Essay, Pages 12 (2914 words)
Nowadays, literature is oftentimes neglected and that members of the society find literature insignificant and underestimate the abilities that it offers to stand the test of time and give us great knowledge. Literature, is essential, especially in the academia, because “when we study literature. our horizons are broadened and come to understand people who are different from one another.” Literature is a way for people to connect through their own expression of thoughts and ideas. It is a profound way to enlighten people and is also a creative way to escape the mediocrity of life.
Moreover, Philippine Literature is significant as it provides reminiscence of history, and educates Filipinos about their cultural legacies and bequests.
Jose Garcia Villa is considered as one of the most admirable contemporary poets regardless of race or language. Villa was a Filipino poet, literary critic, short story writer, and painter. He introduced the reverse consonance rhyme scheme; this includes comma poems in which made full use of the punctuation mark innovatively and poetically.
Villa is one of the most renowned authors during the American colonization of the Philippines and was sooner granted with the National Artist Award in the year 1973, featuring his exceptional aforesaid inventive works that continued to flourish the Philippine literature; most specifically, short stories and poems.
The Footnote to Youth was the ideal composition to be studied and analyzed among all the canonical short stories of Filipino authors because it is the first short study to be published in the English language in the United States by a Filipino author.
Thus. can be considered as a pioneer for the thriving Philippine literature during the past. The researcher could associate the story in this modern era, because of the ages of the characters are ranging from 17 years to 18 years old. Significantly, it addresses a timely matter with regards to the youth today and the consequences of their negligent actions and impulsive decisions. It reflects how a man’s life underwent stages that depended on the decisions he had made. These stages were all his doing, and the effects are the consequences of his actions.
Footnote to Youth, the composition of the great Jose Garcia Villa emphasizes the consequences and effects of marrying at a young age as well as experiencing adolescent parenthood. Its main focus is to unravel what would happen after impulsively deciding to choose love over the growth and development of the mind in adolescent stage of life. The story is clearly depicted by the life of a family filled with trials and desolation that lead to marrying at a young age. This serves as a timely advice for today’s youth since the number of teenage pregnancies are increasing at a shocking rate. Thus, the title of the composition, “Footnote to Youth” suggests a brief reminder to the Filipino youth what world we are living in today. The youth today mostly relies on their spontaneity as well as their uncontrollable emotions in decision-making, while not considering such repercussions and how it will extremely affect their lives. The title suits the plot because it gives a potential alarm for those youth that once committed a mistake because of their stubbornness and ignorance, and that the value of love does not assure anything at all, not a happy marriage nor success in life.
“The sun was salmon and hazy in the west,” from the initial line of the story it can already be inferred and compared to that of the love life of the protagonist, Dodong. The color of the salmon varies from shades of pink and orange to light pink. This can be associated on how Dodong views the world and his life in pink, wherein the idea is that everything appears rosy and cheerful. It is about the state of bliss when everything around is a source of joy. Now, this can be also associated to what Dodong is feeling, the feeling of being in love. Being in love suggests that the heart is in a different state, that its all about pure joy, happiness and constant bliss that will make someone feel like they are in cloud nine. In young teenage love, everything seems so perfect, and that the only thing left to do is to be together and truly show the admiration for each other. Dodong greatly manifested his love for Teang, he was trapped in the specter that love makes everything okay, that love is all you need to attain a successful life. On the other hand, the word “hazy” implies Dodong’s distress when it comes to seeking his father’s approval in marrying the love of his life, Teang. Their destiny is yet to unfold, due to the fact that Dodong still needs his Father’s consent to marry Teang.
“Many slender soft worms emerged from the further rows and then burrowed again deeper into the soil. A short colorless worm marched blindly to Dodong’s foot and crawled clammily over it. Dodong got tickled and jerked his foot, flinging the worm into the air. Dodong did not bother to look where into the air, but thought of his age, seventeen, and he said to himself he was not young anymore,” these are several sentences that prognosticated what awaits Dodong’s life in the near future. At the early age of 17, he thought that he was already old enough to handle adulthood, as well as live a married life and start his own family. Frequently, those youth that already reached the stage of adolescence, consider themselves capable of such adulthood, and what comes to their minds most of the time is that, they think that they already know everything, that they know what to do in certain situations with not counting such consequences. In Dodong’s own reckoning, he had already identified himself as “not young anymore”, hence that he continues to reason out that he had already matured physical features present, considering the muscles in his arms as well as the presence of a manly moustache beneath his nose. However, his portrayal may be frivolous and ambiguous, this convinced himself that those physical qualities are adequate for an adolescent man to begin a new chapter of his life that he may sooner regret.
Nevertheless, he continues to uphold his stand by how he professes his love for Teang, the love of his life. “In the cool sundown, he thought wild young dreams of himself and Teang, his girl. She had a small brown face and small black eyes and straight glossy hair. How desirable she was to him. She made him want to touch her, to hold her. She made him dream even during the day.” These lines manifest that Dodong is truly trapped in his juvenile appreciation for Teang. He invested too much time in building a romantic relationship instead developing himself holistically as well as concentrating more in his family. For Dodong, he believed that love conquers all, even if it will greatly affect his future.
Then, at a time came, Dodong was about to ask for his father’s consent to get married. “Dodong said while his mother was out that he was going to marry Teang,” in this statement, it only implies that Dodong believes in the concept of patriarchy because he considers his father as superior as well as paying more significance to what his father is bound to say, indicating that his father’s discernment is more reliable than of his mother. Moreover, the line “He pitied her, doing all the housework alone,” reveals that during that period, mothers are only considered as nurturers, and caregivers that were only allowed to work inside their homes. Also, the line “His mother had told him not to leave the house, but he had left,” supports how Dodong disregards his mother’s order, as aforementioned. Contrarily, Dodong had already decided for himself, and was just solely waiting for his father’s confirmative answer. Despite the fact that, his father was a little unwilling, he still granted his son’s wish. Dodong was determined yet desperate after all. He did not listen to any of his father’s discourse, that implies that his knowledge in marriage and adulthood is too insufficient for him to handle. The youth’s impulsiveness and contempt cause the negligence of wisdom from the advices of elders. They think that they are capable of everything that adults do, they think that they have enough knowledge to prove themselves.
“A short colorless worm marched blindly to Dodong’s foot and crawled clammily over it. Dodong got tickled and jerked his foot, flinging the worm into the air”. “In a few moments he would be a father. “Father, father,” he whispered the word with awe, with strangeness. He was young, he realized now contradicting himself of nine months ago. He was very young· He felt queer, troubled, uncomfortable.” These two separate sets of lines give the idea of how Dodong marched blindly into the married life and early family life, expecting that life will be better, if he had undergone marriage. Still, the inevitability of having a family had happened and now, he has a huge responsibility that awaits him. “He wanted somebody to punish him,” now, this line portrayed how he was ashamed of his young parenthood and poor and impulsive decision-making. Though parenthood is permanent, and though Dodong and Teang had sweet beginnings, and juvenile goals, life treated them far off how they wanted it to be. They rushed into marriage while being impassive about of the tyrannical truth of reality. Thereafter, they began to face and pay their consequences.
As of 19th of July 2019, according to the Commission on Population (POPCOM), About 500 teenage girls give birth in the Philippines every day as more adolescents engage in premarital sex. Moreover, teenage pregnancy rate in the country declined to 8.7 percent in 2017 from 10.2 percent in 2016, but the number still remains high. Also, some 196,00 Filipinos between the ages of 15 and 19 years old get pregnant each year. Teenage pregnancy is one of the most talked about matters in the Philippines, as the rate of this event continues to rise, several members of the youth do not seem to learn from their ancestors’ mistakes. In spite of the fact that, they had viewed teenage pregnancy as one drastic change to a young teenage girl’s life, they still pursued premarital sex, along with the negligence of birth control. Therefore, this can be associated on how Teang was put in to a position where she is not only responsible for herself, but also for the being that is yet to come.
“Many more children came. For six successive years, a new child came along. Dodong did not want any more children. But they came. It seemed that the coming of children could not helped.” These lines can now be associated to how Dodong and Teang are not capable of educating themselves. Both of their families belong to the lower class in line with poverty in which it is depicted by the lifestyle that they have such as their way of sustaining their lives is farming, and that the couple did not attend school or stopped studying, that is why Dodong resorted to assisting his father in farming. They were not given the opportunity to be educated about family planning, premarital sex, overpopulation, birth control and the like. Therefore, their family continues to grow despite being poverty-stricken. This made Dodong’s life and responsibility as a father more complex to deal with, as he began to slowly realize what has come to his life. He was nothing but stuck to a situation that he put himself into as he cannot do anything to escape his own entrapment.
“Teang did not complain, but the bearing of children tolled on her. She was shapeless and thin even if she was young,” from this line, it depicts how she was malnourished and disappointed about how her life turned out. She was not able to enjoy her youth and liberty so much as she was already handed the responsibility of not only motherhood but as well as being the wife of Dodong when she married him and gave birth to their children. Teang has a huge family to nourish and attend to, as aforementioned, mothers were nurturers, that is why Teang, left at home, was having a hard time because of the number of their children. “She cried sometimes, wishing she had no married. She did not tell Dodong this, not wishing him to dislike her. Yet, she wished she had not married. Not even Dodong whom she loved,” these lines manifest how Teang regrets her decision in marrying Dodong, but it is too late for her to make such a move, as she is trapped in her own impulsiveness and poor decision-making. Although, love, despite causing damage in their unbearable lives, has still space for its own little delight. Even when the time came that Teang was remorseful of their early marriage, she is still constantly reminded of her love for Dodong. On the brighter side, they do not need to fight the battle of parenthood and marriage alone. Their lives are far from the ideal, but with their strong bond, they must say that love conquers all, despite of the challenges that may come their way, despite having seven mouths to feed. because one loves despite.
“He wanted to ask questions and somebody to answer him. He wanted to be wise about many things. One of them was why life did not fulfill all of Youth’s dreams. Why it must be so. Why one was forsaken… after Love· Dodong returned to the house humiliated by himself. He had wanted to know a little wisdom but was denied it.”, these lines emphasize Dodong’s repentance of what had he done to his life, and Teang. Thereafter, Dodong has now understood that life is not just about pleasures and satisfaction. It is significantly about accepting the harsh truth of reality, that the permanence of the responsibility of parenthood cannot be escaped. When Dodong and Teang had become parents of their children, it is their duty and responsibility to be able to suffice all the necessities of their children until they reach the legal age or the peak of their education. Moreover, Dodong realized that love, is only a part of a successful and healthy marriage and family, that it would only work if the other supporting parts also work. In order to attain the ideal, it will also take maturity, responsibility, commitment and a secured livelihood to be able to sustain their family. Sadly. they had to face the immediate changeover from being an adolescent to an instant parent of children, that is why it is ideal for individuals to achieve maturity by time and experience, so that the complexity of some situations is handled accordingly.
After some time, Dodong’s eldest child turned eighteen. Thereafter, history seemed to repeat itself when his eldest, Blas also approached him, seeking for his approval to marry Tona, the love of his life. Dodong saw his youthful self on his son, Blas, who who had been waylaid by love. “But he was helpless. He could not do anything. Youth must triumph… now. Love must triumph… now. Afterwards… it will be life. As long ago, Youth and Love did triumph for Dodong… and then Life. Dodong looked wistfully at his young son in the moonlight. He felt extremely sad and sorry for him.”. Humans tend to digest wisdom and valuable morals the harder way. If they had been open-minded and wise about their decisions and its consequences, they would not have suffered. It takes a wise man with his strong-willed beliefs and principles to be able to write history. Although, in this particular instance, Blas was also carried away by impulsivity. Hence, failing to realize the extreme consequences as he repeats his father’s mistake. He also viewed the world as the ‘sun colored in salmon’, like his father, and also thought that marriage will lead him to a blissful life in pink. But in reality, life in some time may be good to us. Life does not always give what humans want, and so, these humans have to deal with it.
In conclusion, Footnote to youth addresses the risk of early parenthood due to the fact that alarming rate of teenage pregnancies and marriages in the country are evident. It is a serious hazard that young marriage merely without love, eventually does not assure a successful future. This serves as a reminder for the youth to improve themselves more and focus on nurturing their own families before committing to start their own. Moreover, they must be responsible enough with their actions and its consequences so that in most cases, they may not get in trouble. They must take education as a vital part of their lives, in honing and shaping their present and future instead of having early commitments with no assurance. They must be able to bear in mind, that all individuals undergo the stage of adulthood, they must live their life to the fullest before taking responsibilities. Lastly, the story highlights how the title is associated with the plot. Humans tend to be like the soft worms burrowed from the ground. They tend to slither blindly; thus, they slither to their fate. The youth today, are like of the burrowed worms, they tend to slither in to their fate blindly, sooner or later remorseful of what position in life they are in.