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Aileen Grace Delima

PI 100

1. Make an assessment of the characters in those chapters in terms of

a. their vision for social change

When Basilio was young, he was deprived of many rights by the Spanish friars. He
has experienced tragic experiences when his brother died and his mother turned into a crazy
woman. But then he paid attention to the advice of Elias and went to Manila. At first, he was
criticized by his teachers and his classmates at school because he was solely a native. But he
was perseverant in his studies. In chapter 2, The Lower Deck, he has planned, together with
Isagani, to build an academy for teaching Spanish language to the natives just like them.
However later in the novel, he has joined Simoun in his plans to fight against the Spaniards.
He also took this chance to revenge for his loved one, Juliana. He was the one who helped
Simoun to plot the bomb in the wedding reception of his friend Isagani. But he was hesitant
of doing it and told her bestfriend about the danger that’s going to happen.
The life of Basilio had changed through time from being a poor child experiencing a
lot of torment and tragic events in his family; he has improved a little in terms of his way of
living, though he received financial support from Capitan Tiago. He studied hard and worked
hard of becoming a doctor. In their conversation with Simoun, he said these lines…
“In the great factory of society, there must be a division of labor. I have chosen my
line of work and devote myself to science.”
This idea of division of labor is relevant in an industrialized society, where factories
are prominent and the concept of division of labor is needed for faster and easier mass
production. But Simoun contradicted this point of view of Basilio. Being a whole rounded
person is better than a person that is so focused on one craft or field of discipline. Practically
his life is boring. After all, a man is a work in progress and continues to search for meanings.
He has also plans of founding a school for the indios. This represents his vision for
social change. According to Simoun, “their idea of teaching Spanish is a ridiculous
aspiration. They were going to add one more language in more than 40 already spoken
dialects, which would just make the understanding less and less.”
Simoun has a point, during that time, people should unite and the key to that is
language. They should be able to understand each other for them to go together for their
aspirations of reforms. But I guess that Basilio was overwhelmed with the learnings that he
had in the university that he wanted his fellowmen to also experience such as the Spanish
language, in which before he did not know how to speak of and even did not understand it.
That is, with education one can be able to change his way of living and be able to achieve his
goals in life. His plan of building a school is somehow not out of self-interests and selfishness
but somehow it shows concern to his fellowmen.

Isagani, a poet and bestfriend of Basilio, was assuring that the school that they were
planning to build up would be established. From permit, courtesy of Father Irene to the
raising of funds with the aid of faculty and students, he intended it well together with Basilio.
He also believed that the school would be of great benefit to indios like them. As he said,
“He finds obstacles to everything and noticed the disadvantages without seeing the
Later in the story, when he knew about the plan of bombing in the wedding reception
of Paulita, his ex-girlfriend, he immediately ran into the reception to prevent the explosion of
the lamp. This act of Isagani showed his love for Paulita. As luck would have it, the Spanish
officials and friars were also saved. He was torn between his love for Paulita and loyalty to
the plans of his best friend. As he said, “it is always wrong to take what belongs to
another…” Afterwards, he realized that what he has done was contrary to his belief that he
loved his nation more than Paulita. He said “If the robber had known what it was about and
had time to think, he never would have done it. I should not like to be in his place for
anything in the world.” He regretted his rash decision and action. If he had not intervened,
the explosion could have aid the achievement of his vision in the society.

Cabesang Tales fight for his rights. He wished for his ownership of the land he had
cultivated on his own that the friars wanted it to possess. He guarded his crops, unluckily
when he put away his guns and carried bolo; he was arrested by the Spaniards. The lines
lifted below shows how brave he was to fight for his land.
“…I am an educated man without resources. But I have worked those fields; my wife
and my daughter died helping me to clear them; and I will yield them to only someone who
can do more for them than I did. Let him water the land with his own blood and bury his wife
and daughter there”.
His brevity implies that if you want social change, you must fight for it. You must
stand, speak out and fight for your rights. Even though he paid the consequences of his
actions, he still continues to struggle for justice. His son, Tano, was captured by the bandits
his daughter, Juliana became a maid for debt inservitude, and his father, Tandang Selo, had a
medical condition of stroke and became mute. His father was accidentally killed by his son in
an encounter. After all this tragic events, Cabesang Tales turned into a mad man full with hate
and anger.
He has this inner strength “lakas ng loob” to face all his enemies. He has guts to
confront his problems and not to be subjugated by the Spaniards.

For Simoun, language is the people’s way of thinking. For him, they should develop
one’s native language and spread it, as it is the key to understanding and unity.
He disguised as a jeweller that incited greed, injustices and abuses within the
government ruled by the Spaniards. He was influential to them and was known as Brown
Cardinal or Black Imminence. Actually, he was Crisostomo Ibarra, who had returned for a
bitter sweet revenge. He wanted to destroy the vicious system that had killed his father and
his loved one even if it should mean the shed of blood and tears.
“I would not die without seeing it (referring to the colonizers) in my own eyes dashed
to pieces at the bottom of the abyss.”
He said that “endure; work is the will of God.” He sought after justice on his own
hands and unfortunately, he suffered and died without achieving his goals. In his time, one
who have suffered could not get the justice he wanted by going to judges because they feared
the high officials that they would loose their jobs if the fight against them. So what an
ordinary person could do is to do what he can afford to do. Just like Simoun, he had risked
his life for his plans of change in the government as well in their society.

b. their idea of the nation

Basilio, according to the point of view of Simoun is pro-Hispanism.

“Your pool of efforts thinking to unite your country with Spain with rosy garlands,
and in reality you forge your iron chains. When they ask for parity of lights, they were
asking for death, destruction of their national identity, disappearance of homeland and
ratification of tyranny. They would become a people of soul and a nation without
Basilio counteracted Simoun that “if the knowledge of Spanish may bring us closer to
the government, it can also unite all the islands. I am working as all are working to rise from
the ruins of the past a country whose citizens shall be united”.

Isagani has ‘regional pride’ as stated in the novel. When Simoun said that their town
was very poor and does not buy much jewellery, he answered “We do not buy jewellery
because we don’t need it”. He was aware that their nation is poor and need reforms. The
economic life also constitutes the concept of a nation. If he knew the idea behind the
explosion, he would have allowed it to happen for his aspirations of the nation.

For Simoun, Spanish will never be the national language because the people will
never speak of it. They cannot express their ideas and emotions, and they will neither write
nor understand it. Instead of freedom, they will be slaves. It would only kill personality and
subject their thoughts to other minds.
Line lifted in the novel showed his idea of the nation. (Chapter 7)
“Government fights to keep alive native language…while you struggle to get rid of
your national identity”. He has advised Basilio to “take the lead in forming their
individuality and trying to lay the foundation of a Filipino nation. Because there is no hope
from the government, they should hope in their selves and with their own efforts. If they
refuse to teach their language, the Filipinos must cultivate their own language and make it
more widely known, keep the native culture alive for our people. Instead of aspiring to be a
mere province, aspire to be a nation. One must develop an independent, not a colonial
mentality so that Spaniards will be treated as invader or foreigner.”
In addition, his idea of the nation is reflected in these lifted lines: “What is the death
of one man beside the death of a community? What are you doing for the country that made
you what you are, that gives you life and knowledge? To reach that state it will be necessary
to eliminate tyrants and slaves among the nations. One must learn to respect in others the
right of his own person. But this will be achieved through struggle, since the shed of blood
cannot be avoided. Patriotism is always a virtue in oppressed peoples because it will always
mean the love of justice, freedom and self-respect. With an avenge, it would prevent others
from suffering what you have suffered and save other sons from being murdered and other
mothers from being mad, he said this to Basilio.
“Long live your ideas of a happy life…Behold the model of a Filipino!”
Simoun’s idea of nation seems to be related with the use of language. Since language
is reflective with the lived ideology of the people. Sharing the same language is like sharing
common personality which defines the concept of nation. His vision for the native language
to be used and cultivated by the people who speak of it implies that his idea of a nation is that
people are united and understand each other for their aspirations in their society. He
envisioned patriotism and respect among people. He also believed that to achieve this
changes, arm struggle is needed.

2. Make an assessment of the relevance and limitations of the above mentioned

social change given the present realities.

Basilio and Isagani’s idea of social change which is by teaching a Spanish language
to natives implies that education is an important tool for social change. He showed that even
though he was poor, he became a student of medicine. He worked hard and studied well. In
Rizal’s time, it was miseducation. Today, the education that Filipinos are receiving is
colonial, commercialized and even repressive according to Renato Constantino. His
perseverance in his studies serves as a good example to the students of today. He had moved
on in his life and that’s a positive trait. This is relevant today, though many parents could not
afford to send their children to school. And also, today there is a problem of brain drain. After
school, those graduate students leave the country to go abroad and work, so the educated
individuals are not here in the country that should have serve that society and contribute to it
for the better. The division of labor still exit up to this day in the society and even a hierarchy
of it exist. With the division of labor it would be easier to finish a work. It is applied in a
capitalist society. When he has joined Simoun, it shows how an educated person joined a
radical movement that is somehow contrary to his perspectives. It is relevant to this day
where mostly students are joining the rallies but not like Basilio helping the smuggling of a
bomb. Before in Rizal’s time, students could not speak out their grievances unlike today, yet
they need to have a permit also to rally and come to brawls. As what Jose Rizal has said, the
Filipino youth is the hope of the nation.

Cabesang Tales who bravely deal with his problems and strongly speak out against
the government for the rights he believed in, represented the poor Filipinos of today who are
also fighting for their rights and privileges especially the farmers or tenant of small acre of
land owned by rich hacienderos.

Simoun believe that the shed of blood and tears is unavoidable in the change that he
was planning to achieve. This radical act of achieving an end is not highly relevant today.
Though there are arm struggle between NPAs and terrorists. People have the power today.
They protest against the government readily today unlike before that any unlawful activity is
prohibited. They were oppressed. Today people go to rally in the streets and speak out their
grievances to the government. They had the capacity to oust a corrupt leader of the
government from his position. With the aid of press and media, people today are also more
vocal and have the guts to say what they knew that can be used against the corrupt
government. Also with the aid of technology, messages today are sent to millions of people in
just a split of a minute through texting or e-mails which could help in calling people and unite
them to rally. All this activities help in achieving a social change in today’s setting. Though
the government are also prepared for any of these planned destabilizations, the military and
police are more often than not armed. The rallyists are moved away in the vicinity of the
palace in a harsh way that would end in a serious clash and struggle between the two
opposing sides. What Simoun has done in the end of the novel, the planning of explosion of a
lamp, is not relevant today. Though he was ideal in his concept of nation, he has not achieved
his goals. The idea of exploding a lamp is not a good plan for achieving their desired reforms
in the society. Today, ordinary people can go to police or the department of justice to air
complains and seek justice. But sometimes, justice is not well served here in the Philippines
since there are cases that an influential individual can pay for his crime or do under the table
job. In terms of his vision of cultivating the language and widespread use of it, it is relevant
in the sense that the Filipino language, which is the national language, is still facing issues
such as Filipino vs. English, bilingualism in education, and the use of Tagalog vs. other
dialects in literature. Whatever the language maybe, if you have the sense of language you
also have the sense of country, as Gemino Abad said.