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The Day the Dancers Came

ELEDIA, JOHANNA ESTEBAL, ANTONETTE LUNA, HAIZEL MARTINEZ, KIRSTEN 3 BIO-1

Authors Biography:
March 22, 1911 January 7, 1996

Son of Tomas (Nuqui) Santos

and

Vicenta

Filipino-American fictionist, poet and nonfiction writer. He lived in the United States for many years where he is widely credited as a pioneering Asian-American writer.

Authors Biography:
Was born and raised at Tondo,

Manila but his family roots was originally from Lubao, Pampanga. Obtained his BA from the University of the Philippines in 1932 and as a scholar under the Philippine Pensionado program in 1941 he pursued an MA in English at the University of Illinois, Columbia University and Harvard University.

Authors Biography:
He accepted a Rockefeller fellowship in 1958 at the Writers Workshop in the University of Iowa, where he later became a Fulbright exchange professor. After he retired, he became a Visiting Writer and Artist at the De La Salle University in Manila.

Authors Biography:
Other notable works include: You Lovely People (1955), Scent of Apples (1979), The Man Who (Thought He) Looked Like Robert Taylor (1983) and What the Hell for You Left Your Heart in San Francisco (1987).

Authors Biography:
Santos
The Day the Dancers Came short story was adapted and made into a play entitled First Snow of November by Filipino fictionist and playwright Alfonso I. Dacanay. The stage version won first prize in the One-Act Play in English category during the 2005 Palanca Awards. Santoss tale was also adapted and made into a twenty-seven minute film with the same title as the short story.

THEMES
ALIENATION estrangement, division or distancing of people from each other, or of people from what is important or meaningful to them, or of a person from their own sense of self

THEMES
MIGRATION is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups

THEMES
HOMESICKNESS the distress caused by separation from the home environment

SETTING

A Snowy November in Chicago

CHARACTERS
Filemon Fil Acayan 5o years old, Filipino U.S.

Citizen, corporal in the U.S. Army, discharged in 1945


Tony-Antonio

Bataller Fils friend and roommate, a retired Pullman porter, had been bedridden for two years due to an intriguing disease

SUMMARY
The story is about a Filipino U.S. citizen named Fil. He was a corporal during the war and since he got an American citizenship, he lived in America. Fil lived with Tony, a fellow Filipino who also became a U.S. citizen after the war. One day, Fil got so excited because he knew Filipino dancers from the Philippines were coming over to America to perform. He got so excited that he even practiced the way he would talk in front of them and the dialect he would use. He even cleaned his car, planning to be the young dancers tour guide in America. He had tidied his house and planned to cook adobo and other Filipino dishes that he was certain they are craving for. Tony, on the other hand, doesn't care much about these dancers. Only Fil feels excited about their arrival. Tony doesnt even want to participate with Fils plans.

SUMMARY
Fil drove to the hotel where the dancers were supposed to stay. While at the lobby of the hotel, he saw them. They were a group of young dancers. He felt the desire to approach them, invite them to his house and they would have a wonderful conversation. But he was so shy that he does not know how start. How he wished Tony was with him. He knew Tony could speak English more fluently than him and also Tony is better with dealing with other people than him. Finally, he approached a small group but they all neglected his offer saying that they had no time and would move away from him. They were always moving away. As if by common consent, they had decided to avoid him, ignore his presence. Realizing that they were not really interested of his humble offer, he sadly went away.

SUMMARY
Later that evening, he watched the dancers perform in the theatre. He recorded everything in his tape recorder this is where he kept all the significant sounds that he hears and whenever he was free, he would listen to the sounds recorded and it always felt like being in the place again. When he came home from the theatre, Tony was already asleep. He turned on the tape recorder and listened to the music and the pattering of feet during the dances. Meanwhile, Tony woke up and ordered him to turn off the recorder. He was in such pain that he was moaning. Meanwhile, in panic, Fil accidentally erased the recordings on the tape and there was nothing now but the dull creaking of the tape on the spool and meaningless sounds

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

Why does Fil cling to old memories of home through an evening with the dancers who came to Chicago?

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
Even though Fil was living in the U.S. for a long

time, he never forgot his Filipino identity and he couldnt avoid to think about the Philippines and his fellowmen. It is a common desire of longing for one's hometown among Filipino immigrants no matter how desperate it may seem (like Fil's desperation to be friends with the Pinoy dancers who would perform) and it also reflects the typical Filipino immigrant's value for his homeland.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

Why does Fil consider time and memory as villains?

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
When Fil was handling his magical sound mirror,

he accidentally pushed the erase button and he screamed. It symbolizes his waking up to reality even though he plays the recorded sounds to reminisce moments, present time would always be superior. Time, for Fil, flew by quickly and he didnt notice how the feelings of his memories towards his homeland had changed.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

How does the erased recording of the dancers performance present a metaphor for Fils feeling of exile and homesickness?

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
Fil was staying in the U.S. for a long time and when

the Filipino dancers came, he somehow felt that he had fellowmen with him that reminded him of home which had been long gone from his memories. The erased recording symbolizes that after the show, it had only dawned to Fil that he was still an exile and he felt stronger feelings of homesickness.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS After the encounter with the dancers from the Philippines and the erased recording, how would you describe Fils understanding of the migrants sense of loneliness, specifically as Santos ends his story: Biting his lips, Fil turned towards the window, startled by the first light of dawn. He hadnt realized till then the long night was over.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
His understanding of loneliness can be described as

being stuck in time. Fils expectations of what would happen on the day that the dancers came became disappointments. His supposed alleviation from homesickness became a much more hurting loneliness when his invitation was ignored by the young Filipino people. In the end, Fils being startled in the first light of dawn can be viewed as a reminder of his lonely state. However, it can be inferred from the last sentence that Fil is not ready to let go of the memories he holds.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
How does Bienvenido Santos picture the feeling of alienation by the first generation of immigrants to America? How does it parallel or present a different picture when compared to the experience of contemporary Filipino migrants in America and anywhere in the world today?

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
Aging and alone after a lifetime squandered trying to make

it in a foreign country, deprived of the social networks, transportation and communication technology, and cultural tolerance that make working abroad easier today, migrants like Fil have found themselves wandering between two homes-one unwelcoming and persistently unfamiliar, and the other forever barred to them by time. The feeling of alienation can be triggered by these two places they consider as their homes. Nowadays, since there are a lot of Filipino migrants in every part of the world, homesickness is lessened because migrants today already see that they are not alone in their situation, unlike the first wave of Filipino migrant workers in the United States in the 20th century.