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nems1940.

“Revolt from
men
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f by
last
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rest! 6 Hymen”
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atlyrical by Angela
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1
About the Author
Angela Manalang Gloria’s Poems
(1940) is the first and only pre-war
anthology of poetry in English by a
Filipino woman. A collection of lyrical
pieces exploring a woman’s private
passions, it was predictably ignored at
the 1940 Commonwealth Literary
Contests, which prized social
significance and moral values.
Although re-issued as a student
anthology in 1950, Poems failed to
merit the attention of the dominant
Angela literary critics of the time, who
subscribed to the school of New
Manalang Criticism.
Gloria
Revolt From Hymen
O to be free at last, to sleep at last
As infants sleep within the womb of rest!

To stir and stirring find no blackness vast


With passion weighted down upon the
breast,

To turn the face this way and that and feel


No kisses festering on it like sores,

To be alone at last, broken the seal


That marks the flesh no better than a
whore's!
Meaning
• Hymen = society’s concept of femininity
• “O, to be free at last” = freedom from
society’s controlling grip and social
constructs
• “blackness vast / With passion weighted
down upon the breast“ = anxiety of
authorship
• Kisses = high regard for women’s purity
and passivity
Meaning
• Festering sores = things that women don’t
want for themselves
• “Turn (her) face to this way and that =
asserting herself without worries
• Whore = active, aggressive, subversive
• “broken the seal / That marks the flesh no
better than a whore's” = severing the chains
that bind the feminine role to the female
body
Censorship
• This poem was considered “immoral” in 1940.
Censors had forced Gloria to change the last word
of the poem from “whore’s” to “bore’s” if she
wished it to be included in Philippine textbooks. It
speaks of a longing to “be alone at last”, “to be
free” from the bondage of an uneven relationship.
This can be interpreted in its political context
where America as the male partner remains “a
stark omnipotence”, and also in its social
dimension that abhors the double standard of
morality that favors male chauvinism.
Sources
• https://projectbackspace.blogspot.com/2007/03/poetr
y-critique-revolt-from-hymen.html
• http://rizal.lib.admu.edu.ph/aliww/english_amgloria.ht
ml
• https://whirlsofambiguity.blogspot.com/2004/11/revolt
-from-hymen.html