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Critical Analysis of Wedding Dance, Distance to Andromeda and May Day

1. 1. A Critical Analysis on Amador Daguio’s Wedding Dance, Gegorio Brilliantes’ Distance to
Andromeda and Nick Joaquin’s May Day Eve An Occasional Paper Presented to Dr.
Fulgencio T. Soriano Department of English and Humanities College of Arts and Sciences
Central Luzon State University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Course
Literary Criticism By: Catubig, Rona Calderon March, 2013
2. 2. I. Synopsis A. The Wedding Dance The Wedding Dance is a story of Lumnay and Awiyao,
who as members of a tribe in Cordillera, have to conform to the dictates of their culture. After
seven harvests, Lumnay and awiyao are still childless. Not having a child creates a problem
with them. Lumnay, as a woman is expected to be suspected as infertile. Awiyao has to look
for another wife even if he loves Lumnay so much. At the day of Awiyao’swedding to
Malidumay he paid visit to Lumnay for the last time and invited her to come to her wedding.
They are both wretched. Lumnaytried to fight for her husband. She wanted to defy the
unwritten law of the tribe besides they both love each other. During the course of their
conversation Awiyao explains his opposition to his marriage to other woman but is defeated
with cultural dictates. Awiyao called by the loud sound of the gongs goes back to the
ceremony. Lumnay considered breaking into the ceremony but ends up alone in the
company of bean plants. The love for their tribe reigned over Awiyao. Lumnay becomes the
image of a woman whose qualities as a good wife and the best dancer among all the other
women in their tribe mean nothing if she cannot bear a child. B. Distance to Andromeda
Distance to Andromeda is a story about a boy named Ben who went to a movie house to
watch with his friend Pepe. The movie which they watched is about survivors of the Earth
who went to travel or journey in outer space in search
3. 3. of a new place to live in. After the movie they have watched Ben thinks of staying for one
more screening but Pepe his friend stood to leave already in the aisle waiving at him. When
the two are already outside they still linger before the movie house looking at the photos
tacked on the display board. As Ben looks again at the pictures he feels again what he has
watched. Ben cannot get over it. The two crossed the street away from the theater to the
main street. They come to the plaza where children are roller-skating around the kiosko. Tito,
another friend comes by. They talked about swimming and basketball until their conversation
shifts to the movie Ben and Pepe have watched. Tito does not go to that kind of picture, so
fantastic he says, so untrue to life. While the two, especially Ben cannot get rid of the movie
on their minds and cannot help but to think of it and ask questions like “Do you think people
will ever get to the moon?” Tito verbally opposed them thinking that those were crazy talks
since they are unreal. The three boys part ways. Ben walks home alone. On the bridge he
suddenly feels lonely. He recalls the view of the heaven through the port holes in the movie.
C. May Day Eve May Day Eve is a story that involves three generations. The first generation
is the generation of Agueda and Badoy, the second generation is the generation of Agueda’s
daughter and the third generation is the generation of Don
4. 4. Badoy’s grandson, Voltaire. The story revolves on what happened one May day eve on
the year 1847 when Agueda young and stubborn as she was persuaded Anastacia to tell her
the mystic superstition on a May day eve. Carrying a candle she went downstairs where the
mirror is. She insisted on finding out who will her husband be and there passed her
shoulders stands Badoy. Later on the story Doña Agueda tells her daughter about but denied
that it was her daughter’s father Don Badoy. It was the devil she tells her. On a May day eve
of the year 1890 Don Badoy saw his grand child holding a candle, facing the mirror and it
reminded him of one May day eve of the year 1847, and of Doña Agueda.He almost forgot
that she is long dead already. When Don Badoy tells Voltaire that he saw a witch in it and it
bewitched him Voltaire tells him that it is a horrible mirror. Don Badoy surprised with it asks
him why and he answers him that his mama once told him that his grandmother, Doña
Agueda, once saw the devil in the mirror. The story shows how a certain belief of the mystic
May day eve changed their lives forever.
5. 5. II. Interpretation A. The Wedding Dance The Wedding Dance tells the reader “that there
could be a conflict between your personal love and love for one’s people (tribe) and culture,
and in some cases culture prevails.” The story clearly demonstrates how their culture
prevents Lumnay and Awiyao from loving each other and living together as husband and
wife.Their love for each other is revealed through their conversation. Awiyao, no matter how
it pains him to leave Lumnay has to conform to the social dictates. Lumnay, no matter how
much she loves Awiyao chose to give in to their unwritten law. There could also be an
underlying theme of the story that is love as self- sacrifice. The couple, Lumnay and Awiyao
has to give up for their love not only because of what their culture dictates but alsoto save
each other from the scorn of the society. In Awiyao’s case he had been mocked being
childless because a man to be considered a man should have a child. B. Distance to
Andromeda The Distance to Andromeda tells the reader “that life is a journey and therefore it
involves of departures and arrivals until we reach the FINAL DESTINATION.” The story
manifests how life is a journey especially in the movie Ben and Pepe have watched. The
survivors of Earth, the last men and women of this world ride in a rocket `and travel
outerspace in search of another place of air and
6. 6. greenness. As they travel they see through the portholes the planets and stars until a
globe of shining water and green-shadowed land appears through the viewports. They have
found a new world to live in. There is a journey involved. There is a departure on Earth and
there is arrival as well, arrival in their new-found world. The story shows that if you leave you
will arrive somewhere, the destination. There is always a destination for every leaving. In the
case of Ben and Pepe, they arrive at the movie house and watched. After the movie they
have to leave, although Ben still wanting to stay for another screening they really need to
leave and so they leave. In life no matter how long you want to stay if it is already your time
to go, you will have to leave. When the two arrived at the plaza they see Tito and talked for a
while. The three then part ways to go home. Just like in life we meet people but then there
would come a time when we really needed to part. Ben headed home alone and suddenly he
feels lonely. He feels like a tiny boy standing between the dark river and the lights in the sky.
He feels lonely because he does not want to go home just yet but he needed to leave to
arrive to his final destination. C. May Day Eve The story May Day Eve tells the reader “that
time moves in our life without stop and as it passes by, the heart and mind forget and
distracted but if reminded “it” remembers.”
7. 7. As Don Badoy Montoya visited his old home, memories of his youth came back. He
recalled how he fell in love with Agueda, a young woman who resisted him. Agueda learned
from Anastaciathat she would be able to know her future husband by reciting an incantation
in front of a mirror. She saw Badoy in the mirror. They got married. When Don Badoy saw his
grandson, Voltaire, in front of the mirror, he remembers Agueda. Don Badoy ponders on love
that had been wasted.Badoy’s heart forgot how he loved Agueda in the past. But as he sees
Voltaire in front of the mirror he remembers everything about Agueda, about the mystic
Mayday eve of 1847. III. Technical Analysis A. Plot The plot of TheWedding Dance does not
follow the traditional plot structure. The conflict is already revealed in the beginning of the
story. Nevertheless, the problem is not clear to readers yet. The technique used by the writer
allows a sense of suspense. Knowing the existence of the problem which is still unclear
hooks the reader to continue reading in their pursuit to know what the problem is. In addition,
such technique prevents predictability of the flow of the story. If the story followed a
traditional plot which it could not create the suspense and emotional intensity it is able to do
with the way it is structured. On the other hand the story Distance to Andromeda followed a
traditional plot structure, it used foreshadowing though. The outcome of the conflict is hinted
or foreshadowed
8. 8. before the climax and ending of the story. The description of the movie at the beginning of
the story is a foreshadowing of what is about to happen to Ben in the end of the story. There
is a repetitive designation in the narration of the story. There is a repetitive references to the
movie, to the sky and the stars that make the readers curious what these has got something
to do with the story. While May Day Evemade use a plot technique of a frame story, there is
a single scene or event in the beginning and ending of the story which is a mystic May day
eve. There is a background narrative that explains the world of the main story. Simply put,
there is a story within the story. The mystic May eve was told in a story by Agueda to her
daughter, and her daughter to her son. These past events told in the story add meaning to
current circumstances in the story. The course of three generations in the story made its
theme. Although these three short stories made use of different plot techniques these three
are similar with its sense of suspense. There are elements in the stories that make readers
continue reading and read for more. B. Setting The choice of the story’s setting The Wedding
Dance fits the story perfectly. The triumph of culture and tradition over personal love is
emphasized by framing the story in the Cordilleras because the Cordillera region is known
for its richness in culture and its people’s obedience and conformity to their tradition. Setting
the story in the Cordillera region highlights the importance of fertility and
9. 9. gives the events of the story a realistic appeal. On the other hand, the story Distance to
Andromeda took place in a movie house, in the town of Tarlac. The setting also fits the story
perfectly since the movie has got something to do with the theme of the story. It makes the
story realistic. If the writer chose to set the story outer space and Ben is the one inside the
rocket seeing through the portholes with his very own eyes the story might not seem realistic
than it is. While May Day Evewas set on a mystic May Day Eve of the years 1847 and 1890
in front of a mirror. The three generations involved in the story intensified the theme of the
story. Assuming there was only two or one generation in the story or it only happened in just
a couple of years or so, the theme of the story would be different from that of its theme. The
duration of time made the theme of the story. The settings of the three short stories are well
crafted that they fit the stories perfectly. C. Characterization The characters in the story The
Wedding Dance are Lumnay, Awiyao and Malidumay. The author greatly used dialogues and
actions to reveal his character’s nature. Lumnay is the lead woman character in the story.
She is allegedly infertile and her believed inability to bear a child causes her to lose the man
she loves, her husband. The writer effectively used Lumnay’s character to reveal how
personal love is defeated by culture dictates. Lumnay represents what a deep attachment to
tradition could bring to an individual. Her actions and words make the readers feel
10. 10. pity to her situation. On the day of her husband’s wedding with another girl she bounds
herself in their house, not moving in the darkness. She is not a passive follower of the
situation although she is the victim of the superiority of their culture. She does not easily give
in to their culture she wants to fight back and defy the unwritten law. Her words say so: “I
don’t want any man.”, “I don’t want any other man.”, “Neither can you blame me.” “You know
that I have done my best. I have prayed to Kabunyan much. I have sacrificed many chickens
in my prayers.”, “It is not right. It is not right. How does she know? How can anybody know?
It is not right.” Her actions and words reflect opposition. In the latter part, she decides to
break in to the ceremony, go to the chief of the village, to the elders and tell them it was not
right: …Awiyao was hers.. Nobody could take him away from her.. Let her the first woman to
complain, to denounce the unwritten rule that a man may take another woman. There is such
strength in Lumnay’s character and it could be the author’s way of waging an attack against
the sovereignty of the culture. There is much sympathy felt in the character of Lumnay.
Making her the victim signifies the ill effect of the influence of the society. Although Lumnay
is described by her husband as one of the best wives in the whole village she admits that it
done her no good since she still cannot bear a child. She is even the best dancer in their
tribe and is envied by most women and captures men’s attention: “…Did not the man praise
her supple body and the women envy the way she stretched her hands…Tonight all women
who once danced in her honor, were dancing now in honor of another whose only claim
11. 11. was that perhaps she could give her husband a child.” These lines strongly tell how her
sole deficiency has overshadowed everything. Lumnay attempts to go to the wedding
ceremony and fights for her man. However, in the end, she did not have the courage to
break into the wedding ceremony. She ends up in the mountain away from the ceremony.
She hears the sound of the gongs that seem to thank her for her sacrifice. The other
character is Awiyao, Lumnay’s husband. Like her wife, his character represents the defeat of
personal love and the victory of culture and tradition. Awiyao repeatedly expresses his love
for Lumnay, but he submits to the dictates of the culture in the end. Several aspects of
culture are depicted in his character: the superiority of culture, proliferation of his family
name and the concept of machismo. He is not in favor of what he has done, but he has to do
it. His need to conform to their tradition pains him as much as it pains Lumnay. During his
wedding ceremony he pays visit to Lumnay and asks her to come to his wedding although it
is an emotional blow to himself. He utters words which are against his wishes. It hurts him to
leave Lumnay, but he has to: “…It is taking away half of his life to leave her like this.” As he
leaves her, he laments why a man has to have a child. Doubtlessly, the fact that he visits
Lumnay on his wedding day asserts his love for Lumnay.
12. 12. Awiyao’s words tell about the superiority of their culture: “..I am very sorry, but neither of
us can help it…You know very well that I don’t want any woman either.. I do this for the sake
of our tribe.” Awiyao is a depiction of the so-called machismo as well which is proven by
being able to have a child: “..If I did this it is because of my need for a child. You know that
life is not worth living without a child. The men have mocked me behind my back. The last
character is Malidumay, the woman Awiyao is getting married to. Nothing more aside from
that is said about her. Her character also emphasizes the function of a woman in the society,
to bear children. Her character shows conformity to tradition as well because even though
she knows that Awiyao is only marrying her for the sole reason of having a childshe still
marries him regardless of Lumnay. On the other hand, in the Distance to Andromeda there
are three characters as well, Ben, Pepe and Tito. The actions and dialogues also reveal the
characters nature like in The Wedding Dance. Since the author did not make any description
about the characters and did not made use of many exchange of dialogues as well, just
sensible ones. Ben is a thirteen year old boy who wants to stay for another screening in the
movie house although he had already watch one movie. Meanwhile, even if he already went
out the theater when his friend called him he still stood before the theater looking at the
photos of the movie on the display board. His character
13. 13. portrays a character of wanting to stay a little longer, of not wanting to leave. It is shown
in the lines: “..Ben thinks of staying for one more screening but his friend Pepe stood up to
leave, waving to him from the aisle.” He could not get over with the movie he and his friend
just watched: “…Ben looks up at the pictures, and he feels again, deep in a silence within
him, like the vibration of invisible wires, the hum of universe, the movement of the planets
and stars.” “I wonder if there are people on Mars- like in the comics.” “Do you think people
will ever get to the moon?”.He wonders of the outerspace. He always looks up to the stars
and sky. Ben’s character believes that life is a journey at a certain point people will end up to
their final destination. This is shown with his frequent looking up at the stars in the story.
Another character is Pepe, the friend of Ben. His character portrays the willingness to leave.
He is the one calling Ben and waiving at him to leave the movie house. The last character is
Tito, opposite Ben’s character he does not go to the kind of picture Ben and Pepe like. His
character portrays a realistic being. He does not believe to fantasy, for him those are crazy
talks: “If there are any, says Tito, they’d look like Mr. Cruz.” “Ahh, nobody’s going to land on
the moon, says Tito, there’s no air up there.” “Moon, rocketship, Mars- what kind ofcrazy talk
is that?”
14. 14. While the story May Day Eve has many characters but the main characters are Agueda,
Badoy, their daughter, and their daughter’s son. Like the two other stories the actions and
dialogues of the characters also reveal their nature. Agueda was described to be a bold,
liberated, and a non-conformist young woman. These characteristics are depicted in her
words: “…I am not afraid, I will go.” “And I will not lie down!””Stay old woman. Tell me what to
do.” “I do not care. I am not afraid. I will go.” Her character during her youth represents the
youth who are stubborn and persistent. During her old age she turned a bitter old woman: “I
saw the devil, she said bitterly.” Badoywas characterized in the beginning as a persistent,
promiscuous young man who wanted to prove his machismo. It is depicted in his words:
“…Charms like yours have no need for a candle fair one.” “You are Agueda whom I left a
mere infant and came home to find a tremendous beauty, and I danced a waltz with you but
you would not give me the polka.” “But I want to dance the polka with you fair one.” “Oh, do
not cry little one!” “Oh please forgive me! Please do not cry! But what a brute I am! I was
drunk, little one, and knew not what I said.” “No, say you forgive me first. Say you forgive me
Agueda.” He realized that he was “deliriously in love” with Agueda: “..he had fallen madly
inlove with her. He ached intensely to see her again, to touch her hands and her hair;to
hearher harsh voice.”
15. 15. Badoy’s character is the depiction of young men who are persistent to pursue women
they like at any cost. During his old age, Don Badoy becomes bitter like Doña Agueda as
well, especially in their marriage. He almost forgot that Doña Agueda is long dead. His heart
and mind forgot the memories of Agueda through time: “…But, alas, the heart forgets; the
heart is distracted; and May time passes; summer lends; the storms break over the rot-tipe
orchards and the heart grows old; while the hours, the days, the months, and the years pile
up and pile up, till the mind becomes too crowded, too confused: dust gathers in it; cobwebs
multiply; the walls darken and fall into ruin and decay; the memory perished...and there came
a time when Don BadoyMontiya walked home through a May Day midnight without
remembering, without even caring to remember; being merely concerned in feeling his way
across the street with his cane; his eyes having grown quite dim and his legs uncertain--for
he was old; he was over sixty..” Don Badoy and Doña Agueda’s daughter, however she is
not named in the story. She is the one who asked Doña Agueda what she saw in the mirror
on a May day eve of 1847. When Doña Agueda told her it was the devil, she asked her
mother to describe it. Doña agueda described the devil in a way that the girl noticed that it
has resemblance with her father. When she asked Doña Agueda if it was her father she
denied it. The character of the daughter in the story represents the youth who are curious
and always has questions to ask. Doña Agueda, in this case, represents the typical mother
who conceals things to her children to preserve the good image of their father.
16. 16. Voltaire, Don Badoy’s grandson. His character was used by the writer to be the
instrument to unlock Don Badoy’s memory of Doña Agueda: “…wholly unconscious of the
May night, till on his way down the hall, chancing to glance into the sala, he shuddered, he
stopped, his blood ran cold-- for he had seen a face in the mirror there---a ghostly candlelight
face with the eyes closed and the lips moving, a face that he suddenly felt he had been there
before though it was a full minutes before the lost memory came flowing, came tiding back,
so overflooding the actual moment and so swiftly washing away the piled hours and days
and months and years that he was left suddenly young again; he was a gay young buck
again, lately came from Europe; he had been dancing all night; he was very drunk; he s
stepped in the doorway; he saw a face in the dark; he called out...and the lad standing
before the mirror (for it was a lad in a night go jumped with fright and almost dropped his
candle, but looking around and seeing the old man, laughed out with relief and came
running.” Voltaire was exactly doing what Agueda did one May Day Eve of 1847. Don Badoy
warned him that he might see a witch and the boy said it was a horrible mirror since he told
him his mother once told him that his grandmother saw the devil in it. It shows the bitter
marriage the two old couple had shared for Don Badoy was described by his wife a deviul
and Doña Agueda was described by her husband a witch. They were not able to mend their
broken marriage because their love was a “raging passion and nothing more”.
17. 17. The characters from the three stories were described mostly in indirect presentation, that
is, their true nature is depicted on their actions and words. D. Point of View The three short
stories are told from a Third Person Omniscient point of view. The narrator in each story is
able to enter the minds and feelings of characters. This kind of narration offers a lot of
information for the readers to understand better how the characters exactly think and feel. E.
Symbolism The common denominator of these three short stories is the use of symbolism. In
fact, it is their best feature, the richness of symbols. Symbols are used in the stories to
effectively point out the message of the stories. In The Wedding Dance the symbols are: the
sound of gongs or gangsas, the rattan flooring, the beads, the beans, the fire/flame, the
dance, the stream or river and other objects symbolizing abundance such as harvests, jars
filled with water and the field. The sound of the gong most particularly is the most important
symbol in the short story. The gong signifies the call of culture and its victory over man’s
personal love. It is very dominant in the story since it is mentioned many times.
Nevertheless, what is more important is when the sound of gongs is heard in the flow of the
story. The rattan flooring: Lumnay is twice described as pulling at the rattan that keeps the
bamboo flooring in place and tugging at the rattan flooring. The
18. 18. bamboo signifies Lumnay and Awiyao as individual person. However, they are bound by
their union as wife and husband. This binding is symbolized by the rattan as it described to
hold the split bamboo together. Lumnay’s pulling at the rattan represents the breaking of
their union. The beads: The beads are the only objects Lumnay asked from Awiyao to be in
her possession. The beads are very precious since they are said to be worth twenty fields.
The beads stand’s for Awiyao’s love.Before he leaves he put the beads on her head. The
beans: The beans represent abundance and fertility. Beans or bean pods contains seeds,
which signifies fruitfulness. In the end of the story Lumnay is seen in the company of the
bean plants and there seems to be an envy felt by Lumnay as she touches the plants for
they are oozing with fruitfulness while she is fruitless. The flames: It symbolizes the intensity
of love Awiyao and Lumnay has for each other. The dance: It symbolizes culture because
dancing marks any form of cultural celebration. The stream or river: It represents the
unending flow of life. Lumnay recalls how she and Awiyao had to pass through the growling
waters as he took her away from her parents. This may signify the troubled life they had
because of being childless. In the end of the story, Lumnay goes to the mountain stream
which is said to be very cold. It represents the continuation of Lumnay’s life alone.
19. 19. On the other hand Distance to Andromeda used symbols as well and these are the
movie house, the rocket, the outer space, the skaters, the stars, the sky and the moon. The
movie house: It represents the world people live in. Different movies screening in it signify
the different lives people have, there are drama, comedy, tragedy and its sort. The
rocketship: In the movie it became the mode of transportation of the survivors of the earth in
the quest to their search of a new world. In life it can represent the faith of people, the faith of
people who believes that they will go back to their creator and it is their faith that would bring
them there. It can also represent whatever it is that is significant to people to arrive at their
final destination, whatever that final destination is for them. The outer space: It is where the
last people on earth travelled. It is where they see though the portholes the stars, planets
and the moon. These things they saw represents the multitude of circumstances people face
in their journey to this life. It includes the different people they see, different places they go
and different situations they encounter. The skaters/ skaters’ rink: “In the white light of the
neon lamps, the continuous rumbling sound of the skaters rises and falls with the quality of
the cemented rink: now hollow and receding, now full and ascending, going around,
seemingly unending.” Life as a journey is not always a smooth ride. Nevertheless, it is not
always a tough ride. The skaters and skaters’ rinks signify the ups and downs of life. It is not
always everyday that we are on top and vice
20. 20. versa. The falls are the trials and challenges while the ups are the joys and victories of
life. The stars, sky and the moon: In the story Ben always look up to these, so these
symbolize the final destination. In the story it reminded Ben of the movie he watched, in real
life it will also be a reminder that all people will surely be where they are supposed to be.
While on the story May Day Eve the symbols used are the mirror, the cane and the candle.
The mirror: It is the most important symbol in the story because the story revolves around it.
The mirror is the symbol of truth since what you see is what you get. It is through the mirror
Doña Agueda saw Don Badoy. Although it was just a superstition that who she will see will
be her husband, in the end it turned out to be true to her because they got married. She let
herself confines to her belief of the mystic May day eve.The mirror resembles, suggests and
associates something more and something else. For one, the mirror symbolizes the illusory
love between Agueda and Badoy. When they first met, the mutual physical attraction was
strong as may be confirmed in the recollection made by both. On the part of Agueda, her
physical attraction was evident in seeing the young Badoy’s “very black and elegant”
mustaches, “his fine clothes, his flashing eyes, his curly hair” as they were reflected in the
mirror. On the part of Badoy, his physical attraction was evident in seeing the young
Agueda’s “charms,” “tremendous beauty,” the “eyes she had,” “bare shoulders gold in the
candlelight and delicately furred,” “the mobile insolence of her neck, her taut breast,” her
21. 21. enchanting “fire” and “grace,”“her hair that was like black waters” as they were reflected
in the same mirror. However, their attraction being founded on something so superficial as
physical appearance, their love’s roots are not anchored deeply so their feelings for each
other did not endure. Just a few years after their chance meeting by the mirror on a May Day
Eve, with the product of their marital union still a very young girl, Agueda is already referring
to her husband as the “devil” and attaches negative descriptions to him like having “a scar of
sin,” mustaches“dirty and greying and smelling horribly of tobacco,” and horns and tails.
Badoy has the similar antagonistic attitude against his wife, whom he refers to as a“horrible,”
“dark, fatal creature” of a “witch” who “tortured” him and “ate [his] heart and drank [his]
blood.” This reversal of Agueda and Badoy’s initial passionate pronouncements toward each
other implies that like a mirror reflecting analmost-similar yet actually false image, the skin-
deep love they had already disillusioned them. The cane: In the story the walking cane is
used by Don Badoy. It symbolizes superiority, authority and old age. The candle: A candle
can give a sense of direction especially in darkness; it can also draw two people together.
This is exactly what happened to Badoy and Agueda. They were drawn to each other
because of the candle Agueda lighted and because of her belief. IV. Evaluation
22. 22. For me the most effective among the three writers is Amador Daguio because the
symbolism he used in his story is really effective in conveying its message. His story is rich
with symbolism which is relevant and effective. The second most effective writer is Nick
Joaquin. He comes second in my preference since I needed to read his story May Day Eve
over and over again to understand the symbolism he used and to get the meaning or the
message his trying to convey with his short story. Doubtlessly, his short story is well crafted.
The third most effective is Gregorio Brillantes On a personal note, although I read his short
story Distance to Andromeda over and over I find it hard to figure out the connection of the
theme within the story. Although I believe “life is a journey” is its theme I find it hard to extract
from the story how it became its theme.
23. 23. A Comparative Critical Essay onDaguio’s “The Wedding Dance”, Brillantes’ “Distance to
Andromeda And Joaquin’s “May Day Eve An Occasional Paper Presented to Dr. Fulgencio
T. Soriano Department of English and Humanities College of Arts and Sciences Central
Luzon State University
24. A Critical Analysis on

25. “How my Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife”

26. By: Manuel Estabillo Arguilla


28. Submitted to: Submitted by:

29. Prof. Bernadette Yap Araula


32. Acas Arnel M.

33. Litt. 114\ 8:30-10 AM

34. How my brother Leon brought home a wife: A critical analysis

35. Characters:
36.  Baldo - He was one of the main characters in the short story. He was Leon’s younger brother. Baldo was

unperturbed man, and he was quiet. He was the narrator of the story.
37.  Leon - He was the oldest brother of Baldo. He was the husband of Maria. Maria called him Noel.

38.  Maria - She was a beautiful and lovely. Her forehead was on a level with his mouth, her nails were long, but

they were not painted, and have a small dimple appeared momentarily high up on her right cheek. She was

tall and very still. Her fragrance was like a morning when papayas are in bloom.
39.  Labang – The bull of Leon and Baldo.

40.  Father – He was mildest – tempered, gentlest man. He was the father of Baldo and Leon.

41.  Mother – He was the mother of Baldo and Leon.

42.  Aurelia – She was the sister of Baldo and Leon.

43. Summary / Synopsis:

44. Maria was a wife of Leon. She was lovely and beautiful. Her fragrant like a morning when papayas are in

bloom. Leon was lived in far place of Nagrebcan. Leon brought Maria to Nagrebcan to introduce to his

father. The couple enjoys talking while in traveled riding in the cart hitch to Labang. Baldo who is quiet and

observing his brother and spouse. When they arrived home, Baldo went to the room of his father. The room

is quiet and dark. His father was smoking while sat in the big armchair by the western window. And they talk

about Maria. Afterwards the door opened, and Leon and Maria came in. Baldo looked to Maria and went out

to watered Labang which his father told to him.

45. Characterization:

46. Baldo is the narrator of the story because he is the one who relates us what happened to the story. Were
Baldo is the younger brother of Leon. Baldo is a quiet person. It is very detectable that Baldo is observing his

brother Leon and spouse how is Maria. When his father asks him “Was she afraid of Labang?” Baldo lied and

says “No, Father, she was not afraid.” Even though Maria afraid. It means that Baldo like Maria as a wife

of Leon but inside, he also admires the beauty of Maria. In here, the main characters were the couple Leon

and Maria. Leon has a strong personality because he did not afraid to present Maria to his father as her wife.

He was very proud of Maria as her wife. Maria truly love Leon because she fight for what she believe was

right, it doesn’t matter if the world told her that it’s wrong. I could say that Maria and the mother

of Leon plays and represent the Filipino women. The father of Baldo has a deep personality. He was a

responsibly father because he use his righteous way as a head of the family. It only means that the father or

the man is the authority. He doesn’t want Leon to go to the wrong way. So, he makes some trials to Maria
trying to test Maria’s characteristic, her attitude, her looks, how she talks and the way she handle the
situation. His mother was a responsibly mother. She does the light of the family and represents the Filipino


47. Settings:

48. The setting of the story was in Nagrebcan, Leon’s hometown. This story takes place in a farm where people

would usually ride in carabao. The place was in the local province. In the story, Maria who was Leon’s wife

described physically and with her posture as a conservative and traditionalist which would probably

described as a Filipino woman. As an alternative, they took a shortcut in a field. In my opinion, one can

visualize that there is some kind of a test for the two of them. Maria must surpass that trial. It was as there

family of Leon is trying to test Maria’s characteristic, her attitude, her looks, how she talks and the way she

handle the situation.

49. Plot:

50. The plot is compose of inciting action, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion. The inciting

action was when “She stepped down to the Carretela of Ca Celin with a quick, delicate grace. She look lovely,

she was tall. She looked up to my brother with a smile, and her forehead was on level with his mouth.” The

rising action was when they took the dry bed of Waig as a substitute of passing the Camino Real and it was

the wish of there father to go by Waig. The climax of the story was when Maria told Leon that she was afraid

of his father in law maybe his father thinking of not liking her. The falling action came when Leon was

searching for their father and her mother told them that his leg is bothering him again. The conclusion was

when Baldo cross the threshold of his father and ask him about Maria. Afterwards the door opened and Leon

and Maria came in. Baldo looked to Maria so lovely and went out to watered Labang which his father told


51. Themes:

52. The theme of the story is Love makes Maria and Leon go straight whatever struggles come will be ignore to

them. I don’t know if there relationship will last long because Maria is a city girl while Leon is a barrio boy.
53. Reactions of the story:

54. My reaction of the story is the story is good and it reflects to the modern youth even if the story is very old. I

describe Maria as an example of Filipino women and also her attitude as a “mahinhin”. The couple Leon and

Maria faces many trials while in traveled to Nagrebcan. Even though, Maria passed those trials. So, therefore

Maria is very understanding kind of girl. The story talks about the characteristic of Maria, her attitude, her

looks, how she talks and the way she handle the situation that riding a bull and passed through Waig.

Therefore, basically a woman creates for men.

A Literary Analysis on Manuel E. Arguilla’s Short Story and

Wilfrido Ma. Guererro’s One Act Play
Posted by D AT S on A P R IL 1 0 , 2 0 1 6
We know for the fact that short stories and one-act plays were the fully
developed forms of Literature during the Colonial Period (American Occupation).
The short story was to be the showcase for the skill and art of Filipino writers
using English. One of the finest short story writers during this period was Manuel
E. Arguilla (1910-1944) who also covered a broad range of subject matters and
themes drawn from the experiences of Filipinos living in the 1930s.
The sarsuwela was replaced by one-act plays in 1930s. One-act plays which
were written by the students were staged. Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (1917-1995)
was the most prolific of the Filipino playwrights using English as medium of
expression (Lumbera B. and Lumbera C., 2005). In this period, the English
language was used as the medium of instruction in all Philippine schools
because of the imposition brought by the Americans. English opened the
floodgates of colonial values through phonograph records, textbooks, and
magazines originally intended for American children which influenced young
Filipinos. There was an establishment of public school system which marked the
beginning of Philippine writing in English. It is said that the University of the
Philippines was founded in 1908 in order to train young Filipinos for tasks in
colonial bureaucracy (Lumbera B. and Lumbera C., 2005). Indeed, there was a
spread of American culture happened during this period. The American style of
writing and its subject matters were incorporated, adapted, and imitated by the
Filipino writers. As a result, Philippine literature became international.
I want to discuss Manuel E. Arguilla’s short story entitled “How My Brother Leon
Brought Home a Wife” and Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero’s one-act play entitled “Wanted:
A Chaperon” for this literary analysis. I have chosen these works because I find
them interesting. These two works are interesting because they give the readers
meaningful and moral lessons in life. Even though we have already discussed
these in high school and in college, it seems that the lessons from these stories
are truly unforgettable and valuable.
In order for me to discuss these topics, various methods or literary theories will
be used. First, I will use Formalism which serves as the starting point for the
analysis and discussion. The analysis will also use Marxism to further discuss the
chosen topics. I will begin with Arguilla’s “How My Brother Leon Brought Home a
Wife”. This is to be followed by Guerrero’s one-act play “Wanted: A Chaperon”.
After which, will be the analysis of their similarity and differences.
Analysis and Discussions
The story “How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife” was set during the
1930s in Nagrebcan, Bauang La Union. The place is a province and we know
that the people who are living there would most likely be the farmers. The story is
told in the 1st person point of view and this narrator is Baldo, the younger brother
of Leon. His older brother is Noel but named by Maria as Leon. As what Baldo
realized: “But it was only the name of my brother Leon said backward and it
sounded much better that way.” Another major character found in the story is
Maria who is the wife of Leon. For Baldo, her name is “sosyal” and it is obvious
that she comes from a city.
The conflict shown in the story is centered between Maria and herself, as well as
the society by which Baldo and Leon lived in. We know that Maria is from a city
while her husband Leon is from a province. Maria is concerned if she’s going to
be accepted or not by Leon’s family despite of her social status. She was even
tested if she is worthy to be the wife of Leon. This was seen when Baldo ignored
his older brother’s question about why did they have to go to Waig instead of
Camino Real.
I think Maria is a good character in the story. I like Maria not because she’s kind
and lovely, but because she is not the typical “matapobre” as seen in the story.
She is indeed a sympathetic woman. In fact, Maria was a bit anxious because of
meeting Leon and Baldo’s parents for the first time. Maria is worried that she will
not be accepted by Leon’s father because she may not able to adapt their way of
living in the province. However, on their way home, she discovered the
differences of the life of the people lived there and the life in the city where she
met and fell in love with Leon. We can see Maria’s response when Leon asked
her: “You miss the houses, and the cars, and the people and the noise, don’t
you?” My brother Leon stopped singing. “Yes, but in a different way. I am glad
they are not here.” I appreciate her the most simply because she accepted and
respected Leon for what he really is. She didn’t care what Leon’s life back in
Nagrebcan. She was a supportive and a loving wife to Leon. She was so
endearing and kind-hearted lady. She was very keen to meet Leon’s family. It is
somewhat discouraging that the rural is different from the city but the closer they
get to the house, Maria still managed to overcome any trials. She admits for
having some fear, but she also shows clearly it did not stop her. I believe that
social status is not a hindrance if you truly love each other.
The first theme of this story is that no matter what it takes to be with the one you
love, you will do anything to be with that person. I know that having a long and
strong relationship with the person you love is seldom nowadays. People tend to
love one another at first but eventually end up being bitter. Well, that kind of
relationship is not a true love after all. If I’m going to apply this significant theme
or message to the life of Filipinos then it can be said that as Filipinos, we are very
emotional when we think of true love. We also care about true love. There are
Filipinos who turn to sacrifice and endure things just to be happy. If you are
sacrificing it truly means that you value and you truly love this person (Adofina et
al., 2013). In the story, we can see that Maria will sacrifice anything just to be
happy with Leon, her only love. I can say that this love is true and genuine. This
kind of love then is truly authentic.
Another theme that is portrayed in the story is the saying that “Don’t judge the
book by its cover.” Baldo, when he first saw Maria, was surprised to see that his
brother Leon accompanied a woman who is different from them because of her
name, as well as lovely and beautiful appearance. He said to himself that: “He
did not say Maring. He did not say Mayang. I knew then that he had always
called her Maria and that to us all she would be Maria; and in my mind I said
‘Maria’ and it was a beautiful name.” It is then obvious for Baldo that Maria came
from a city. As a person living in a province, he has already the belief that people
like Maria doesn’t belong to them and is impossible to adapt their way of living in
the province. But despite of the test ordered by his father, Baldo somehow
realized that Maria is also a friend and should be treated like them knowing that
she proved worthy of it.
We can also see Filipino values or traits that are revealed within the story. One
trait is the goal to obtain one’s trust most especially when you want your parents
to have a permission to marry your chosen loved one. Filipino parents are very
hard to impress. It is hard to get their trust as well. But what Maria did in the test
that the father of Baldo and Leon gave to her proved that she really deserved
and love Leon. She will sacrifice anything to be happy and be with her only love.
Another value that is revealed within the story is living a life of contentment.
Filipinos who live in the province are very well known to be simple yet they are
contented for what they have. They are happy with small things and appreciate
what they have and how they live life.
The one-act play “Wanted: A Chaperon” was set in the living room which was
simply furnished one Sunday morning, at about eleven. It is a comedy. The story
is told in the 3rd person point of view. The characters involved in this play were
Don Francisco the father, Doña Petra the mother, Nena their daughter, Roberting
their son, Doña Dolores, Fred her son, Francisco a.k.a. “Francis” the servant,
and Pablo the mayordomo. The play was written in a way that is simple, usual,
and humorous.
The play is all about the traditional way of courting and accompanying women on
a party and in other occasions which means that the portrayal of old customs are
seen in that play. Don Francisco is so strict not just with Roberting during the
money conversation, but also with his daughter Nena because he doesn’t want
Nena to go on a party or in any occasions unchaperoned most especially she’s a
lady. We can see this when Don Francisco had a conversation with his son
Roberting: “You young modern people. Do you realize that in my time when I
was courting your mother, her father, her mother, her three sisters, her young
brother, her grandmother, five first cousins and two distant relatives sat in
the sala with us?” He also added the reason of what he said about courting:
“Because in those days we were more careful about a woman’s reputation.” One
night, Nena goes out with Fred, her friend. Unfortunately, rumors right after their
date were spread. Many people think that something bad is happened to the two
of them. And for the townspeople, it’s inevitable. Until Doña Dolores, mother of
Fred, goes to the house of Don Francisco insisting that something happened
between his son and Nena. It is Doña Dolores’ plan to insist his son Fred to Nena
but nothing really happened in fact. The same situation is happened to Don
Francisco’s son Roberting at the end of the play. So to avoid these issues Don
Francisco and Doña Dolores look for chaperons for their children to guide them
instead of the muchacho (servant) (Casuyon, 2011).
The writer poked fun at middle-class characters grappling with the problem of
Americanization (Lumbera B. and Lumbera C., 2005). To use a Marxism
approach for this play, we can see how Don Francisco wanted to call himself as
someone who is high than their servant Francisco. He even changed Francisco’s
name into Francis to avoid confusion. Francis often gets into trouble and that’s
why he was being yelled by Don Francisco.
The message or the theme of the play is that our traditional culture, customs, and
ways of living must always be alive in our heart knowing that these are now
fading most especially in the technological age by which we are living in. We
have been adopting other countries’ cultures or activities that we are not open to
our own culture. Don Francisco said that: “Outward things change, like the styles
of women’s dresses and men’s ties, but the human heart remains the same.” I
think the play is a best example on how we should live our life with our own. That
is why there is a saying in Filipino that says: “Dapat nating mahalin ang sariling
atin.” We should then live life in accordance to our original beliefs that our
ancestors wants these teachings to be a mark for us Filipinos.
Another theme in the play is the giving of importance to the reputation of women.
As we all know, most young women nowadays are getting too liberated. They are
liberated in terms of their sexual behaviors or clothing ways that men would
easily tempted to them. As a result, they’ll end up being harassed or raped.
They’ll also end up being pregnant in an early age which can also lead to
abortion. However, the play only reminds us that young women should behave in
their daily living. It’s important for them not to be influenced too much by the
other cultures most especially some Westerners and Americans who are sexually
liberated. Filipino young women from the past used to be conservative and
modest. They were accompanied and courted by their parents or relatives
whenever they have occasions. We all know, for some reason, that women are
treated equally. But they should also learn and strive to live life carefully and
wisely most especially in the present time.
Also, there are people who tend to be so judgmental nowadays. They easily give
comments and opinions to other people without certain evidences. They are
gossipers who make the issues very complicated (Casuyon, 2011). I think, we
have to get rid of this unpleasant attitude as well because this would definitely
causes a lot of trouble.
Now, we can see clearly the differences between the two works above. In terms
of their similarity, Arguilla’s short story and Guererro’s play portrayed the socio-
economic problems in Philippine society. The characters think that social status
really defines them. We can see that Maria is from a city while her husband Leon
is from a province. Maria is concerned if she’s going to be accepted or not by
Leon’s family despite of her social status. We can also see that Don Francisco
thinks himself as high than their servant Francisco by treating him immorally. He
has a conflict with that kind of situation.
Conclusions and Insights
The two works are very good pieces because of the elements of fiction used and
the way these stories were defamiliarized. These works are great because of the
subject matters and styles of writing used by outstanding writers and playwrights
during the time of American Colonial period. I can say that we should learn to
make a difference in our lives because having a chance is the greatest gift we
can receive. Don’t let things like social status defines us. We should learn to be
sympathetic and understanding persons to others, be able to adopt our old ways
of living at least, be happy, and be wise. In these ways, we can live life
Adofina, J., Endon, D., & Reyes J., (2013). A report on how my brother leon
brought home a wife. Retrieved March 3, 2015