it inferior, racial discrimination per se; however there is also a lot of prejudice that has absolutely no ties with race that the character in the story portrays. This is what the author implies in his first part of the story. The story focuses on the real score of Filipinos who cannot come back to the Philippines due to poverty. It mirrors the immigrant-character longing to come back to his own land. And when he sees a fellow Filipino he was very delighted to introduce him to his family living in a small house having an apple orchard.

It is meant to show that not all Filipinos are lucky to go abroad and it is indeed possible the lives of Filipinos to be miserable and suffer from poverty even in abroad. Santos shows that even we are in a foreign land we still carry the manners that we Filipinos have, his character shows how hospitable Filipinos are. If were going to take a look at the settings of the story particularly the scenario of the narrator were he is with his fellow Filipino going to his family’s place, the author described the place as “the beauty of the afternoon seemed in the distance, on the hills, in a dull soft sky”.

When they got into the house of Fabia, his description of the house was repulsive so as his impression for his wife, mean words per se. But when twilight came and Fabia took him outside he was amused of the view. Question: What is the symbolic meaning of the “Scent of apples” in the story? Answer:

There are three identified symbolic meaning of the title “scent of apples”. These symbolic meanings are "exile, loneliness, and isolation". A line in the story illustrates that the scent of apples which Fabio always smell gives him the feeling of exile, loneliness, and isolation. "Those trees are beautiful on the hills," I said.

"Autumn's a lovely season. The trees are getting ready to die, and they show their colors, proud-like." "No such thing in our own country," I said. That remark seemed unkind, I realized later. It touched him off on a long deserted tangent, but ever there perhaps.

How many times did lonely mind take unpleasant detours away from the familiar winding lanes towards home for fear of this, the remembered hurt, the long lost youth, the grim shadows of the years; how many times indeed, only the exile knows. The excerpt above represents that Fabio feels that he is living in exile, even though he may have lived in America for many years.

He had to create an identity for himself that could bridge the gap between his cultural and racial heritage as Filipino and his new status as Filipino American, living in a culture very different from his own. Each time Fabio smell the scent of the apples, he always remember our country, our country that has no apples.

He has the feeling of loneliness everyday because he smells the scent of the apple every time. Looking at the bright side, Fabio has a good wife which is worthy of her namesake, the biblical Ruth. He has a good-looking son and an apple orchard which gives him more apples than he can sell. His wife, his son, and the apple orchard are abundance enough, but his excessive nostalgia for home, where nobody remembers him, makes him blind to all these blessings. He wastes his abundance, like the apples he gives to the pigs. Fabio should rethink the idea of home as not a place where he were born and grew up, but where he is at present, where his new family is.

Thus, the feeling of loneliness, exile and isolation are the common feelings of immigrant Filipinos, it comes with the fear of no longer belonging to a culture which itself seems at times to be wasting away, and finds expression in the rhythm of arrangement provided by the selections in Scent of Apples. "The Scent of Apples" tells of the trials and struggles of the Filipino Americans and the rough times they faced when trying to make a living in America.

The jobs they had to take were low paying jobs that were often times demeaning and dirty. One of the jobs was working in an orchard picking apples. That's where the title came from. The first group of immigrants brought to the United States was from the early 1900's up until about the mid 1930's. They were brought her to work agriculturally. As a reaction, this seems a lot like slavery. However, they were paid and not "owned." But to work for lower pay and to do such hard labor is dehumanizing. These stories are frustrating to read and can be heartbreaking.

That era led up to the long period of discrimination that was to follow for many years. While the author did not directly speak it, the words with which he wrote this sad story tells us how much he missed his country, the land that he had to leave. It also showed us his great understanding for a friend who he had realized, or maybe even wished, feels the same way he does.

The scent of apples, which we do not find here in the Philippines, for him symbolizes the miles that stretch between him and his country. This scent, which was very common in the place where he was then, constantly brings heartbreak. It was a wave of tears that sweeps over him as he smells it, and his heart wants to shout, ‘this land is not mine. I do not belong here.’ He had known how much the Americans, who had set out for war, missed this scent. Looking around what used to be a dream to him, as we would have were we given the chance, he realizes instantly that this place, after all, does not belong to him. I have realized how painful it is to part with your country.

The land of your birth. I have realized that a thing so simple, such as a platter of apples, or a photograph of a person only Heaven knows whose, can bring us back to where we really are. There is only one home where in our heart dwells, there is only one place where we long to stay most, there is only one land where you can look around and smile a real smile and say what your heart would have you say.

That is home. How lonely could he have been, the writer of this sad story? How often had he woken up to smell the scent of apples and break drown to tears of longing to smell the scent of his country instead? “…How often does the lonely mind take such unpleasant detours, away from the familiar winding lanes toward home for fear of this, the long lost youth, the remembered hurt?” The author said, only the exile knows. The exile…deprived to seek the recess of his heart and soul, deprived of the comfort the loving arms of the land of his people.

The exile…whose every single breath forces him to smell the scent of apples, whose every single step in a familiar yet foreign land forces him to feel pain. The exile…the exile who had known better days, who had gripped his heart so many times to make himself accept the fact that he is destined to smell that scent forever. Yes, truly, only the exile knows.

Updated: Jul 06, 2022
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May Day Eve By Nick Joaquin. (2016, May 15). Retrieved from

May Day Eve By Nick Joaquin essay
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