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The Day the Dancers Came

by BIENVENIDO N. SANTOS

Background of the Author (Bienvenido N. Santos - Author Profile)


BIENVENIDO NUQUI SANTOS (March 22, 1911 - January 07, 1996)
Was born in Tondo, Manila
Started his education when the Philippines was already an American colony and the medium of
instruction was in English
At an early age, he learned three languages: Pampango from his mother, English from his teacher
at school, and Tagalog from the Tondo slums
Went to America as a pensionado (scholar) of the Philippine Commonwealth govt in 1941
At 30 y/o, he took a masters program in English at the University of Illinois
Central theme of his works is exile due to his experience as an exile in America when war broke
out in the Philippines
In 1942, he studied at Columbia University with the founder of Story magazine, the person who
published his first fiction in America
He returned to the Philippines after the war
His first two works were Vila Magdalena and the Volcano
He won the Philippine Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Literature in 1965
Summary
The story started with two Filipino citizens, Filemon (Fil) Acayan and Antonio (Tony) Bataller, who
live in Chicago, early November when the snow is still falling. Fil was enthusiastic because the
young and elegant dancers from the Philippines are going to arrive to perform in Chicago that day
thinking they will love their first snow. Tony was not maybe because for him it was a sign of the
dreaded cancer.
Fil was so eager with the coming of the dancers that he even blushed at the thought of it. He
planned to invite them to the apartment theyre living in for the last ten years. Hes going to cook
them some delicious chicken adobo, the well-stuffed relleno and offer them his warm hospitality.
He went to the airport to meet them. However, the dancers came, but they were perhaps too young
and too elegant to accept an invitation from an old, stalker-like man. The day the dancers came, at
the sight of the beautiful Filipino ladies, Fil was dumb-founded and rejected.
Nevertheless, Fil still pursued his love and admiration for the young dancers. He recorded the dance
troupes performance on his old portable tape recorder in hopes of inspiring Tony, who was not as
excited as he was the day the dancers came. Tony was not able to watch their performance because
he went to his doctor to have his condition checked.
He went home weak so Fil took a nap. By the time he woke up, Tony was already there, asleep. He
played what he has recorded when suddenly Tony screamed. He went immediately to Toys room
and asked what happened with his consultation. He ended up in despair. He lost his memories of
the dancers as he mistakenly erased all the recordings.
He tried to rewind back the sounds but there was nothing left but meaningless sounds.

The Day the Dancers Came

by BIENVENIDO N. SANTOS

Setting / Theme
Setting early November while the snow is still falling at the characters apartment. It can be
assumed that there is a war going on between some sovereign forces.
Theme The story revolves mainly about preserving their origins. It was stated that both time
and memory are villains of preservation. For Fil, time was his enemy. In the beginning, the words
he often heard were: too young, too young; but all of a sudden, too young became too old, too
late. Also, memory was treated as a betrayer evident in the statement He wondered . . .what
took care of the moment if memory didnt. Like time, memory was often a villain, a betrayer.
These are the reason why Fil had his sound mirror, a portable tape recorder.
Plot
Fil was excited to see the Filipino dancers who were about to perform in Chicago
Tony went to his doctor for check-up. Fil went to the airport for the dancers arrival but was
rejected and dumb-founded when he saw the Filipino ladies but still, he went to their
performance and recorded it in his tape recorder
He went home then played his recordings when suddenly Tony shouted.
Tony was in pain and due to the panic, Fil accidentally deleted all significant recordings from his
sound mirror
Fil tried to play back the recordings but heard only meaningless sounds.
Character
Fil 50 y/o U.S. citizen but a Filipino. He experienced many types of work including being a
Corporal in the U.S. army, current job is special policeman in the post office.
Tony retired Pullman porter. He is indifferent in the story because of his suffering from a
wasting disease that frustrates doctors.
Rising Conflict the need to preserve the memories from his hometown caused the rising conflict
of the story. Due to his homesickness and some personal issues, Fil made it a habit to record any
sound that he may find necessary to preserve for they resemble memories that he might not hear
again with the experiences abound therein after a long period. The rising conflict happened when
Fil mistakenly deleted his entire recordings in the pursuit of making Tony hear the performance of
the dancers
Resolution the story however ended not in a good way. With the deletion of the recordings, his
only source of memories was lost. However, it can be also seen as something that may be is for the
good of Fil. Time goes by, so do everything in this world, but not the memories that are stored in
our hearts and minds. These memories will last forever. Though they may not be sometimes
retrievable from our memory, but certainly they do exist in the back of our minds.
Societal Situation
In the short story, the author examined the growing tendencies of Filipinos to enter the
contemporary world. Base on his background as an author, his passion for writing was greatly
induced by his experience as an exile when there is an ongoing war to which the country is
involved. It is depicted in the story that migrating or going out of the country for a long period of
time only results to the death of the dreams of nationalistic Filipinos, that is the dream to preserve
our own culture and our own memories in the country.

The Day the Dancers Came

by BIENVENIDO N. SANTOS

Characteristic of Philippine Literature under American Influence


I believe that the influence of Americans to the Philippine literature depicted in the story is the
theme of homesickness and isolation Filipino immigrants or workers feel in those times they are
outside the country. Philippine literature in general revolves around how people behave in the
society but in this specific text, it focuses on how alienated Filipinos feel about the things they
treasure in the country and how they respond to this issue as time pass by.