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RAMOS, Rency R.

Philippine Literature
MAR151 Prof. Wright

Who is the Chieftest Mourner?

Before I answer whos the chieftest mourner among the three, I will analyze first the title
of the story. As I noticed, theres no such word as chieftest. I tried to search its meaning on the
internet but theres no exact definition for it. The author possibly exaggerated the term chief into
superlative form. Maybe she (Author, Aida Rivera Ford) wants to emphasize the meaning of
chief, which is being the highest and supreme. We can say that her definition of chieftest is
the superior of all and who stands out among the rest.

This is an example of a first-person point of view, in which the narrator is also part of the
main character. The story revolves around the death of the narrators uncle and the two women
which are fighting for their rights. Each character is very significant because they are all part of
the dead persons life. The young girl, which is also the narrator, witnessed all his uncle does for
career and for love. Upon reading, I can totally say that shes very close to his uncle because they
shared interests in making poems. These lines in the story prove it:

I never really lied about anything; only, nobody thought to ask me just how close an
uncle he was. It wasnt my doing either when, some months after his demise, my poem
entitled The Rose Was Not So Fair O Alma Mater was captioned by the niece of the late
beloved Filipino Poet. And that having been printed, I couldnt possibly refuse when I
was asked to write on My UncleThe Poetry of His Life.

Another character is Aunt Sophia, which claims to be the first and legal wife in the life of
his husband. Based on the story, the uncle just mistakenly married her and somehow a product of
his wrong decision in life. They dont have a good relationship because they separated after ten
years. I can say that Aunt Sophia is overly strict to the point the she doesnt allow his husband to
have a drink. She even punished him by tying him up to a chair just to teach him a lesson. I think
this is one of the reason why they broke up because the uncle feels like hes being controlled by
his wife.

My aunt always forgave him but one day she had more than she could bear, and when he
was really drunk, she tied him to a chair with a strong rope to teach him a lesson. She never
saw him drunk again, for as soon as he was able to, he walked out the door and never came

Even they get separated, Aunt Sophia is always showing indirect concern to his husband by
asking her friends and the young girls mama about the situation of her husbands life. In my own
understanding, she does these things because she cant accept the fact that she is part of the reason
why they broke up.
The topic of the conversation was always the latest low on Uncles state of misery. It gave
Aunt Sophia profound satisfaction to relay the report of friends on the number of creases
on Uncles shirt or the appalling decrease in his weight. To her, the fact that Uncle was
getting thinner proved conclusively that he was suffering as a result of the separation.
It is also the time when the uncle has another woman named Esa. She described in the story as
a young, accomplished, and a woman of means (which can be the uncles ideal wife). Aunt Sophia
has the knowledge that her husband has a new woman already. Because she cant still accept it,
she assumes that Esa ensnared her husband. The conflict of the story begins when the uncle died,
because theres a lot of revelation happened.

When Aunt Sophia and her husband separated, she decided not to visit him anymore. She never
know that his ex-husband has a Tuberculosis which cause of his death. In the times that the uncle
needs someone to his side, Esa is the one whos there for him. She takes care of him and even
provide financial help which Aunt Sophia never does.

Let me ask you. During the war when the poet was hard up do you suppose I deserted
him? Whose jewels do you think we sold when he did not make money When he was
ill, who was it who stayed at his side Who took care of him during all those months
and who peddled his books and poems to the publishers so that he could pay for the hospital
and doctors bills? Did any of you come to him then? Let me ask you that! Now that he is
dead you want me to leave his side so that you and that vieja can have the honors and have
your picture taken with the president. Thats what you want, isnt itto pose with the

We cannot blame Esa if shes also there in the funeral because she has a big part in the uncles
life. She had never shown negative to the person but all she does are just good things. The only
wrong thing here is that people judge her like a mistress, which I think she didnt deserve.
Without knowing her story, Esa became a victim of discrimination. She is obviously very
emotional, it can be seen through her outfit and the symbol white flower in the shape of dove. Even
though she express pure love and loyalty to the person, shes still criticized by everyone. When
Esa burst out her emotion, they misinterpret it and judged her as a scandalous woman. After all
the negative words they throw to her, shes still the one who initiate to leave the funeral even
though it is hurtful.

In this story, Esa is the Chieftest Mourner. With all the things that she has done, Esa deserves
the right in the death of his love the poet/uncle.