Understanding Ourselves Through Philippine Literature
Understanding Ourselves Through Philippine Literature
Every work of literature is somehow a reflection of the world around. I say reflection because in every work, one can find topics about life and all its problems.
Whether the literary piece is in the form of poetry or narrative, the work will always bear themes that are realistic and based on experience. These themes vary. Themes on love, death, and others are often seen in many literary works. These are life’s realities, and when used in the literary piece, become effective because readers are able to relate to them.
But there is a challenge. The challenge for the writer of the literary piece is to be able to creatively incorporate the realities of society into the written work. To be able to let the realities speak and influence and challenge the mind of the reader.
In the literary pieces studied, there is always an element of being Filipino present. The writers were able to write about Filipino experiences, and reflect what being Filipino is about because they are Filipino writers. They write based on experience and observations. Although some pieces may not directly point to being Filipino, but they contain elements and themes that are realities found in the Philippine society.
Reading materials written by Filipino writers is helpful in building a sense of being Filipino. Besides, it’s easier to understand because one can easily relate to the realities mentioned in the materials. Also, reading literary pieces by Filipino writers makes us aware of who we are as individuals.
In the piece, My Own Theory of Devolution, Jessica Zafra talked about being drunk. In the Philippine context, drinking has been a way of life. Filipinos are engaged to drinking alcohol especially on special occasions. Filipinos love to drink hard and they enjoy drinking because it is a social event for them.
Nowadays, Filipinos are adopting the western culture especially in drinking beers in the Philippines. There is a special occasion were Filipinos who love to drink beer gather all together to celebrate October fest which they celebrate every November
Sadly, alcohol is abusive because it has side effects. When you drink too much you become obnoxious, and that is what Jessica Zafra tries to explain in her piece. How being a sane human, one goes through devolution and transforms into a lowly being.
In the piece, My Father Goes To Court, many realities about the Philippine society are presented. One reality is how we Filipinos are able to survive disasters. Filipinos are experts in surviving. When disaster strikes, we Filipinos never give up to stand up and fight. For us flooding is just a simple phenomenon, an overflowing water or drainage in canals or in dams.
In the Philippines flood is everywhere whenever it rains. Whether you are in pleasant areas or remote areas in the country, you will definitely experience flooding. The rich or the poor have encountered this kind of disaster. Here in Manila, when heavy rains come, there is heavy flooding.
Filipinos are strong in facing all of these because we believe God will never leave us nor forsake us. When disaster comes, we are trained to fight. Sometimes, when flood strikes, other Filipinos are happy because they can see big pools were they could swim as much as they can. Sometimes Filipinos also earn some money by giving or serving boats for those who need to ride. When I was young, I’ve tried swimming in the flood even though it’s all brown. I enjoy because I have a huge pool.
In the story, there is also a mention on the difference between the rich and poor in the Philippines. The rich ones live in big houses with cool gadgets. They also live with servants who could finish all their daily chores. Meanwhile, the poor ones live in small houses made of old trees with tires or big rocks on their roof. They have big difference, really. The rich ones look fabulous and presentable and the poor ones look simple.
Discrimination of the rich and poor is also present in our country. Let me give an example from the city where I grew up. Bacolod always has an area for rich and the poor. We have restaurants and malls for different classes. We have Mc Donald’s and Jollibee for the rich as well as for the poor. We have cake shops or coffee shops for the rich and poor, we have schools for rich and poor. In Manila, there are places like Rockwell, Greenbelt, Alabang Town Center for the rich. What happened with the story is the same with what is happening around. Some Filipinos are always showy with their valuables or gadgets to the poor so they can be envied by them.
Filipino spirit is waterproof. I’ve read it from a banner. And it is true in the story. It is true how poor people are able to endure hardships despite difficulties. Even if Filipinos are encountering poverty and tragedy, we make sure to stand up as soon as possible we never give up.
Filipinos are always positive in life. Even if tragedy comes, we still make fun of it by taking funny pictures. Filipinos are kind and helpful also in times of difficulties. We always help each other because we are Filipinos. We always fight for everything. We make sure our families are in the right position.
Another Filipino trait present is respecting our elders, as evidenced in the line “carried more weight if it is said by a man with gray hair.” This is about consulting adults in decision-making. This is one way of tradition of the Filipinos, also as we use polite words to respect them like po or opo especially when they ask questions. We respect them because we love them. Even strangers who are old we respect them too like in public areas in jeeps or in trains as we offer them seats. We also help them cross the street.
We Filipinos are different from other races. We have distinct beliefs and traditions as reflected in our literary pieces.
Being a Filipino is a gift from God. We should be thankful and regard it as a blessing.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 October 2016
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