Friday, December 17, 2004

Students of English 11 TFR1

While I'm at it, I may as well create a separate window for students of English 11 TFR1. They could post their paragraphs on the short story here by clicking on "comments" below.

Hey, Merry Christmas, all! I'm having a fine time in front of my desktop computer! What about you?

43 comments:

ces'cil'ya said...

Cecilia L. Naca
200430628
TFR1


What I've learned about all the short stories

Through the discussions about all the short stories, I learned that you must be very analytical so you can fully understand the real message that the author is trying to convey. Sometimes, you have to look for the elements that where hidden somewhere in the short story. I also learned that there are kinds of short stories that do not follow the prescribed flow of traditional short stories. Some of the elements might be missing or found in places where they should not belong. However, this does not mean that these stories are not as good as the traditional ones. This only makes it more interesting to read.


write a critique of the ff:

a. what is a short story?

A short story is a short work of writing that is based on the imagination of the author. A short story is considered remarkable if it has a strong theme, a fascinating plot, a fitting structure, unforgettable characters, a well-chosen setting, and an appealing style. The main elements of a short story are the characters, the setting, plot conflict and resolution. There are rules in making a short story that were established by the ones in authority. However those who break the rules were often considered as the best authors.

b. what is the role of the plot,narration, character,setting, symbolism, theme in a story?

When these are rightly combined, it has a great possibility that it is a good short story.
The plot gives the readers the idea about the conflict that the characters go through in the story - like in the heat of darkness. Here the plot revealed that for Marlow, there is something good in their presence in the “dark continent” while for the antagonist, European’s imperialism in Africa brings nothing but evil things. The climax is when Marlow lost his idealism and hope after seeing his fellow European’s greed and brutality in Inner Station. The resolution is a tragedy when Marlow realized that imperialism in Africa is only filled with inhumanity.
Narration is very common in presenting the setting of a short story. The setting is the place and time when the story happened. The person narrating it may be the main character or an observer. In Heart of Darkness, the narration of setting tells the story of the sailing yawl on the Thames River.
The story happens around a character or characters. In the ending, they may win or lose. In the said story, the main character loss because his hope that there is something good in the imperialism in Africa was destroyed in the ending.
Theme is something learned in a short story. It is not told directly in the short story but grows out of it. The theme in The Heart of Darkness is that man accepts the inhumanity to his fellow man just to hide the reality and retain the good ideals of something.

c. what is universality?

For me universality is the standard established by the people in authority. This people are those who are “good” in doing things so no one can tell that these standards are wrong unless they prove themselves as good as the authority. These standards are rules but it doesn’t necessarily mean that those who “break” from the rules are bad. In contrast, those who break the rules are most often considered as the best.
These standards are set in order to maintain equality. However, sometimes they tend to generalize people thus becoming very judgmental. I think, those who are in authority tend not to notice that they became bias in setting these standards. I cannot say that I’m as good as them but I can see the inequality existing in this so-called universality.

erika A. said...
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erika A. said...

Erika Avergonzado
Eng 11 TFR1

what i've learned about short story? even if short story is literally "short", and requires great critical analysis, it gives lessons and values that in one-sitting, reading it will change your life! it is perfect, the theme,plot, setting, and even the characters are well written because short stories itself ought to be perfect.

camille said...

<--the lesson I've learned from the Heart of Darkness-->
Heart of Darkness is a literary masterpiece. Though it deals with a very controversial topic, its appeal to me is simple, having a good heart can break all barriers, may it be in color or religion. In the story, Mr. Kurtz was envied by his own men, the Europeans, but he was dearly loved by the people in Africa. Why? it was simply because he had a good heart. He treated men equally regardless of their color or money. Yes, he was seen as a very selfish man who would do anything just to have the best ivory in town, but his people respected him because he, himself respected the people around him. When he died, many people mourned for the loss of a man who respected them. Marlow at first was just fascinated by the man's appeal to the natives. He was not even amazed at the man, he was just wondering how he got the heart of the people. But at the end his respect to the man was seen. It was a story about racial discrimination but for me the story is about seeing the goodness of man in times of starvation and despair. Man is evil but surely there's one good heart around.

camille said...

<--lessons I've learned from reading short stories-->
Throughout the discussion of short stories, I've learned to think not that literally and to anlyze things more. Honestly, I think very literally but the course on short stories change this way of thinking. I've learned that under the simple story line and very vague conversation of characters is a lesson, a lesson made by the author to change the way people think. Short stories are not just made just for the heck of writing something but it was made because the writer feel that there's a need for change. A change that the only way they know it would be known is by writing a literary work. You should look past the plot, characters and setting to see the real message of the short story. A message hidden under flurry of words and artistic descriptions of the story.

LyFsAvEr said...

Maria Eriqa Perez
2004-02045

I've always thought that all short stories are easy to understand. That they are very simple that even children could understand them. But then after all the discussions in English 11 i proved myself wrong. i learned to look beyond the words, the characters, and even the conflict to fully understand a short story. One short story discussed in class that i really can't digest is the story "On the other side of life and death". I've only realized its meaning when it was discussed in class. So all in all, what i've learned bout short story is that it takes keen observation and good analysis to really get the meaning and purpose of a short story!

ivan ^_^x said...

Short stories bring so much human experience that so many readers could reflect to. From the stories I’ve read, I learned that people will be coming to a point where they have to deal with “hard to decide” decisions; and they had little choice of means, whether good or evil. At some point or another, people wouldn’t be able to avoid committing sins. And because of that, many sinners emerge. But I think it is better that way than making very stupid decisions that really puts your life to misery. I have also learned that every story shows varied cultural values because different authors came from varied cultures. Each author gives his own point of view of what he wanted the readers to comprehend.

karolC said...
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karolC said...

Karolyn T. Contreras
200456494
English 11-TFR1

What I've learned about short stories generally is, well,aside from being short (although some are not that short), each has a lesson or a certain detail that adds up to our knowledge, thus, expanding it. For example,some of the short stories of japanese writers tells us something about their history perhaps,or culture. Also, I've learned some short stories are easy to understand, you get the main thought of it immediately. But then, some short stories require a lot of analyzing. There are times when symbolism is used, and times when you just have to look deeper into the story. Just like the short story "Heart of Darkness", it was complicated. I had to analyze it and give it a lot of thinking. For me,what "heart of darkness" was referring to was perhaps the setting,which was a certain part of Africa, but it could also be referring to the darkness within each person. I believe each of us has our own dark side. But then, we shouldn't let that dark side of ours get a hold on us. It could ruin us. We can't have everything.

jayP g. :) said...

Heart of Darkness, for me, a short story because it is as long as a novel. so i think, it is a long short story. :)but this particular one tells a lot of lessons about the life in Africa and the oppression that they have suffered undet the European colonizers. It is a bit ironic that the whites(europeans) and blacks(africans) that we are tackling in the story are colors that symbolizes good and evil, respectively. and in the story, the whites are the ones that treat the africans like machines because they're judgment is blinded with greed for ivory. it appears that the ones who live in the jungles are better than those who are "civilized". marlo himself likes the cannibals better than the pilgrims because they were able to stop their need for food while on the other hand the pilgrims were continuously complaining.

krima olive said...

seriously, the first time we had a class discussion about the first short story, i had some sort of a shock. yep, it was a totally shocking discovery for me that all short stories actually have very serious and deep implications despite their seemingly trivial storyline. i learned that when reading a short story, one has to analyze deeper into the plot, the conflict, the characters, and the whole setting itself in order to fully understand what the author is trying to convey to his/her readers and to the society that he is living in. under each thing, act, or situation in a short story lies a hidden symbolism that, when critically studied, can actually be enlightening, or controversial. it is also significant to look at the background of the author and the kind of society that he/she lived in the time that he/she wrote the story. another thing is to be careful about analyzing the plot. it was also here in eng11 that i discovered another shocking(i seem to be quite fond of using this word *grin*) fact: most short stories actually have more than one plot. so just when you thought that you're a really great short story analyzer, having found out the social implication of the plot and all, you are suddenly hit by the reality that another hidden plot actually contains the most important message in the story. a reader really has to be imaginative and open-minded for him/her to fully appreciate a short story. happy new year to each and everyone! =)

mda said...

I'm very happy with your comments so far. So go ahead, post some more, and learn from each other!

We'll discuss "Heart of Darkness" soon as all papers on it are in. In the meantime go ahead and read the other short stories--they're most interesting. Some--or at least one--will overturn your traditional ideas of what a short story is!

Cloud_Strife said...

From what we have discussed about the short story in our class at english 11, I realized that it is not just a story that you finish reading in one sitting and then get a lesson or value from it. I didn't know that a short story can be that serious or imply a very deep meaning to readers. It can convey various emotions to readers, be it sadness, grief, anger, happiness and many others. One of the things I learned is that through a short story, one can see the culture of other nations. From the short story, we can see various experiences that can happen in real life or it can also be fictional. What I like about the short story is that after reading it, you will get a lesson or value or a realization that can be applied in real life. It can also take us to places that only our imagination can think of. It can also help us understand the way of life of various people and the many happenings that goes on in our world

Richmon Pancho said...

We should never judge something as good or evil. For all we know, it might turn out that we are the ones who are looking at it the wrong way. We should never assume things in this world. We must respect the right of others to believe in things other than ours. We must never discriminate others if they appear to be different other that ourselves. We must remember that looks are deceiving. What may look civilized may be a savage being just waiting for the right time to move. We must be open-minded and never see things only our way. We should be more understanding to those who see as uncivilized. Even if they appear as uncivilized to us, they have what we will never ever attain, the innocence and naiveté from the complex and jaded environment we have drowned ourselves in.

chris V. said...

i had no idea what a short story really is when it was first asked. not that i have not read any before but i thought that i knew what it was. we already had many discussions about short stories in class. i know know that a short story should have a plot, theme, characters and conflict. all of these are present in the heart of darkness so i think it fits the descriptions of a short story. i think i need more knowledge about the true and formal definition of a short story before saying that one is a short story. but based on what we have already learned in class, the heart of darkness would count as a short story based on the "traditional" requirements of one.

claud_poon said...

What I've learned about the short story is that it isn't so much about excluding works from the classification, but including them. So far, I've read things that I (armed with the usual definitions given back in high school) I would not have considered short stories before, but things that I am now more open-minded about. As a genre, short stories are more flexible. I think the whole idea is that short stories aren't about following formats. They're about artfully telling a story in a way that employs economy and a certain level of depth. There's also the matter of appreciating short stories. I've learned that it's less a checklist of features and more a true analysis that I previously reserved for novels and poems. It makes a lot of sense though: it doesn't take the length of a novel to realize something profound about the world, and it doesn't take abstractness of a poem to understand human feeling. All it takes is a short story.

Richmon Pancho said...

Richmon M. Pancho
2004-18696
December 31, 2004
TFR-1
Miss Mila D. Aguilar

Into the Depths of the Heart of Darkness

I don’t know why on earth people would claim the short story “Heart of Darkness” as a bona-fide classic. The short story is all about the unacceptability of being uncivilized through the eyes of a prejudicial English man. It also is about the destruction of a once serene, peaceful and tranquil environment just to satisfy the insatiable greed of white men for ivory. It encompasses the notion of enslaving human beings, especially if they are of darker colored skins, and treating these human beings lower than animals as both the “right” and the most appropriate thing to do to these “niggers”. White people once believed that if people don’t look like them, they should not treat those people like the rest of them, even if those people are human beings like them. It’s kind of ironic, really. If they think that they are so civilized, so smart and so advanced, shouldn’t they be the ones who would be more understanding about the issue? Funny, white people believe in such things as liberty, equality and justice and what do they do when they settle on foreign soil? They enslave the natives and exploit the resources without even thinking twice.
To be frank, I hated Conrad for using several highfaluting words and for using a myriad of ambiguous adjectives that made my reading of the story quite confusing and cumbersome. Why can’t he just be direct to the point? I don’t even know if “Heart of Darkness” is a story. I think it would be more appropriate to classify it as a monologue. Yes, that’s it. It should be classified as a very perplexing monologue and not a classic short story. Why on earth would Conrad want to bore his readers to death with very difficult words? A true classic is not made up of difficult words and a seemingly endless array of symbolism; it should be made up a very good plot, character and narration, which the reader could associate with easily. To make things worse, the plot doesn’t seem to work either. It is mostly anti-climactic and a bit tricky to follow. At times, the story would seem pick up a considerably good pace then suddenly it would seem to dramatically slow down to a complete halt. Even the emotion that should have been accumulating for the climax will be totally gone once the story would pick up pace again.
I am baffled why Conrad must use another character to narrate the story. Why didn’t he narrate the story himself? Is it because he didn’t want to appear as a racist? That might be the reason but the real reason will never be known. But if you ask me, I think he used Marlow to narrate so as to intensify the feeling of guilt, anguish and discrimination in the story. Conrad might be conceived as a fine English man to the unfamiliar reader but he was really a Polish-immigrant to the British Isle. I believe that if he were to narrate instead of Marlow, the whole idea of the story being an impressionistic view of a concerned English man on the cruelties of England to Africa would be lost. We must remember that Conrad was a sailor and it would certainly not work if a sailor were to narrate all these things. A sailor will always cherish the feeling of stepping on to newfound land. If people are to be compelled then they must hear it from the one who actually experienced the whole incident.
Conrad was clever enough to make characters that have their respective alter egos in the story. Marlow’s “dual” is none other than Mr. Kurtz. Marlow is this refined, civilized man whose only dream is to discover what lies on the uncharted regions of Africa while Mr. Kurtz is this wild, domineering man whose only pleasure is to get ivory and be idolized as a god by the natives. Marlow is disgusted by the fact that Mr. Kurtz is willing to resort to barbaric ways just to be bowed down to. We can see that Mr. Kurtz is what Marlow fears to become. Marlow dreads to be as savage, as futile, as crazed as what Mr. Kurtz had become. Again, it is ironic that Mr. Kurtz degraded himself to a mere shadow of his former glory. Mr. Kurtz was apparently a genius – a gifted musician, talented painter and very eloquent speaker. And yet, he becomes this power hungry fiend whose only wish is to be obeyed and to have ivory by the truckloads. We must also note the transition of Marlow from this man filled with hope, aspiration and naiveté to this somewhat bleak, shattered, hopeless life form who had been jaded by the harsh reality of life in Africa. Another evidence of “dualism” in the story is between the woman in the river and Kurtz’s Intended. The woman in the river (who I think is Kurtz’s mistress) exudes fortitude, power and vigor whilst Kurtz’s Intended (who I think is Kurtz’s wife) radiates weakness, limpness and animosity.
The setting played an indubitably important role in establishing the tone need by the story. The river where the story takes place vividly captures the mood needed: primordial earth – before civilization dawned the world of its powerful grip. With vibrant descriptions, Conrad seems to evoke a strange feeling of actually being there in person as one reads the story.
The story symbolizes the incestuous deeds done to a daughter by her father who swore to protect and care for her. We must remember that England swore to protect and help Africa. But instead, they exploit the land, enslave the natives and made a mockery out of the word “justice”. In the ending, Marlow lied to Kurtz’s Intended. He said that it was her name that Kurtz said before he died. The truth is Kurtz said “The horror, the horror!” when he was about to die. I think Marlow realized that it wasn’t realized that it isn’t “horror” that Kurtz was trying to say but “whore” Which would pertain to Kurtz’s Intended. Why would Marlow even think of this beautiful woman as a whore and not the woman in the river? It is because I believe Marlow sees the weakness of this woman that is evidently none of what the woman in the river has. Prostitutes are weak, futile beings for they couldn’t bear the physical strains of decent work. Instead they resolve into selling their bodies.
Good and evil are universally represented by white and black respectively. In “Heart of Darkness”, Conrad tries to reverse these notions by showing the cruelties of the whites to the blacks. Conrad desperately wants to convey that the whites are vile beings whose only joy is to cause pain and suffering to the blacks. But at the same time, Conrad shows the “savagery” of primeval life and identifies it as evil and conveys civilization as good. He makes certain that perceptions make the difference in determining what is good and what is evil. What is universal therefore is good and evil presiding in man but the insight of good and evil will always be seen in different ways through the contrasting eyes of the peoples of the world. What is good to some may be evil to others and what is evil to others may be good to some.

Francis Josef Goingo said...

Well, short stories are not necessarily short. Heart of Darkness is a short story, but it took me a day to finish it! The Heart of darkness, for me, shows what a short story is, although i must mention that it is not the only model of a short story, as what we have pointed out in many of our discussions in class. I mean i do accept that short stories are very varied. These can take many different forms but still be considered as short stories. Anyway, as i was saying, the Heart of Darkness represents one style of making a short story, and that it was written very well. It wouldnt become a classic if it were written badly. What makes this short story interesting is the fact that it actually discusses real issues in our society. It's theme is of interest to everyone. To come and think of it, it was written with political color. on the one hand, it was actually an attack on the white, attack on racial discrimintion-

"...it was paddled by black fellows. you could see from afar the white of their eyballs glistening. They shouted, sang; their bodies streamed with perspiration; they had faces; they had faces like grotesque masks--these chaps; but they had bone, muscle, a wild vitality, an intense energy of movement, that was as natural and as true as the surf along the coast.

This seems to be telling me that these colored people are humans, and that there really is nothing that differentiates them from the whites except color. Joseph also emphasized his point by saying-

"They[the black natives] were dying slowly--it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom..."

Then Mr. Conrad further writes...

"... I met a white man, in such an unexpected elegance of getup that in the first moment i took him fo a sort of vision. I saw a high starched collar, white cuffs, a light alpaca jacket, snowy trousers, a clear necktie, and varnished boots..."

This arouses sympathy for the blacks, and shows the white in a not so good light. For me, this is a way that Joseph Conrad attacks racial discrimintation.

Conrad also showed man's or more specifically, Europe's greed. "... the word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it."

that conrad actually wrote the Heart of Darkness to show these things, shows how a short story, if effectively written, can become a powerful instrument for different causes, and in this case, to expose man's greed and prejudices.

The plot, narration, character, symbol and the theme in the story all contributes to the efectivenes of the short story. In the case of Heart of Darkness, definitely the symbol heart of darkness alluded to the Inner Station, but more so, it alluded to man's "evilness" expressed in man's corruption. The plot gives structure to the story, and the characters are the story. The theme is very importans because it is actually the Case and point of a story. this can dictate whether a story can become a classic or not. most often, the Literary classics that we have now are considered classics precisely because their theme is of a universal one. These short stories have an appeal to many generations. In the case of Heart of Darkness, it's theme is man's evil desire, and that alone is already universal.

This short story ended negatively, but i take it not as pessimism, but a warning to all of us that we should always be careful and we should always be disciplined and sensitive to our surroundings, because it is really easy to be tempted by things that can make us do bad, if not horrible things.

Francis Josef Goingo said...

A short story is not merely made for entertainment. More often than not, it is the mirror of our society. It shows who we are as a people, and it showcases our culture as well. In many other instances the literary writers exploit its potential power by using it to forward their opinions on many issues in our society, be it in the political, social or economic front of our society. There is no definite basis for us to consider whether a sotry is a short stort or not, it's more of a collective agreement among the readers, because ultimately the readers are the judges of these short stories. I guess on the lighter side, now i am sure that a short story doesn't necessarily ahve to be short. I mean many of the best short stories that we have now are like longer than the Romance novels that are commonly sold in bookshops.(",)

jemimah said...

reading a short story is like a fling- short, fast no commitments. but then agian i ound myself coming back to these stories, because some of them really immerse my thoughts and feelings. moreover i learn from them , thus "commiting" again. the stories that we read were set in different backdrops, but then agian they always have the most universal theme for me, which is that we always have a choice. there are stories which are not meant only for entertainment, they educate and make us encounter different instances some of which we wish were a part of and some of which we never want to happen. technically i learned that there are stories that does not only require understanding but also analysis. there are internal structures and symbolism that you have to go through in order to "experience" the real story.

Betchai said...
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Betchai said...

I always thought that short stories were short stories -- stories that are short. That short stories were easy to understand stories, and almost like kiddy stories. That sort of bedtime story kind of story. With what we've been discussing in class, it seems that I've been having this literal conception of a short story as a short story.

I learned, so far, that a short story isn't necessarily short, and it isn't necessarily easy to understand. That it isn't always bedtime-story material. I learned that short stories can also make a sane person go mad, or a perfectly active person go insanely boring.

This just shows a classic example of not taking things at face value :D Short stories can be not-so-short stories too and that short stories can be short not-so-much-like-a-story story

suzette! said...

“Heart of Darkness” reminds me to suppress the evil within me. I yearn for power and wealth like the other characters in the story, but the difference is that I so painstakingly try to win them in a righteous way. “Fight the evil within!”- a battle cry that fits each one of us, though it sounds like a battle cry for some creepy creature that turns monstrous beneath the full moon!

-=micha=- said...

Reading the short stories that we have for our literature class, I have learned to develop my level of maturity. I have learned that not all short stories are about history and fantasy. Most of them actually tackle social issues and utmost realities that are conveyed in different cultural approaches of different societies. Each story is unique as each is beautiful and autonomous on its own. Each has its own internal structure that does not have to follow any norm or tradition. Short stories are expressions of one’s creativity and style that is unique for every author. Even the simplest of the short stories is grandly amusing because it presents whole new ideas from a different perspective. You discover that there are different ways to see an incident and that there are different ways of resolving it. These short stories, little did I know, are becoming more beautiful when made complex because of the interweaving plots and varying symbolisms it contains. Of course, it is beautiful because of the ingenious skill of the author to blend the events and express a different message altogether. However, what makes it more beautiful is that it makes me think a lot that I do not know whether I am viewing the story the right way, if there is such a thing as a ‘right way’. Although I have read a number of stories made by only one author, I still cannot fully analyze the personal thoughts of the author which are being revealed in the story. I have to admit that the most difficult part about literature is trying to analyze the events and the characters. It is the point when I have to set aside my own emotions and try to think beyond the literal meaning of the story until I discover their implied significance. However, when I am reading them leisurely, I love them because I feel the emotions come alive in my nerves.

Reading short stories has also made me appreciate literature as a vehicle through which I can travel to different places, shift to different times and sympathize with different people, both real and fictional characters. Stories from different cultures have increased my inquisitiveness and interest in their own cultural heritage and history. This is because I realize from the conflict that we, though different in culture may come across similar problems and the most interesting is that we have different approaches that are guided by our own traditions and beliefs. I have indeed learned to appreciate the uniqueness and special relevance of cultures to one another. Each cultural society is different yet they are connected to one another that one race can influence the social patterns of another.

- Michelle Arias

koods said...

Katherine Anne Ericta Ongchangco
Ms Mila Aguilar
2003-11109 ENG 10/ TFR

A CRITIQUE ON JOSEPH CONRAD’S “HEART OF DARKNESS”

What I learned about the SHORT STORY

Since high school Iv’e been wondering why stories classifed under as short stories are call short stories. Some stories are not really short. But relative to novels, they are short indeed. Based on what we’ve tackled in class, a short story is a literary composition which could have a historical, cultural or social bearing of a group of people. It consists of characters, symbols, a plot, setting, conflict, theme, point of view and style. The characters are the doers of the action, whether dramatic, comical, satirical, or just plain fictional. The symbols and themes are interpretations of the plot with respect to the setting of the story and to any association with social conditions when the story was written. When reading short stories, it’s sometimes good if you relieve yourself of any bias against the culture. Try to imagine that you have assumed the identity of their culture. I’ve enjoyed reading more short stories that way. But that’s just my opinion.

UNIVERSALITY

Universality is how a certain truth encompasses or unites people. It is seen in short stories through the themes and symbolisms. As for the implications of the short story, it could illicit different responses from different nations or cultures. What is true to one country may be a little distorted, or totally not applicable to another country. For example, how underdeveloped or developing countries define poverty and oppression may differ from how developed countries perceive them. So how does universality fit in the picture? Universality comes in just as long as the theme is defined and prevailing in the country’s social setup. Even if Filipinos did not have the power and abilities to become colonizers, some Filipinos still bear the fault of exploiting ethnic minorities for personal gains such as natural resources, territorial expansion, and more money. Universality is not exact nor strict. It has margins for diversity and particularity.

CHARACTERS

Characters are literary figures who give life to the plot with their dialogues, actions and thoughts. Through either their flat or dynamic nature, they are used to compare and contrast the prevailing concepts with respect to the socio-cultural and religious background of the text. One character may symbolize realism as in the case of Marlow and this so-called image of Marlow is further emphasized by his aunt or the wife of the high dignitary (women, in general). Another example of compare and contrast is how Marlow personifies a voice of reason, goodwill, and light while Kurtz personifies evil, darkness and destruction (it even gets to the point where Kurtz is having the natives worshiping him as a God). It is also up to the characters to define the conflict and find ways on how to resolve it.

Characters are actually icons of the themes present in the story and can serve as symbols as wells. Take for example Marlow. Marlow is more than a seaman who ventured into a business of steamboats to pursue his dreams of adventure. He is more than a jaded white man who likes to question the redeeming facts of life. Marlow is a testimony to the diabolical nature of man. “I’ve seen the devil of violence, the devil of greed, the devil of hot desires” (Conrad, p9, Chp 1). Marlow attests that the “universal” theme that men are evil can be seen by those who are not immune or apathetic to the world. Being used to a vengeful atmosphere of life, he attests that he could see between real (e.g. a desire to get appointed to a trading post where ivory is abundant to earn percentages) and unreal (e.g. the philanthropic pretense of the whole concern, seen in the agents’ talk, government and show of work). “When you attend to… the mere incidents of the surface, the reality… fades. The inner truth is hidden – luckily” (Conrad, p2, Chp 2). Marlow also tells a story about Freslven – the “gentlest” creature that ever walked on two legs who hammered and nearly killed to death the village chief just because of a bad bargain. All accounts shared by Marlow to his shipmates pertain to the deep recesses of the human mind which are kindled by dark flames of power. As he recalled how the manager and other trading agents like his uncle were envious of Kurtz’ position, the theme of how men beguile time by backbiting and intriguing against each other in a foolish kind of way is introduced. The manager and his uncle felt the urgent need to kill unfair competition. Hang Kurtz.

Kurtz is another important character and symbol in the ‘Heart of Darkness’. The chief of the Inner station, he was assigned to write reports for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs. He was sent as an emissary of progress, science and pity. As Kurtz raided the country for ivory, he got the tribes to follow him and still continued with his ivory hunt. His eloquence has reached even the natives of the land as he decided not to return to his home country. He was afraid that the Company would steal what he has collected at the risk of losing his life. Kurtz was a man of justice, a universal genius, an extremist. His profound philosophies have enlarged the minds of people. Take for example what he wrote in his reports – “we whites, from the point of development, have arrived at, `must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of supernatural beings--we approach them with the might as of a deity… By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded.” The concept of white man’s destiny, where the whites are burdened with the task of educating the uncivilized is highlighted with such account.

Aside from being a reality check on the racist approach on multiculturalism, Kurtz also symbolizes a way of solitude in the siege of adversities. Kurtz said that one must fall back upon one’s own innate strength, upon one’s own capacity for faithfulness. Such isolation, however, does not allow time for regeneration or recuperation as Kurtz was swallowed into death’s darkness. His mind was eventually plagued by shadowy images of wealth and fame as he kept on prattling “My Intended, my station, my career, my ideas…” Also, it was also speculated that he chose the wilderness over civilization because of the unsuccessful love affair with an elite. He got the impression that he was too much of a pauper for the lady. Imagine the growing regrets, the longing to return, the powerless disgust, the surrender and the hate that Kurtz must have felt when he left what was so dear to him. Kurtz even ordered the natives to attack Marlow’s steamboat so that no one could “retrieve” him and his highly-valued ideas. He had this notion that the Company would abuse his finds and gained knowledge.

When Marlow was visited with regard to Kurtz’ death, three personalities of Kurtz was divulged. With the first visitor, the officer asked for the documents about the territory and the suppression of savage customs. This facet of Kurtz death is directed for those who had become pawns to higher political powers, who had been reduced to a casualty for the greater glory of the mother country. He was not even given a hero’s recognition as his efforts were marred by those who envied his achievements. The second visit pays tribute to patrons of the arts (painting, journalism and music). This represents the humane side of Kurtz. The last visit from Kurtz’ co-journalist praised his political savvy and leadership skills. These three visits acted as small reminders of how the dynamic configurations of the characters in the short story emphasize the theme and other ideas.

What Marlow wants in the end is to belong in a world of straightforward facts, as he seeks Kurtz. He sought the voice which could guide him in the engulfing gloom. Found during his journey towards Kurtz, the book entitled ‘An Inquiry on Some Points on Seamanship’ was Marlow’s first taste of Kurtz’ beliefs as it belonged to Kurtz. Conveying an honest concern for the right way of going to work, it made Marlow forget about the jungle and the pilgrim. This foreshadows that Marlow may find a sense of salvation and comfort in Kurtz. Marlow perceived Kurtz as a dream. Having this notion that the very essence of dreams is being captured by the incredible, Marlow remained to dream the nightmare to the end to show loyalty to Kurtz.

The be-patch Russian youth symbolizes all youth. He epitomizeds the absolutely pure, uncalculating, unpractical spirit of adventure. He is the complete anti-thesis of the unfortunate state of Kurtz. Conrad may be addressing us and future generations in not wasting our youth in idlness or mundane matters; the youth must see things, gather experience, ideas and enlarge the mind. That is the whole point of the journeying.

The women in the story reflect women in a larger social scale. Marlow criticized that women are not in touch with reality, that men are tasked with helping women stay in their own beautiful world. Such is reflected in Marlow’s aunt, the wife of the dignitary, the fiancé’s portrait, the painting of the woman (which I think is Kurtz’ fiancé) and the two ladies who ushered Marlow during his appointment. Women were portrayed as accessories of the rich and dignified men or the playthings of hedonistic men.

Characters, in addition to being used as symbols, are also used for effects such as drama, comedy, allusion, satires and irony. In the case of irony, take Marlow as an example. He is a gangster of virtue who hates to lie – “there is a taint of death, a flavor of mortality in lies.” But when asked by Kurtz’ fiancé of what were Kurtz’ last words, he lied that it was the fiancé’s name. The manager, who had no genius for initiative, for organizing, no learning and no intelligence, could be an allusion to the Mona Lisa. I’m not saying that Mona Lisa was not a substantial lady. I associated Mona Lisa with him because of how his smile was an enigma.

SETTING

The time and place of action, the setting enforces the mood of the short story and accentuates what the characters portray. “The very end of the world, a sea the color of lead, a sky the color of smoke, cold, fog, tempests, disease, exile death – death skulking in the air, in the water…” – these are the words used by Marlow to initiate the gloomy and sinister atmosphere of the story. Marlow also gave importance to the symbolism of the coasts, which was bordered by a dangerous surf (it seems that Nature itself is warding off any intruder). The coast with its chilling stillness symbolizes the uniform somberness that dulls the truth of things, within the text of a mournful and senseless delusion. It has this air of mystery as it seems to whisper “Come and find out” and illicit either fear or adventure.

The Company’s stations also serve as purpose in the story. Being classified into the Outer, Central and Inner stations, the stations are where cottons, beads and brass wire and ivory are manufactured and stored. Marlow expressed that such productivity should “infect” the unindustrialized (a euphemism for uncivilized) areas in the land. Hence, the station should be a beacon on the road towards better things. Being not limited to operating as a center of trade, the station should also be a center for “humanizing, improving and instructing” (Conrad, p1). Kurtz’ station, which is the Inner station, has a more specific function in the story as it is the destination of Marlow. It epitomizes the seaman’s journey towards the heart of darkness. Allegedly collecting, bartering, swindling and stealing more ivory than all other agents, Kurtz exemplifies the fall of man with the advent of unrelenting greed and fraudulent opportunities. Assumed to have taken a high seat among the devils of the land, Kurtz had “the gift of expression, the bewildering, the illuminating, the most excited and the most contemptible, the pulsating stream of light or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness” (Conrad, p 12, Chp 2). This darkness is so hopeless, so dark that it is inscrutable to human thought and pitiless to human weakness. This darkness thrives also in the hearts of wild men, who live in the midst of the incomprehensible (which is also detestable) and explore in the fascination of the abomination.

In Marlow’s journey towards Kurtz, the silent wilderness creeps up to him with the greatness or invincibility of evil or truth. It hints the mystery, greatness and amazing reality of its concealed life. The stillness of life did not even resemble peace; it whispered the implacable force brooding over an unfathomable purpose. The passengers of the steamboat seemed to have traveled back to prehistoric earth where the “first of men take possession of an accursed inheritance, to be subdued at the cost of profound anguish and of excessive toil” (Conrad, p 3, Chp 2). The use of fog as a prelude to the darkness

The setting also hints about the social implications of the time the short story was written. It contributes to the historical context of the short story and could be used as a standard of how the times have changed in a certain culture or nation. The story is likely to have taken place during the Age of Exploration as the Eldorado Exploring Expedition was mentioned. A lot has been mentioned of how such expeditions become “the dreams of men, the seed of commonwealth, the germs of empires” (Conrad, p1, Chp1). These exploits have de-virginized lands of their secret pleasures as men have seize opportunities with brute force, rob with violence, aggravate murder on a great scale, usually going at it blind – as is very proper for those who tackle in darkness.

The imagery of how the whites have command over the blacks conveys racial discrimination. Kurtz was used as a reconciling attempt to correct the abuses and injustices done by the whites. But before Kurtz was introduced in the story, Marlow witnessed how the blacks were treated. First, they were chained together like criminals and sent off to do work. This could be paralleled to how the African Americans were employed at very mundane or trivial occupations. Once the black workers were rendered useless because of age or disease, they are thrown to a “concentration camp” where they are reduced to shadows of starvation and disease. Another imagery is the heads of rebels atop the poles. Such setting has become transported into some region of subtle horrors where pure, uncomplicated savagery was a routine. This could refer on how the blacks were violently abused so as to be controlled and used for personal gain. Lastly, the pilgrims were portrayed as cannibals. But this stereotype of lowliness is redeemed as Marlow said that it takes a man all his inborn strength to fight hunger properly. “It is really easier to face bereavement, dishonor and the perditions of one’s soul” than the kind of prolonged hunger the black crew members suffered. As a conclusion, white people have become forerunners of change, of conquest, of trade, of massacre and of blessing.

The setting is often found in the exposition (where the characters are introduced) of the plot and readily establishes time and place. Frequently it plays an important role in the conflict giving credence to the rising action as a climax or turning point is approached. It tempers the climactic or anti-climactic feel of the short story. This could be seen with the lifting of the fog as they road the steamboat and plunge into darkness.

PLOT & NARRATION

The plot is the sequence of events which are linked to build up suspense in reaching the resolution. The main character is presented with a situation which presents a problem or conflict which he must resolve. The largest part of the story will deal with the main character’s struggle to resolve this problem or conflict. The conflict can be internal (man vs himself) or external (man vs man; man vs nature). The point in the story in which the conflict is resolved is the high point or climax of the story.

A tragic tale of a seaman’s journey as a part of the white men’s conquest of the earth is only the surface of the short story. Joseph Conrad’s short story is not just a result of ruthless colonial exploitation, involuntary servitude, and direct violence of the African people. Underlying these tales is the journey in knowing oneself. Marlow believes that life is a mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose and the most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself – that comes too late – a crop of inextinguishable regrets. He also expressed that the only consolation he gets from work is getting the chance to find yourself, your own reality.

If the story were to be drawn, I would choose a spiral to represent the story. The journey of Marlow upriver in the Congo towards Kurtz’ station could be protrayed as a spiral going inward and upward as the events accumulate until it reaches the climax, which was when Kurtz’ phantom materialized as he was still alive. In Kurtz’ journey from a noble missionary to a brutal ivory-hoarder, the spiral is going inward and downward. His own evil deeds are bringing him to his own grave. But the spiral stops going downward and inward as he redeems himself when he realizes the “horror” of his monstrosities. The spiril, although still going downward, now moves outward as Kurtz’ eloquence, moral principles, influence and effectiveness create ripples through time and affect other people’s live.

THEME

Darkness is the main theme of Conrad’s short story, given the myriad of imageries he used. Let me name a few: the black wool being knitted by the two “guards to the door of Darkness”; the canopies of trees and jungle with a dark and eerie aura; the killing of the candle light with the death of Kurtz and more. This impenetrable darkness symbolizes the unkown and irreconcilable which beset human rationale and weaknesses. This darkness engulfs, corrupts and distorts any noble purpose and lets man forget any reservations or resistance ruled out by ethics or basic principles. Once given the power and authority, the darkness beckons the weakened heart to seek personal pleasure at the expense of others. See how colonization let natives suffer in the pretense of being developed and civilized.

Letting go of restraints was aslo theme present in the story. To illustrate, compare Kurtz and the cannibals who were hired as crewmembers of Marlow’s steamboat. Kurtz signified no restraints as he pursued whatever he wanted. He did not even hold the natives back in their assualt of the steamboat as he did not want to go home yet. But consider the cannibals who brought rotten hippo meet and slimy potato batter as the food. Marlow wondered if it were superstition, disgust, patience, fear, honor or pride which was refraining them from devouring the five white people. Imagine such a kind of fasting.

mda said...

I've received only 11 submissions on "Heart of Darkness" so far, so I won't comment on anyone's paper yet. I will leave Richmon and Katherine's paper on this blog, however, so you will be inspired to write as well as they have. I may even ask Claudia to post hers (still thinking about it).

When writing for this blog, please note that you need to place a line between your paragraphs and at least one space, if not two, between your sentences to make your entry readable. Also, reduce the length of your paragraphs. The template tends to dictate on your style, but no matter, it makes for good reading anyway.

So what about it, guys, do I get your papers before Tuesday, or do we have to agonize over other short stories before getting to "Heart of Darkness"?

micheleugene garcia said...

Michel Eugene Garcia
2004-04110

Short story as defined is a piece of literature that reflects a very susceptible concerns of a society in the era it was written- a mirror of life itself. It is said that it is composed of a plot (includes conflict, climax, and resolution), characters, theme, and a setting. Short stories require an extremely comprehensive analysis to be able to breakdown its components and to go deeper beyond the magnificence of each lines or symbolisms. It plays around with universality that integrates its theme with the other elements and this gives way to particularity.

It was fun reading the stories and later on discovering the deeper sense of its symbols and theme. I find it so complicated before to analyze stories since many of entities requires great thinking (figuring out its significance and reason of existence).It has opened my mind to think independently and critically. Cheers to more stories! Ü

stepanya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stepanya said...

I'm still confused on what a short story really is because back in high school, we didn't really discuss the exact definition of a short story. I didn't know that there are requirements to consider a piece of literature as a short story. It's already given that it's supposed to be short but then I still ask myself, 'how short is short?'. Take 'Heart of Darkness' for example, it's relatively longer than the ones we read in class but you can still say that it's a short story.

A traditional short story has a plot, characters, a conflict and a resolution. But other stories, say novels that are not considered short stories also have these attributes so how do you really say that something is a short story?

I think that what's interesting in the short stories that we have discussed is that there are so many things that you can say about it. They're short but if you look much deeper, you'll find it interesting that it's involved with history and sometimes the author's personal experience. We also learn new things from it and sometimes realize a lot about life and what comes with it.

Stephanie Catabui
2004-14235 Eng'g

claud_poon said...

The five selections we were supposed to analyze were A Little Incident, Dead Man's Path, A Long Day's Dying, Six Feet of the Country, and Araby.

On A Little Incident, the noticeable tool that was used was contrast. First the narrator establishes a difference between the events of the time as history and probably other people saw it, but he mentions that they were not nearly as important or memorable as the incident that he is about to recount. This immediately brings the reader into the frame of mind that something more than ordinary is about to happen. After the story of the rickshaw puller and the old woman is told, and he relates his strange feelings after, he still does not impose a mode of thinking onto the reader. Instead, he remains unpretentious. He does not assume to have all the answers as to why he gave the coppers, nor does he attempt to justify himself and his non-action. The reader is encouraged to draw his own conclusions and judge the two characters with only a shade of prejudice: even the narrator admits that the incident compels him to become a better person, presumably like the rickshaw puller.

Dead Man's Path showcases a conflict between a progressive man's way of thinking and the traditions of an entire tribe. The headmaster's pride becomes the primary culprit in the ensuing troubles. The headmaster becomes insensitive to the pleas of the old priest, and is inconsiderate of their culture and beliefs. This can be rooted to his pride because to forge a compromise would be to admit that his progressive thinking is imperfect. The headmaster's almost fanatical implementation of the letter of progress and his desire to impress his superiors resulted in the tribe's anger and his comeuppance, as the Supervisor blames his zeal for the troubles at the school.

A Long Day's Dying draws a parallelism between the New Mexican whites and the Navajos. While Little Sant seems to be more accepting of Rabbit Stockings' traditions, this accpetance only goes so far as to patronize it. While he is stuck in the quicksand, he challenges the spirits to save him, if they truly exist. This kind of challenge presents a double-standard: if he is not saved, then the spirits do not exist, and if he is saved, it is only because of coincidence. This was exactly his reaction at the end of the story. Big Sant reacts in much the same way during his talk with Rabbit Stockings. It does not matter what Rabbit Stockings says in defense of his culture, because in his own frame of mind, the white man's progress still reigns supreme. When he listens to Rabbit Stockings and follows him into the La Jara Arroyo, it is because he has nothing to lose by looking, and not because he believes.

Six Feet of the Country shows two different perspectives on the story, in the form of Lerice and the narrator. While Lerice apparently has in mind a sense of duty to the bereaved Petrus, the narrator really only has interests in the situation because in it, the white authorities have been inefficient. The narrator's actions to remedy the problem of the missing body stemmed from a need to assert the white man's superiority, and not from a genuine concern for Petrus. This is especially apparent in the scene where Lerice asks the narrator why he is doing all that he is to help, and he answers her by saying that it is a matter of principle. To him it is a matter of principle that the white authorities get things done right. The story, being set in South Africa, has a shade of apartheid in it. Even now, in the form of a working model of apartheid, Alicedale, some people react in much the same way that the narrator in the story reacts. They see nothing wrong with racial segregation, and this non-acknowledgement of the issue makes it all the more difficult to address, as it is in the story. Even Lerice could not outrightly tell her husband something was wrong in the way he was thinking, because he himself does not see anything wrong.

Araby is different from the other stories if only because it is not a comparison between two worlds as all the other four are. Araby is a simple account of a young man who falls in love with his friend's older sister. He promises her a gift from Araby, a bazaar, because she cannot go herself. He is anxious to go, and becomes angry when his uncle makes him wait until dark to go. But when he reaches the bazaar very late at night, he does not buy anything and leaves feeling disappointed and angry. The only notable thing that happened to serve as a turning point for him was his witness of the conversation between a young lady manning a stall and two young men. She speaks to him out of obligation, and soon goes away anyway. It might be that the young lady at the stall reminded him of his love, and the way she spoke with him, out of an obligation and not out of her own desire to, also reminded him of his friend's sister. In the end, when he sees himself as "a creature driven and derided by vanity" he refers to his disillusionment with his first love: he realizes that she had not been speaking to him because she has had feelings for him, or has had any intention of returning his love, but because she was obligated to, by virtue of his relationship with Mangan, her brother. This lesson becomes a general one, as the realization was not localized to the end of a one-sided romance, but extends to everything which he had romanticized before.

-Angelica Ann dela Cruz, Sheirine Bautista, Claudia Poon

krima olive said...

A Little Incident

THE NARRATOR

Examining closely the character exemplified by the narrator of the story, one can identify the tough individuality that he naturally exudes. As he nonchalantly recounts his past encounters of various “affairs of state,” he demonstrates his indifference to these events that struck him as inessential and annoying. Also, he describes how time in his point of view whizzed by when he said, “Six years have gone by, as so many winks…” This statement alone clearly expresses how uneventful the world surrounding the man is in his own point of view. He minds only himself and the things that concern him, to a point that nothing from the outside world could ever distract him. His attention is solely focused on himself, and any recollection of the affairs of state in his past, according to him, “increase my ill temper and cause me to like people less and less…” Thus, an unmoving and strong personality of the narrator is established. I think that this buildup of such a character is purposely done by the author to intensify the effect of the drastic change that will happen within him at the later part of his account. Lu Hsun’s depiction of the man is further emphasized when he (the narrator) got irritated at the puller’s getting too involved in the incident. The note of disinterest and lack of concern about the hurt old woman is unmistakable as he silently grumbles about the delay it might cause in his journey. His dark nature is magnified by his own words, “…let him find a way out of this mess.” His last statement only proves that he viewed the act of helping anyone in need as a mess that one should not be involved in.

As I have already presumed earlier, the author created a dark and negative image of the speaker in order to effectively depict to the readers how entirely contrasting the character of the man is before and after the incident. When he witnesses the puller surrendering to the police for accidentally hitting the old woman, the narrator suddenly feels very low of himself and his personality altogether. In his eyes, he is gradually reduced to a man without substance. For the first time, he feels very ashamed of himself, of his actions, and of the way he perceived other people. And that is why that little incident caused a profound change in him: it made him wake up from his egotistic and uncaring nature. He has everything any man aspires for---a good paying job, money, and education. Yet all these possessions are not so great do not look so splendid anymore if one has no heart, and that is one of the things that he realized. His very high regard of himself shrinks significantly the moment he sees someone who lacked wealth and worldly possessions actually submit himself to an even more depressing situation with the authorities as a consequence of his actions. He is so ashamed of himself that he said, “I was almost afraid to think about myself.” What happened to him was memory that would be forever etched in his being, for the incident stripped off the evil in him and, perhaps for the first time, actually made him see.





THE SETTING

The setting plays an impressive part in the creation of this work of art. At the time when the story took place, the society is busily handling socio-political issues that perhaps caused quite a fuss in their community. This setting is expertly enveloped by the author around the uncaring character of the narrator, successfully accentuating his personality in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the people around him. Another effective factor in the story is the actual journey of the narrator on an empty road without even a few people passing by. This is the perfect scene of how he views his life in general. In his outlook, only he exists---the others do not matter. That is why the road on which he was traveling is quiet. The road is the world in which he lives in. He just passes through the street, not even sensitive to the puller or to the old woman who is later hurt (he just goes on with his life pretending not to see the many people and events surrounding him, unmindful of his actions and principles).

THE OLD WOMAN AND THE PULLER

The way the old woman suddenly darted in the middle of the street is a representation of how, in our own lives, realization quickly comes unexpectedly. And most of the time, these realizations dawn on us at the expense of other people’s safety. Hard to admit, but we can’t deny that within each of us, we are struggling to surpass our own fears just to climb all the way to the top. But sadly, our present achievements and status in the society really gets into our heads to the point that we become numb to the world around us. This was what shaped the character of the narrator. And the old woman who was unintentionally hurt paved the way for his enlightenment. The humble action taken by the puller struck the narrator was what made him see the evil in him.

(next story to follow)

Anonymous said...

Francis Goingo
Camille Yalung
Richmon Pancho

Analysis of 5 Short Stories
Little Incident
In this story, the rich man felt so little when he realized that the rick shaw puller, who has so little, can help without hesitation, without even thinking twice while he, who has almost everything, chooses not to help. The story shows man's tendency to find the easier way out. The rich man paid, or rather chose to give money to the policeman, instead of fixing the incident up. The story shows what's happening to society now. The widening gap between the rich and the poor happens due to the fact that the rich couldn't identify themselves with the poor because they don't experience what the poor do.

Dead Man's Path
When people become so jaded that they turn away from their beliefs, they tend to see those traditions as ridiculuos superstitions and often purge not only themselves but also purge the people around them from those beliefs. What the story wants to convey is why can't modernism coincide with tradionalism. Do we have to purge ourselves from traditionalism to give way to modernism? The story stresses out that sometimes we need to intertwine the two to find order.

A Long Day's Dying
The theme of this story is somewhat similar to "Dead Man's Path". The idea of modernism being the superior and traditionalism being superficial and outrageous. In the story Big Sant reluctantly believes Rabbit Stockings' instincts to go find Little Sant in the La Arroyo because of the obsurdity he found in talking to a snake. Another issue in this story is the oppression of the imigrants(white people) against the natives(Navaho Indians). Here, we see how white people treat the indigenous peoples of their country.

Six Feet of the Country
Again we see the oppression of the immigrants (whites) against the natives (blacks) taking place in this story. This story shows that most people help because it's their responsibilty and not out of sympathy. It isn't the case that the narrator is acting out of compassion; he is just acting out of the fear of being seen as a cruel boss. Also, we see that white people or the immigrants of a country in genral see the culture of the natives (blacks) as a system of silly practices that further enhances their savagery.

Araby
Children don't know the notion of socio-economic classes; they see everyone on equal footing. But because of what they see in society, they gradually lose thier innocence. In the story, one will see puppy love as the dominant theme but if one will look closely, one should see that the effects of poverty to persons is the real dominanting theme. The lead character soon realizes that his quest to make his "loved one" happy is crushed into smitherines due to the fact of him not being able to afford the gift the girl wanted. In a larger sense, our group concluded that he will be like this all of his life, hopeless because of his poverty.

Comparison of the 5 Stories to Heart of Darkness
In H.o.D., we see the attack made by the author towards "cultural imperialism". In the same manner, the other stories also issued their owm attack on the said matter. In all of the stories, we see that white culture is seen as the superior culture therefore it must be propagated. Minor culture, on the other hand, are seen as inferior culture that when people follow it, they become savage.
In the 5 Stories, we see how their authors demoralize the acts of their characters. In short, these stories express how a culture sets norms within a society and how it control the values of the people. In H.o.D., cultural imperialism instigates that other cultures, particualrly white culture must be adopted to dispose of the natives' savagery. In short, it is "culture murder". The belief of having superior and inferior cultures are superimposed.

Why Araby was Written.
Araby was wrtten not to evoke the almost intoxicating feeling of puppy love but to express the notion of poverty affecting the lives of even young children. in the story, the narrator went into a quest to make his "beloved" happy. He then realizes that he is hopeless and therefore cannot make his loved one happy because his money was not enough to but what his "beloved" wished for. Our group speculated that even in his adulthood, the narrator will still be like this, hopelessly devoted to a cause he himself could never prevail. This is, of course, will be true if he stays poor.

erika avergonzado said...

here's our group analysis of the 5 short stories that were discussed:) my groupmates are:
Michel Eugene Garcia
Ivan Edward Francisco
Erika Avergonzado
Jan Nicolas Lacorte

A LITTLE INCIDENT
Motionless, stunned, and thoughtless: these werw the words the narrator used to describe his feelings as he witnessed what had happened. it was a moment of liberation and realization that led to a change of heart-a leap of soul. posting a huge impact on narrator's ideals, the incident was an unconscious account-a turning point for him to open his eyes on what is really happening. it made way for "them" rather than "i" in the speaker's perspective. we may add that the world doesn't only revolve around the speaker but also to people around him. in one incident, "others" existed in his vocabulary. the first and last paragraph summarized the incident. these made a bold statement of contrast on how the speaker was before and after the little incident.

DEAD MAN'S PATH
The old tradition cannot be separated from the modernization
Michael Obi is just a newcomer so he doesn’t have the right to abolish the path since he doesn’t know the traditions of the village yet
He should have considered the side of the old man and showed respect to him
Destruction of the path symbolizes the disobedience of Michael Obi

A LONG DAY'S DYING
the story is basically about the conflict of superstitious beliefs; which is symbolized by the Navajo Indian; and the science of the white man. these proves that intuition can sometimes be right though the white man keeps on thinking of how foolish the belief of the indian was. and though both what happened to the little boy and the death of his horse can be generally taken into coincidental incidents, it still grasps an essence of what the intuition of Rabbit Stockings was. the title, A long day's dying, symbolizes the time stting of the story. it happened on a summer solstice where the light of day is longer than the dark of night. it also reflects the little incident that happened to little Sant and that in the end he admitted that that day is the longest day there ever was and probably will ever have.

SIX FEET OF THE GROUND
There is some sort of discrimination between the whites and the black
the main character, the husband, which is a white doesn’t know where to side with; to stand as a white man who knows everything and is superior to others or to side with the brown people in his village
The coffin with the wrong person inside shows that the white people who were called to manage for the burial less prioritized the dead person which is supposed to be the one inside the coffin, mainly because he is black.

ARABY
this story conveys the boy's fascination to his friend's sister. his childish affection made him see the part of a confused love, bringing him to a realization of true "life" itself. the disenchantment he felt when he went to the Araby symbolizes his realization of life: poverty. the bazaar, at first, made him excited because knowing that he will go there for the he liked, but in the end the bazaar also changed his view because he came there with less money on his pocket therefore not able to buy a gift for his "dear one".

mitsui_14 said...

“A LITTLE INCIDENT”

The story was narrated from the point of view of the persona himself. We think its better that way because it was the persona himself who experienced the “little incident”. Therefore it has a greater impact rather than having another person telling it. In the story, we can compare two characters:
a)the narrator-wealthy, yet proud and arrogant and didn’t have the heart to help others, against
b)the rickshaw puller-though a poor man, was ready to help even in little ways.
The role of the characters reminds us of the story from the Bible--“The Good Samaritan. It tells the story of a Jewish man who was robbed & beaten (the old woman). A priest, then a Levi (the rich man in the story or the narrator) saw the man and both decided to take the other road ignoring the man. Then a Samaritan (rickshaw puller) saw the man and helped him and really took care of him though the Jews and the Samaritans were in conflict at that time. We also know that the Samaritan had given all the money he has during that time to the one who will take care of the beaten Jew even if those were the only money left in him. Like him, the rickshaw puller had helped the old woman even though it will cost him his job. The conflict in the story was the different ways of handling the incident by the narrator (who wanted to just leave it be) and the rickshaw puller (who wanted to help the old woman). Although the story was entitled “A Little Incident”, it wasn’t a little incident after all because it had made the narrator realize something big and important--to become a better person.


“DEAD MEN’S PATH”

This story has an omniscient narrator to tell the story. Obi didn’t even know the culture and practices of the villagers so how can he tell the story? Whilst if one of the villagers would tell the story, their culture will play a dominant role in it to the extent that the side of Obi would not be known and understood. So it is more likely to have a third person narrator so that there will be no bias. We agree with the reporters that there is this modern side which is represented by Michael Obi (who wanted to change everything even if it means destroying the ways of the old tradition that came before him) and the traditional side which is represented by the villagers who are still practicing their heritage. This is also the conflict of the story. Obi wanted to close the path while the villagers were against it because they believe it is where the souls of the dead cross to their afterlife. However, despite the resistance of the villagers, he still closed the path. Had Obi left the path as it is, there will be no trouble. It is not bad to be modern but it is much better if he has respected the culture of the villagers. After all, it would not cause him so much trouble leaving the path of the dead undisturbed. Both sides could have accepted syncretism or the blending of the modern and the traditional customs. But Obi, deaf with the warning and blinded by wanting for praise and promotion, did not even respect the villager’s culture and insisted on his modern ideas. So, in the end, he got his just reward.


“A LONG DAY’S DYING”

This story is also a matter of conflict between modernization and tradition. The story is told through the point of view of a third person. Another theme in the story is what the white man thinks about a native's belief and practices. There is a conflict between Big Sant and Rabbit Stockings with regards to what path to take in order to find Little Sant but sometime in the end, Big Sant finally agreed with the belief of Rabbit Stockings about the ways of nature andd their beliefs. We can say that modernization isn't bad as long as the traditional cultures and beliefs are respected.


"SIX FEET OF THE COUNTRY"

One thing we can add to this story is the system of Apartheid or the racial segregation in Africa. It is a system wherein one person or native cannot cross the border of another place without proper permit. It also segregates the blacks from the whites. We can see its bad effect on the culture and the way of life of the Negroes. One of its consequences is that they cannot find jobs in nearby places so that their last resort was to disobey the law. Just like the case of the brother of Petrus who wanted so much to have a job that he crossed the border and disobeyed.


"ARABY"

This tells the story of a young man in his adolescence who falls in love with his friend's sister. It is only natural that an adolescent feel that way. He was obssesed with the girl that he would do anything for her. An example is that when she asked him if he would go to the Araby and asked him to buy something for her. He waited a long time for his uncle to come home so that he wil be able to give him money to go to the Araby. But when he arrived at the Bazaar it was nearly closed. He then felt anguish and anger. He is just like any other adolescent who is in-love who would do anything for his loved one without even realizing what it would cost and without thinking of the consequences. The anger he felt symbolizes the feeling of frustration when he cannot give someone he really likes a present he had promised. Just like any typical male adolescent!

-=micha=- said...

Collective Analysis

Michelle Arias
Jemimah Banueza
Lorelie Bataycan
Cecilia Naca

I. A LITTLE INCIDENT

The world doesn’t need another tsunami attack to wake up and help others, to be more humane. Sometimes, it just takes the tiniest and simplest of events like a single person’s heroism, even a birth of a child, to make 7 billion people change.

In the story, it is the “littleness”, of the incident that made it more appealing and life-changing for the narrator. It did not take a bomb explosion to make a lasting impression to him. It was rather like a tap on the shoulder from a stranger.

The narrator lives in a rather independent and busy society. There is no vast space for cuts of kindness and generosity anymore, and it is surprising for him to witness that little incident. The rickshaw puller, in a way, is under the narrator’s authority, but he didn’t heed the narrator’s advice but went ahead on helping an old woman. In a sense we can say that the narrator is a “bigger” man than the rickshaw puller, but the puller’s selflessness made him appear larger than life, while the narrator felt weak and small next to him. He even felt the need to reward the man even if it was a spur of the moment decision.

The rickshaw puller’s concern made him a bigger person, more respected and indelibly noticed by the narrator. Unknowingly, he made an impression to a jaded man who is living in a world of political modern affairs and who probably must have lost faith on his fellowmen.

II. DEAD MEN’S PATH

The conflict in this story is between CHANGE and TRADITION. What matters in this story is that one should respect the belief of others; although, he thinks it is absurd. The story is telling us that tradition and modernity should not exist as exclusive entities; rather they must complement each other. Traditions must improve with modernity yet it must not destroy the past as was aimed at by Michael Obi when he said, "Our duty is to teach your children to laugh at such ideas.” It must look at the past with reverence than with disgust because it makes a person whole no matter how modern one maybe. There must always be a perfect blend of modernity and belief in each person because each makes up a part of him. This has not been achieved, so the plot has a hanging resolution that is dependent on what the readers’ imagination may perceive.

The narration of the story was not taken from any particular character to simply present to the readers the facts and allow them to visualize for themselves how the incomprehensibility and vagueness of past beliefs should co-exist with the science and rationality of modernity.

Sometimes a person becomes overwhelmed with joy that he forgets that there are people around him who may be affected by his careless actions. Michael Obi is a foreigner to that place but as a head principality he must have observed and “supported the religious foundation of that place to keep its people united and of good conduct” (Machiavelli). He was so proud of his own modernity and of his own civilization that he thinks anyone who does not hold the same belief is an idiot and has to be educated. He did not realize that the place has its own system of civilization and he did not even try to recognize the beauty and meaning of the Africans’ own beliefs. If he had only tried to learn from these beliefs then maybe he would have understood the great relevance of this to their lives. Then, he may have used their own terms into gradually leading them to a kind of modernity that is appropriate for their own culture and not in the context of his own.

The setting is in an unprogressive school in Africa, where education must have been centered on traditional learning and native beliefs. Sometimes the school administrations tend to implement what they think is right. In this case, Michael Obi abused his power in order to impress the "white" Supervisor and to impose his own belief, in the same way, that the whites in the Heart of Darkness are trying to civilize the native blacks. The school represents the attempt to separate tradition from modernity, and on a greater extent eradicate superstitious belief completely from the future. The school is where young minds are molded and is a perfect place to begin inserting ideas of change. Given the wrong education, the students may be detrimental to society, in the same way that Mr. Obi has been detrimental to the village people.

It also focuses on the generation gap. In a modernized world, the younger generation are too busy improving their lifestyles and explaining everything scientifically that they neglect the beliefs of the older generation. Now that it can explain everything, those that it can’t explain are considered trash. It is as if science dominates tradition, in the same way that in A Long Day’s Dying, progress contradicts superstitious beliefs. However, the destruction of the school created a turning point for the readers to believe that beliefs of old men are as powerful as the innovations of modernity. No matter how sturdy a structure may seem to be but if it’s materials are hollow inside, there is no doubt that it will crumble down.

The title of the story is A Dead Men’s Path because it is where the conflict arose. It is also the path that serves as the connection of the village people to the past, being pure cultural belief, and to the future which may vary with modernity. It is a tool where ancestral beliefs are passed on to younger generations, where the present can learn from the past and create a better future, and where the future can be planned outright. We believe that the obstruction of this path would mean that education in Africa becomes not a real education of unbiased learning but a masked approach of corrupting the people of their heritage and wealth. The school’s purpose becomes not to teach but to make the white headmaster rich and famous. It’s a way of oppressing the people of Africa wherein they are mocked in the face by being referred to as some uncivilized, backward and uneducated people, simply because they lack the idealism and modern thoughts of the whites.

Similar to the Heart of Darkness, by the character of Nancy, Michael Obi’s wife we are able to see that white women in those days are dependent to men and are simply benefactors of a man’s richness, success and fame. She is simply a dreamer who depends on her husband to make it come true. She is not the woman behind the man but the frame that holds the picture. She would want the best painting to be put in her borders but she is not noticed no matter how skillfully carved she maybe especially if the painting is far more beautiful.

The village priest, together with the village people, on the other hand, represents the race that is resistant to change simply because they are proud and protective of their own. They may be savages because they have torn down the school and all the beauty that the Whites have put up yet they are simply the vigilant Africans who wants freedom and peace in their own terms because they are the owners of their own land, the rulers of their own clan, and the bearers of their own future, not the foreign whites.

III. A LONG DAY’S DYING

The narrator is an omniscient character who opens the story by describing the setting, which is in America on a summer solstice day, and who then begins to address Little Sant as the young man drowning in the quicksand. In fact he talks to him and tries to give him hope. He does not only wish to make Little Sant realize his despairing condition but he also reaches out to the readers and attempts to make them imagine themselves as Little Sant, stuck in a quicksand, alone and helpless and think of their own rich short pasts. This device allows the readers to be involved in the story and even to create a story of their own based on the original text’s plot.

The story first reveals Little Sant’s point of view. The author needs to find a way to insert the instinctive ingenuity of the Navajo Indians, so he creates a conflict where Little Sant is stuck in a quicksand, isolated from the rest of humanity. Being young, he had many hopes and dreams, and he was feeling regret and frustration because as he stayed soaked and dying in the quicksand all afternoon, he feels that he might not be able to get out and fulfill his dreams. He is particular of the future not merely because he is white but because being young, he looks forward to great days ahead of him. He sees his situations as his last or end and seemed to be confused on why it had to happen at the very moment when he was just starting to make out things for himself. In this moment, Little Sant reminisces his precious pasts, and in his despair he hopes that someone will rescue him. He believes that a Navajo Indian alone, who is one with the Earth, would be able to perceive this premonition coming and come to his aid willingly.

Thus, the weaver of the story locates the hero of the day, Rabbit Stockings who is a Navajo Indian but a friend to the Sants, together with Big Sant. In this part of the story he narrates how the strong instincts of the Navajos work, through Rabbit stockings who like any other Navajo follows his instincts and believes (sometime not) in guardian spirits; thus, further strengthening the hope of the readers, as well as Little Sant’s, that they can be saved.

However, Rabbit Stockings is with a man of a contradicting view in regards to Indian faith, Big Sant. The narrator then also shares how Big Sant’s views vary to that of a Navajo. They are indulged in a conversation on whether they must follow the Indian superstitious belief or ignore it because it has no scientific proof of worthiness for the Whites. Conversations like this prolong the waiting of Little Sant just like how the Summer Solstice prolongs a day.

The Summer Solstice is a long hot day that we think it symbolizes both hope and despair in trying times like this. It is hope because it allows one to do more things and wish that more things could happen as the daylight stays on for a longer period of time than usual. It is also despair because lying in a descending sand in a deserted arroyo for how many hours without seeing signs of being saved makes one linger more in thoughts of fear, of death, of a fading tomorrow. It then indicates that this day is no ordinary day but a turning point that will make an impact o the belief of Little Sant, in the same way that Doña Lupeng in Nick Joaquin’s Summer Solstice turned away from patriarchal norms to matricentric ancestry. Incidents like this allows Little Sant to think more of his past and his quite impossible future, at the same time, tempt or put to the test and verify the power of the Navajo belief.

Meanwhile worry must have conquered the heart and thoughts of Big Sant that he seems to be so inquisitive of the Indian belief in guardian spirits. Here a conflict in belief vs. progress actually built up. However this has been compensated when Big Sant later on becomes a witness to the eligibility of this instinctive power as they traveled the La Jara to search and rescue Little Sant. One thing about the Whites’ progress is that they require proofs and well-tested inventions, things that a Navajo’s belief does not claim.

However, the Navahos Indians, with their beliefs turn out to be more gentle folks who are inspired by the goodness of nature and guardian spirits, while the Whites are more raging that if they see themselves disrespected or threatened, they will easily strike for a kill.

It is also in this incident that Whites express their discrimination of the Indians because the two may believe in the same thing yet they put a difference by calling one a superstition and the other progress. We think that both the Indians and the Whites are trying to convince each other of the truthfulness of each one’s belief, but in the story it turns out that the Indian’s Belief is far more eligible than progress.

However these three questions remain difficult to answer for our group. First is why did Rabbit Stockings suggest that they should never do anything on a Shrove Tuesday and a Summer Solstice? Perhaps it is because he considers these days as holy or as cursed. Next is why did Little Sant say that he “didn’t believe any of it”? Probably because he already realized the encompassing truth of the Indian beliefs; that if you don’t believe in something, then it won’t happen. All the while, if the summer solstice should be a turning point for the characters, why is it that they, particularly Little Sant, never want to have another summer solstice again? Disregarding the fact that the day has caused him much of his life and his dreams, it could be that he fears that day when he would be most helpless and confused.

Big Sant is a stereotypic White American who imposes his superiority over the Indians as evident in that part when RAbit Stockings asked if he CAN invent his own days, and he replied, “It’s MAY I…” It means to say that he wants the Indians to take permission from him, even for that trivial thing simply because he is white, and whites are supreme beings. He also belittles Indians because they believe in superstitions and are brainless to progress. They are not innovative but simply native to him because they do not think the same way he does, believing more on evidence and science.

The initial conflict is how Little Sant can get out of the quicksand when the very people (or animal) he hopes to help him are not so distant. However, other conflicts like racial discrimination are highly present in the story’s plot. Here Whites of all ages seem to have all the right to belittle Indians as foolish and to mock them from their homes to their beliefs, whereas the Indians are to do nothing but to follow the command of the Whites. However, Rabbit Stockings is not very much of a submissive type, but a representative of a subtle contradiction. In his conversation with Little Sant, in the earlier part of the story he told him that the Indians would definitely not let the Whites conquer them again. Like Little Sant, Rabbit Stockings is stuck in his own quicksand only that his represents the invasion of the Whites where the bounds of an Indian becomes limited. If given the chance to go back in time, he would certainly not pass by the same path again and fall into the same invasion. In this situation, he applies the principle of Big Sant, “if you can’t kill them, join them”. There is nothing he could do to out rule this super power, so he simple exists in peace with them even as a subordinate.

In his conversation with Big Sant, he also contradicted their so-called progress which has no stable foundation by saying that the Whites know everything but their own earth. It is like saying that the Whites so look forward to the future yet they do not understand the present. Here the conflict between idea and real presented. The Navajos believe in no future but only in what they see, which is nature that’s all around them. They work and believe in what is real, they understand the earth, and so being based on pure reality, their beliefs become convincingly true. On the other hand, the Whites are only motivated by ideas, of thoughts of no true form, and of futures that are yet to come; thus, they often overlook the present. The Whites’ country, being overdeveloped has actually lost its touch for and equity with traditional beliefs, nature and human life. It, being overdeveloped has left them nothing else but to look back and to rely on a Navajo’s intuition.

In their discussion about that day being a summer solstice, Big Sant once again expressed the authoritative power of Whites to mark a day as the day though it is similarly lacking in proof as a superstitious belief does. Again Rabbit Stockings contradicted this by saying that the summer solstice could be on 22nd and not the 21st, which according to science is actually the 22nd, but Big Sant justified the 21st as the summer solstice for the illogical reason that it was a long day (a summer solstice) when they got Luto, the horse.

However, although these two races oppose each other’s beliefs and practices, it is evident that they have developed some sense of friendship. Notice that Little Sant always mingles with the Indians more than the Whites and believes that they will be the only ones who can save him. In fact, his short pasts were rich memories shared with Rabbit Stockings and the Navajos. Even Rabbit Stockings was more persistent on looking for Little Sant than his very own white Father. This incident actually proves that two opposites actually complement and attract each other to create a better whole.

At the end of the story, Rabbit Stockings has made Little Sant realize that Whites are not the center of the world, that though they were not visible in the place where Little Sant saw the rattlesnake strike Luto, he very clearly knew about it. He makes him realize that the Whites are not the only peoples of the Earth but that there are also subordinates who live and may know even better than they.

In comparison to the Heart of Darkness, this story is similar in the sense that it involves two different races, one supreme and the other inferior. There is also the conflict of development vs. native beliefs; however, it differs in the intensity of oppression. In this story, there is no brutal savagery but there is the doing away of superstitious belief, thus still pertaining to becoming civilized in the terms of the Whites.

Little Sant is the mean of this two contrasting worlds where he has absorbed the progress of the Whites because he is White, and has been open to Navajo beliefs because he mingles with Navajos and is exposed to the truth of their instincts. Big Sant here is the bearer of progress while Rabbit Stockings, together with the evident animation of the Horse and the rattlesnake as guardian spirits. The irrational animals are treated similarly as humans that they can communicate to the Indians and inspire them in their way of life.

We think that it follows the traditional plot wherein the resolutions are that Little Sant is found and saved and that Rabbit Stockings is able to prove that he, though believing in superstitions is not so foolish after all.

IV. SIX FEET OF THE COUNTRY

A plot, characters, setting, symbols, theme, author, and social implications—all these are found in Six Feet of the city; more than good enough requisite to consider it a short story. The characters in thee story include the author most often called Baas, which actually means boss. Lerice is the wife of the author. Albert and Franz and Petrus are blacks who work for the author and his wife. Other characters include Petrus’ brother who died, his father, and other minor characters like Dora the cook and Jacob he gardener.

We think the author chose Baas to be the narrator of the story because he was the only white man who was primarily affected by the incidents in the story. He was able to make a comparison between the lives of the black people because he was connected in a way to them.

The plot follows the traditional plot set by the West. There are several conflicts in the story. One is the author’s problem with his wife whom he describes as someone who doesn’t care if she looks plain or odd; someone who doesn’t even comb her hair. He describes her as someone who wears filthy slacks. He says that her earthly and histrionically enthusiasm irritates him. He states that they don’t even sleep together because he doesn’t want to soften only because of the sweet smell of talcum powder. He is also aware that Lerice is hurt and humiliated with his no wanting her and his inadequacy as a mate, but he continues to treat her the way he does. Another story that arises in the story is the problem of getting back the body of Petrus’ brother. The resolution presented by the authors is putting somebody else’s body.

The way the plot is presented is important because it is through which that the author imparts his purpose of writing such story. It is important that the readers recognize the social implications or lessons hidden in the story. The plot also establishes the tone or mood of the story. Here, the readers grow curios of what would be the resolution. It is thus important that the plot be such that sustains the interest of the readers.

The symbols in the story are basically to keep the readers thinking. Instead of being ‘passive’, critical thinking is developed. Symbols are objects, characters, figures or colors, used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. They envelope the themes and social implications in the story. The donkey in the story as described by he author is his representation of the poor s. He says that the donkey peculiarly suits the group of men and women who came along. These men he was talking about all belong to the working class- the servants. Another symbol is of course, the title; six feet of the country here symbolizes a grave. It is bothering to think that even something as basic and abundant could be a scarce to other people.

Themes are the fundamental and oftentimes universal ideas explored in a literary work. The main themes in the story are feudalism, racism and sexism. Feudalism is presented n several examples. One is during the author’s conversation with the police, when he said that as long as the boys did their job, it was not his business anymore to poke his nose into their personal lives. Another is when they were told that they where pay twenty pounds and he sad that since it couldn’t do the dead any good, he certainly would not offer the money. Racism also is illustrated in many instances. One is the fact that Rhodesian natives are barred from entering the Union. This results to the problem of unemployment. Another is his statement saying that it is hard o make a pauper’s grave sound like a privilege. He therefore thinks of the dead man as a pauper- someone so poverty stricken relying entirely on public charity. Another is his statement that the police felt that they must bury him. Petrus’ idea that white men have everything, can do anything and if they don’t it’s because they won’t, also reflects racism. The author also said about men not knowing how to hand money to white men, as if saying that such act should be done in different manners depending on who you hand the money to. This thing he was saying that the dead man had no identity in this world anyway shows his view that black people have no identity. Despite the narrator’s indifference though, there are instance when eh showed compassion and car. One was when he said that he would have spent without grudging it on the doctors or medicines that might have helped the boy was he was still alive. He is also in a way weak because although he has so much against his wife, he couldn’t be open about it. He also speaks calmly to her and does not argue with her even when she says something like “what does it matter” when he asked about the time. Anther instance is when he said “She was still staring at me, trying me out with those eyes, wasting her time, if she only knew.”

We think the author wanted to give emphasis on the discrimination of the blacks. The story also showed how the status in life affected the people's way of living. The Blacks are more concerned of having a decent death than a decent life, while for Baas and his wife, Lerice, life should be lived extravagantly. This is because the blacks have nothing as to material possession whereas the whites get hold of almost everything that they can enjoy. They can’t afford to have a decent life because they are treated as slaves. All their riches are not found in earth, so it is in death that they could give a black man’s last hopes some reality. In that kind of society, the only role that they have is to serve those who are superior to them, and these are the whites. On the other hand, Spending for death is only a waste for the whites because for them that’s the time when your bodily pleasures cannot be satisfied anymore. Without life, there is no pleasure, so in death why spend so much when you cannot enjoy it by dying.

Baas, who we think represents the white men, is not the typical white character because he has some concern for black people. In cities like Johannesburg, white men experience the tension of rebellious blacks. However, is it that the blacks are really the bad men or is it just a representation of white men’s ill-humbled superiority? In Baas’ farm, although the blacks were paupers and workers they experience some benefits and mutualism in their small community. The distinction between the whites and the blacks in Baas’ farm is not very obvious except for the notion of a master-servant relationship. There is no abuse of power rather there is commitment to help. What we really noticed in this story is the mutualism of the whites and the blacks, and the development of some sense of equality and respect for the blacks from a very few whites.

In this story, we also saw the struggle of the blacks for freedom and equality. They have suffered so much that they would risk their lives for anything that could twist their fate and change their lives. However, the whites have not been so kind even in death. They still discriminate the blacks by burying their bodies like cats and dogs. They wouldn’t bother finding its relatives and giving it a proper burial. As long as these bodies don’t stink and irritate their sensitive noses, they don’t mind where they have been buried and who has been buried, anyway they’re just blacks. There is also the motive of deception, wherein the white authorities makes themselves appear good by putting the body in a well-sealed coffin, when in fact it is only to hide the rotting truth that they are fooling the blacks into weeping over the wrong person. They are deceptive to their own advantage of minimizing the corpses that they have to handle rather than have some respect for the dead because he is dead, and not because he is white.

By Baas’ mentioning that his wife and Petrus looked somewhat I like, we believe that it is at this point that he realized their human equality. One may be white and the other black, one may be well-off and educated while the other is poor and deep into work, yet they are nonetheless human beings liable to some respect. In this part, Lerice is humbled while Petrus becomes assertive of his brother’s right as a fellow human to a dignified burial. This is when Baas also realized his principle, a principle that thrives in the equality of all human beings. However, what seems more dominant and suitable for his character’s aloofness is his disdain for the inefficiency of his fellow whites. By treating the blacks without respect even for their dead, the whites have lowered their stature to a point even lower than the blacks. They are already inferior for them, yet they still mocked them.

He must have also realized that they could not bring all their riches with them after death, so why not use it for the betterment of his fellows and for the privilege of a decent death. We think that the story ended with some hope for Baas and Lerice that by giving a part of the wealth they have to the poor old man, they could console his spirit; however for the blacks, especially Petrus, it is a note of despair because his brother’s corpse has been lost, and that gives him a feeling that they could never be equal to the whites even in death.

These are the universal ideas the author is trying to convey. Universality works as a fundamental idea from which people draw more basic ones. It also serves as an inspiration to people, guiding them with their decisions in life either by confirming them or trying to falsify them. Universal themes are based on a foundation or basis; most often than not, the socio cultural era in that particular story, in this case, an era of oppression and exploitation.

V. ARABY

The story is about a person whose feelings for a girl brought so many other emotions like frustration and even anger. It is narrated long after it happened because the narrator was able to instill mixed emotions beyond a young boy’s understanding. His awe and adoration for Mangan’s sister may be young but deep.

Initially, it is a normal crush or infatuation felt by young kids but as the dial of the clock in the Araby moved, time is swept by sooner than he thought. Soon he is old enough to understand his own feelings. As a boy, he cannot be blamed for romanticizing the girl for he is just a boy whose mind may not yet be prepared for what he really felt at that time. Later on in his life he had another view of life that his infatuation with Mangan’s sister helped form.

He never really knew the girl yet he had a very vivid picture of her. This he so well created out of his own imagery of her according to his own perception. She becomes big and fascinating to him even if she isn’t his friend. This way the girl can be a mystery to him that he can solve, a puzzle that he can put together with his own pieces. The experiences of the boy extend beyond the borders of the story because it leaves us with thoughts about how small but vivid amounts in life can change a person.

The theme of the story is how love, even puppy love, can be really powerful and how it continues to shape the people who have experienced it. Love doesn’t always bring happiness and fulfillment to those people who are not ready to take a risk.

In James Joyce's short story "Araby," several different micro-cosms are evident. The story demonstrates adolescence, maturity, and public life in Dublin at that time. As the reader, you learn how this city has grown to destroy this young boy's life and hopes, and create the person that he is as a narrator.

In "Araby," the "mature narrator and not the naive boy is the story's protagonist."(Coulthard) Throughout the story this is easily shown, especially when it refers to "the hour when the Christian Brothers' school set the boys free."(Joyce 2112) Although they were freed, they were placed into an "equally grim world, where not even play brought pleasure."(Coulthard) Joyce demonstrates this culture by showing a boy's love for a girl throughout the story. This young boy, is completely mystified by this girl, but at the end, the girl is replaced by the girl with an "English accent" attending the booth at the bazaar. This shows the power and persuasiveness that England has at that time over Dublin.

The antagonist in this story, which can easily be determined is the culture and life in Dublin. This has a great effect on the boy and the rest of the people from this city. Dublin is referred to as the "center of paralyses,"(Internet) and "indeed sterile."(Joyce) This plays a huge role in the forming of this boy's life, where there is no fun. "Araby" is a story "of a soul-shriveling Irish asceticism, which renders hopes and dreams not only foolish, but sinful."(Coulthard) In the story, the only thing that the young boy has to look forward to is buying something for the girl he loves, and in the end he can't even do that; and by making the final characters English, the story leaves an impact on the reader about the Dublin society. It shows the antagonist
of the story to be "a repressive Dublin culture."(Coulthard)

Through this allegorical piece, the reader can understand the harsh life that people are forced to deal with in Dublin society. "The narrator has become embittered rather than wiser, which was his destiny from the first for desiring joy in an environment that forbade it."(Coulthard) "Araby" seems to be reflection on Joyce's own life in a repressive Dublin culture.

Each of the stories in Dubliners consists of a portrait in which Dublin contributes to the dehumanizing experience of modem life. The boy in the story "Araby" is intensely subject to the city's dark, hopeless conformity, and his tragic yearning toward the exotic in the face of drab, ugly reality forms the center of the story.

On its simplest level, "Araby" is a story about a boy's first love. On a deeper level, however, it is a story about the world in which he lives a world inimical to ideals and dreams. This deeper level is introduced and developed in several scenes: the opening description of the boy's street, his house, his relationship to his aunt and uncle, the information about the priest and his belongings, the boy's two trips-his walks through Dublin shopping and his subsequent ride to Araby.

The use of symbolic description-that of the dead priest and his belongings-suggests remnants of a more vital past. The bi-cycle pump rusting in the rain in the back yard and the old yellowed books in the back room indicate that the priest once actively engaged in real service to God and man, and further, from the titles of the books, that he was a person given to both piety and flights of imagination. But the priest is dead; his pump rusts; his books yellow. The effect is to deepen, through a sense of a dead past, the spiritual and intellectual stagnation of the present. Into this atmosphere of spiritual paralysis the boy bears, with blind hopes and romantic dreams, his encounter with first love. In the face of ugly, drab reality-"amid the curses of laborers," "jostled by drunken men and bargaining women"-he carries his aunt's parcels as she shops in the market place, imagining that he bears, not parcels, but a "chalice through a throng of foes." The "noises converged in a single sensation of life" and in a blending of Romantic and Christian symbols he transforms in his mind a perfectly ordinary girl into an enchanted princess: untouchable, promising, saintly. Setting in this scene depicts the harsh, dirty reality of life which the boy blindly ignores. The contrast between the real and the boy's dreams is ironically drawn and clearly foreshadows the boy's inability to keep the dream, to remain blind.

The boy's final disappointment occurs as a result of his awakening to the world around him. The tawdry superficiality of the bazaar, which in his mind had been an "Oriental enchantment," strips away his blindness and leaves him alone with the realization that life and love differ from the dream. Araby, the symbolic temple of love, is profane. The bazaar is dark and empty; it thrives on the same profit motive as the market place ("two men were counting money on a salver"); love is represented as an empty, passing flirtation.

The setting in "Araby" reinforces the theme and the characters by using imagery of light and darkness. The experiences of the boy in James Joyce's "Araby" illustrate how people often expect more than ordinary reality can provide and then feel disillusioned and disappointed. The author uses dark and obscure references to make the boy's reality of living in the gloomy town of Araby more vivid. He uses dark and gloomy references to create the mood or atmosphere, then changes to bright light references when discussing Mangan's sister. The story expresses its theme through the setting, the characterization
of the boy and his point of view as the narrator.

Darkness is used throughout the story as the prevailing theme. James Joyce's story begins at dusk and continues through the evening during the winter, in Araby Ireland. He chooses this gloomy setting to be the home of a young boy who is infatuated with his neighbor’s sister. The boy is young and naive and he leads a dull and boring life. Joyce uses darkness to make the boy's reality more believable through more vivid, precise descriptions.
Bright light is used to create a fairy tale world of dreams and
illusions. James Joyce uses the bright light when describing Mangan's sister, the boy's infatuation. The protagonist is infatuated with his neighbor's sister and he imagines that he will heroically bring her something back from the bazaar.

Joyce refers to bright light when discussing Mangan's sister in order to give her a heavenly presence. Light is used to create a joyful atmosphere.

The ending of the story is filled with images of darkness and light. James Joyce uses the lights of the bazaar to illustrate the boy's confrontation with reality. The bazaar lights are almost all off because the bazaar is almost closed. This is significant because the boy wants the bazaar to be bright and open, but it is dark and closed. This is when the boy finally realizes that life is not what he had dreamt it to be. He finds himself angry at life and disillusioned.

James Joyce uses the setting to symbolize a key concept of the story. The dark disillusion the boy experiences is all part of growing up. The boy is no longer young and naive, he has grown up and become disillusioned with life. "Araby" shows how we all get ideas about how things will be and then feel disappointed with ourselves when things don't work out as expected.

The story illustrates the problem of apartheid-- the racial policy of the government in South Africa, under which, white, African, Asiatic and colored communities live separately in principle so that each group will develop to the full its own society and culture. This is greatly opposed by our author, Nadine Gordimer.

Works Cited

Coulthard, A.R.. World Literature in Review. (Internet)
http://www.elibrary.com/id/2525/getdoc.cg...2D000&form=
RL&pubname=explicator&puburl=0

(No Author). Exhibition and inhibition. (Internet) http://
www.elibrary.com/id/2525/getdoc.cg...ame=twentieth_
century_literature&puburl=0

Joyce, James. Works of James Joyce. (Internet) http://www.
Elibrary.com/id/2525/getdoc.cg...13&form=rl&pubname=
monarch_notes&puburl=0

Joyce, James. "Araby." The Harper Collins World Reader.
Ed. Mary Ann Caws and Christopher Prendergast. New
York: Harper Collins, 1994. 2112-2116.

mitsui_14 said...

Contreras, Karolyn T.
Jamig, Czarina Lizcel H.


“A LITTLE INCIDENT”

The story was narrated from the point of view of the persona himself. We think its better that way because it was the persona himself who experienced the “little incident”. Therefore it has a greater impact rather than having another person telling it. In the story, we can compare two characters:
a)the narrator-wealthy, yet proud and arrogant and didn’t have the heart to help others, against
b)the rickshaw puller-though a poor man, was ready to help even in little ways.
The role of the characters reminds us of the story from the Bible--“The Good Samaritan. It tells the story of a Jewish man who was robbed & beaten (the old woman). A priest, then a Levi (the rich man in the story or the narrator) saw the man and both decided to take the other road ignoring the man. Then a Samaritan (rickshaw puller) saw the man and helped him and really took care of him though the Jews and the Samaritans were in conflict at that time. We also know that the Samaritan had given all the money he has during that time to the one who will take care of the beaten Jew even if those were the only money left in him. Like him, the rickshaw puller had helped the old woman even though it will cost him his job. The conflict in the story was the different ways of handling the incident by the narrator (who wanted to just leave it be) and the rickshaw puller (who wanted to help the old woman). Although the story was entitled “A Little Incident”, it wasn’t a little incident after all because it had made the narrator realize something big and important--to become a better person.


“DEAD MEN’S PATH”

This story has an omniscient narrator to tell the story. Obi didn’t even know the culture and practices of the villagers so how can he tell the story? Whilst if one of the villagers would tell the story, their culture will play a dominant role in it to the extent that the side of Obi would not be known and understood. So it is more likely to have a third person narrator so that there will be no bias. We agree with the reporters that there is this modern side which is represented by Michael Obi (who wanted to change everything even if it means destroying the ways of the old tradition that came before him) and the traditional side which is represented by the villagers who are still practicing their heritage. This is also the conflict of the story. Obi wanted to close the path while the villagers were against it because they believe it is where the souls of the dead cross to their afterlife. However, despite the resistance of the villagers, he still closed the path. Had Obi left the path as it is, there will be no trouble. It is not bad to be modern but it is much better if he has respected the culture of the villagers. After all, it would not cause him so much trouble leaving the path of the dead undisturbed. Both sides could have accepted syncretism or the blending of the modern and the traditional customs. But Obi, deaf with the warning and blinded by wanting for praise and promotion, did not even respect the villager’s culture and insisted on his modern ideas. So, in the end, he got his just reward.


“A LONG DAY’S DYING”

This story is also a matter of conflict between modernization and tradition. The story is told through the point of view of a third person. Another theme in the story is what the white man thinks about a native's belief and practices. There is a conflict between Big Sant and Rabbit Stockings with regards to what path to take in order to find Little Sant but sometime in the end, Big Sant finally agreed with the belief of Rabbit Stockings about the ways of nature andd their beliefs. We can say that modernization isn't bad as long as the traditional cultures and beliefs are respected.


"SIX FEET OF THE COUNTRY"

One thing we can add to this story is the system of Apartheid or the racial segregation in Africa. It is a system wherein one person or native cannot cross the border of another place without proper permit. It also segregates the blacks from the whites. We can see its bad effect on the culture and the way of life of the Negroes. One of its consequences is that they cannot find jobs in nearby places so that their last resort was to disobey the law. Just like the case of the brother of Petrus who wanted so much to have a job that he crossed the border and disobeyed.


"ARABY"

This tells the story of a young man in his adolescence who falls in love with his friend's sister. It is only natural that an adolescent feel that way. He was obssesed with the girl that he would do anything for her. An example is that when she asked him if he would go to the Araby and asked him to buy something for her. He waited a long time for his uncle to come home so that he wil be able to give him money to go to the Araby. But when he arrived at the Bazaar it was nearly closed. He then felt anguish and anger. He is just like any other adolescent who is in-love who would do anything for his loved one without even realizing what it would cost and without thinking of the consequences. The anger he felt symbolizes the feeling of frustration when he cannot give someone he really likes a present he had promised. Just like any typical male adolescent!

mitsui_14 said...

Contreras, Karolyn T.
Jamig, Czarina Lizcel H.


“A LITTLE INCIDENT”

The story was narrated from the point of view of the persona himself. We think its better that way because it was the persona himself who experienced the “little incident”. Therefore it has a greater impact rather than having another person telling it. In the story, we can compare two characters:
a)the narrator-wealthy, yet proud and arrogant and didn’t have the heart to help others, against
b)the rickshaw puller-though a poor man, was ready to help even in little ways.
The role of the characters reminds us of the story from the Bible--“The Good Samaritan. It tells the story of a Jewish man who was robbed & beaten (the old woman). A priest, then a Levi (the rich man in the story or the narrator) saw the man and both decided to take the other road ignoring the man. Then a Samaritan (rickshaw puller) saw the man and helped him and really took care of him though the Jews and the Samaritans were in conflict at that time. We also know that the Samaritan had given all the money he has during that time to the one who will take care of the beaten Jew even if those were the only money left in him. Like him, the rickshaw puller had helped the old woman even though it will cost him his job. The conflict in the story was the different ways of handling the incident by the narrator (who wanted to just leave it be) and the rickshaw puller (who wanted to help the old woman). Although the story was entitled “A Little Incident”, it wasn’t a little incident after all because it had made the narrator realize something big and important--to become a better person.


“DEAD MEN’S PATH”

This story has an omniscient narrator to tell the story. Obi didn’t even know the culture and practices of the villagers so how can he tell the story? Whilst if one of the villagers would tell the story, their culture will play a dominant role in it to the extent that the side of Obi would not be known and understood. So it is more likely to have a third person narrator so that there will be no bias. We agree with the reporters that there is this modern side which is represented by Michael Obi (who wanted to change everything even if it means destroying the ways of the old tradition that came before him) and the traditional side which is represented by the villagers who are still practicing their heritage. This is also the conflict of the story. Obi wanted to close the path while the villagers were against it because they believe it is where the souls of the dead cross to their afterlife. However, despite the resistance of the villagers, he still closed the path. Had Obi left the path as it is, there will be no trouble. It is not bad to be modern but it is much better if he has respected the culture of the villagers. After all, it would not cause him so much trouble leaving the path of the dead undisturbed. Both sides could have accepted syncretism or the blending of the modern and the traditional customs. But Obi, deaf with the warning and blinded by wanting for praise and promotion, did not even respect the villager’s culture and insisted on his modern ideas. So, in the end, he got his just reward.


“A LONG DAY’S DYING”

This story is also a matter of conflict between modernization and tradition. The story is told through the point of view of a third person. Another theme in the story is what the white man thinks about a native's belief and practices. There is a conflict between Big Sant and Rabbit Stockings with regards to what path to take in order to find Little Sant but sometime in the end, Big Sant finally agreed with the belief of Rabbit Stockings about the ways of nature andd their beliefs. We can say that modernization isn't bad as long as the traditional cultures and beliefs are respected.


"SIX FEET OF THE COUNTRY"

One thing we can add to this story is the system of Apartheid or the racial segregation in Africa. It is a system wherein one person or native cannot cross the border of another place without proper permit. It also segregates the blacks from the whites. We can see its bad effect on the culture and the way of life of the Negroes. One of its consequences is that they cannot find jobs in nearby places so that their last resort was to disobey the law. Just like the case of the brother of Petrus who wanted so much to have a job that he crossed the border and disobeyed.


"ARABY"

This tells the story of a young man in his adolescence who falls in love with his friend's sister. It is only natural that an adolescent feel that way. He was obssesed with the girl that he would do anything for her. An example is that when she asked him if he would go to the Araby and asked him to buy something for her. He waited a long time for his uncle to come home so that he wil be able to give him money to go to the Araby. But when he arrived at the Bazaar it was nearly closed. He then felt anguish and anger. He is just like any other adolescent who is in-love who would do anything for his loved one without even realizing what it would cost and without thinking of the consequences. The anger he felt symbolizes the feeling of frustration when he cannot give someone he really likes a present he had promised. Just like any typical male adolescent!

krima olive said...

A Little Incident

THE NARRATOR

Examining closely the character exemplified by the narrator of the story, one can identify the tough individuality that he naturally exudes. As he nonchalantly recounts his past encounters of various “affairs of state,” he demonstrates his indifference to these events that struck him as inessential and annoying. Also, he describes how time in his point of view whizzed by when he said, “Six years have gone by, as so many winks…” This statement alone clearly expresses how uneventful the world surrounding the man is in his own point of view. He minds only himself and the things that concern him, to a point that nothing from the outside world could ever distract him. His attention is solely focused on himself, and any recollection of the affairs of state in his past, according to him, “increase my ill temper and cause me to like people less and less…” Thus, an unmoving and strong personality of the narrator is established. I think that this buildup of such a character is purposely done by the author to intensify the effect of the drastic change that will happen within him at the later part of his account. Lu Hsun’s depiction of the man is further emphasized when he (the narrator) got irritated at the puller’s getting too involved in the incident. The note of disinterest and lack of concern about the hurt old woman is unmistakable as he silently grumbles about the delay it might cause in his journey. His dark nature is magnified by his own words, “…let him find a way out of this mess.” His last statement only proves that he viewed the act of helping anyone in need as a mess that one should not be involved in.

As I have already presumed earlier, the author created a dark and negative image of the speaker in order to depict to the readers how entirely contrasting the character of the man is before and after the incident. And the author accomplished in illustrating this difference. When he witnesses the puller surrendering to the police for accidentally hitting the old woman, the narrator suddenly feels very low of himself and his personality altogether. In his eyes, he is gradually reduced to a man without substance. For the first time, he feels very ashamed of himself, of his actions, and of the way he perceived other people. And that is why that little incident caused a profound change in him: it made him wake up from his egotistic and uncaring nature. He has everything any man aspires for---a good paying job, money, and education. Yet all these possessions are not so great do not look so splendid anymore if one has no heart, and that is one of the things that he realized. His very high regard of himself shrinks significantly the moment he sees someone who lacked wealth and worldly possessions actually submit himself to an even more depressing situation with the authorities as a consequence of his actions. He is so ashamed of himself that he said, “I was almost afraid to think about myself.” What happened to him was memory that would be forever etched in his being, for the incident stripped off the evil in him and, perhaps for the first time, actually made him see.





THE SETTING

The setting plays an impressive part in the creation of this work of art. At the time when the story took place, the society is busily handling socio-political issues that perhaps caused quite a fuss in their community. This setting is expertly enveloped by the author around the uncaring character of the narrator, successfully accentuating his personality in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the people around him. Another effective factor in the story is the actual journey of the narrator on an empty road without even a few people passing by. This is the perfect scene of how he views his life in general. In his outlook, only he exists---the others do not matter. That is why the road on which he was traveling is quiet. The road is the world in which he lives in. He just passes through the street, not even sensitive to the puller or to the old woman who is later hurt (he just goes on with his life pretending not to see the many people and events surrounding him, unmindful of his actions and principles).

THE OLD WOMAN AND THE PULLER

The way the old woman suddenly darted in the middle of the street is a representation of how, in our own lives, realization quickly comes unexpectedly. And most of the time, these realizations dawn on us at the expense of other people’s safety. Hard to admit, but we can’t deny that within each of us, we are struggling to surpass our own fears just to climb all the way to the top. But sadly, our present achievements and status in the society really gets into our heads to the point that we become numb to the world around us. This was what shaped the character of the narrator. And the old woman who was unintentionally hurt paved the way for his enlightenment. The humble action taken by the puller struck the narrator was what made him see the evil in him.




Dead Men’s Path

MICHAEL OBI

Beyond the tension between the modern and the traditional aspects battling in the story (which was already presented by the reporters last Tuesday), the story tells more serious issues involving human nature through the character exemplified by Michael Obi. Michael Obi is a representation of how weak the human mind can sometimes be. His very ambitious dream to “modernize” the school is a result of how the dawning of radical perspectives has eaten him up, to the point that his moral views about the traditional society is gradually marred. His dreams have gotten into his head too much that he loses respect of other cultures---respect, which supposedly should be what an honorable educator should possess. His towering aspirations indeed corrupted his mind. In a way, the character that he portrayed was somehow similar to the one illustrated by the narrator in A Little Incident. He, too, had an annoyingly high regard of himself. His own success makes him into believing that he is set apart from the others. “He was outspoken in his condemnation of the narrow views of these older and often less educated ones.” For him, his knowledge of the world is already profound and wide that the other beliefs that revolved around the society that he didn’t so much believed in are inferior and should not be considered. He openly denounced the traditional villagers, gravely disgusted at how their practices “stain” the beauty of the school that he runs. He is too engrossed over creating a good image of himself, and for him, these natives and their rather “trivial” customs are a big hindrance to achieving this. In my opinion, Michael Obi is absolutely pitiful. He epitomizes someone who dwells on the cycle of pleasing others and himself just to be socially respected and looked up to, especially by prominent persons. He exemplifies a man could not think of more humanitarian ways to succeed, thus, yielding to the negative influences of modernization and affecting the peaceful spiritual principles of the villagers. Yes, the belief of the village people may appear absurd and pointless to some. But a true man of change should be open-minded and respectful. Michael Obi fails to accept the varieties of cultures existing in his community, and by imposing what he thought is right (and what he thought would benefit him the most), he gets his “reward”: a nasty report from the Supervisor about his misguided zeal.

A man once said, “When it comes to change, go with the current of the river; when it comes to principles, stand firm like a rock.” Clearly, Michael Obi failed to remain a man of principle, for, in upholding his ideas, he steps on and insults the cultural identity of a particular group. He underestimates the words of the village priest when the latter requested the headmaster not to meddle with their ancestral belief. The way he talked to the priest about the issue actually had a tone of evil humor. It seems that when he proposed other ideas to settle the matter, he can be likened to someone “fooling” somebody uneducated. When he proposed measures to settle the issue, he can be likened to somebody promising a crying child a bag of candies and goodies. “…We can even get our boys to help in building it…” And when a woman dies of childbirth days later, the furious villagers destroyed the beautifies school, blaming Michael Obi for the death of the woman. this could have been avoided had Obi listened---and understood---the side of the village people. He is a portrayal that man can sometimes be clouded and misguided by the wrong ideals, and before he even realizes it, the consequences of his actions are viciously thrown back at him.



A Long Day’s Dying

Again, the prevailing issue tackled in this rather long short story is racial discrimination and the worldly views of the white, progressive people. To summarize the discussion of the reporters about A Long Day’s Dying, the story attacks the issue on the obsessive desire of the whites to impose their science, their way of thinking and behaving on a foreign, uncivilized nation. But then again, I would like to discuss other themes dominating in the story.



BIG SANT AND RABBIT STOCKINGS

Surprisingly, the story also presents man and his natural instinct to be superior to what he regards as “lesser beings,” just like in the two previous stories. In the course of Big Sant Rabbit Stockings’ journey to find Little Sant, significant conversations come up, mostly about what features characterizes each other’s world. Big Sant looks down on Rabbit Stockings and on the whole Indian race and their religious and spiritual beliefs as well. His satirical tone is very distinctive with the way he answers the Indian’s questions and when he “agrees” that the snake indeed is a guardian of Stockings. The mockery on his voice is evident, and this happens not only once but in several instances all throughout the journey. In truth, Big Sant ridicules the Indian race. He makes fun of their “guardians” and their seemingly shallow understanding of scientific phenomena that the whites know so much about. Like Obi in Dead Men’s Path, Big Sant inclined his passion for the imposition of modernization, convincing Rabbit Stockings to forget his Indian ways. “You see, you have gotten over many of your superstitions. Why don’t you get over the rest?” convinces Big Sant. By continuously mocking Stockings and at the same time insulting the Indian culture, he reduces the image of the Indian race to pitiful illiterates that needed to be educated in order to acquire a face for themselves. Big Sant, too, belittles their culture just because it is different from the ways of the whites. For him, anything out of the context of the culture of the whites is insignificant and worthless. Rabbit Stockings, meanwhile, shows signs that he would never succumb to the influence of the foreigners. He illustrates this in his words even at the start of the narration as Little Sant recounts his conversations with Stockings. Stockings had said, “…we Indians are not going to be so nice next time.” Whatever he means by that statement, whether it serves as a warning about an “uprising” or just means what the plain text suggests, he still expresses his disapproval with the presence of the whites.

OF CULTURES AND ETHNOCENTRICITY

Even though there was a silent battle between the two races, each is still guilty of being ethnocentric. Ethnocentricity, the belief of the superiority of one’s own race over the other, is exhibited both by the whites and the Indians. This is particularly manifested by Stockings and Little Sant in their conversation at the last part of the story.

As they passed the stream in muddy file Little Sant pointed at the spot. “That’s where it almost happened.”
Rabbit Stockings turned in his saddle. “That’s where it did happen.”
“I mean to me.”
“You’re not the center of the world.”

Every culture in the different parts of the world is guilty of ethnocentrism in one way or the other. This is precisely the root cause of most of the evils that plague our society---racism, sexism, and the like. Each group believes in the uniqueness and sacredness of its own traditions that they fail to develop an open mind to other customs and practices as well. Ethnocentrism is one of the demons that corrupt man’s mind and persuades him to demean other people of different cultural origins. And this demeaning is usually seen in the form of slavery and colonialism.


Six Feet of the Country

THE NARRATOR

It is noticeable that the narrator has torn emotions. At one point, he is irritated and annoyed with the thought of having to attend to the retrieval of the dead man’s body. When Petrus asks him where the body would be fetched, he told him that they could never be able to get the body back because of certain rules set against illegally staying citizens. The narrator conveys this information without making inquiries about the possibility of getting the corpse. When told by his wife to call up the authorities, he grumbles and makes some exaggerations about bringing the dead back to life. but eventually, he himself actually made the arrangements in exhuming the body and returning it to Petrus and his family. Although he is a white, somehow he still had enough sympathy for his workers, even though they are black people. He still was not poisoned with the darkness of racism and he did not, in any way, show rough treatment towards his helpers. The narrator is neither empathetic nor unfeeling. Perhaps he falls just in between these two categories. An inner conflict within him is what might have caused this uncertainty of side to take. The narrator is still battling whether he will live up to what is expected of a white man---uncaring and distant to the blacks---, or defy the social rules and extend brotherly concern for the South Africans. This two sides work to the story’s advantage since this enables the readers to perceive that not all whites oppress the people not of their own kind. It opens up the possibility that somehow, there is still hope for this evil to vanish and eventually stop the moral and cultural prejudice against all the black people. The fact that Petrus actually begged his master to ask the authorities how to get the body back is proof that he exudes a good character in the eyes of the blacks. Otherwise, Petrus would not have asked help from him or told him about his dead brother in the first place.

RACIAL PREJUDICE

It is already understandable that the authorities really did not exert careful effort in returning the right body back to the narrator and to the dead man’s family. Apparently, the officers in charge could not care less about the right man. Blacks for them are fools. They don’t care if they make a mistake---they were blacks anyway. Should they exhume the wrong body, it would mean nothing to them. They were not at all humiliated upon knowing their carelessness, because they do not care what the black people think about them. And should the blacks perceive a negative impression about their “efficiency”, what does it matter? Their opinions are irrelevant to them anyway. Their voices do not matter.



Araby

THE BOY

Obviously disillusioned by romance, the boy was too much of a romantic fool to the point that had affected him in every aspect. He was unable to concentrate in school, and every single thing that prevented him from going to the bazzar, he silently was seriously annoyed. Even though he did not know the girl well (they weren’t even friends), still he fell into a deep fascination for her. Something about the girl must have mustered this kind of emotion from the boy, for he even went as far as waiting for his uncle to go home in order to buy her “love” a gift and pushing through with his plans of going to the bazaar even though it was already late.

His visit to the Araby was an experience that he would understand when he grows up to become an adult. That visit was very symbolic, and its actual hidden meaning can be different from one person to another, depending on who reads the story. When the boy arrived in Araby, it was already almost empty. Few people roamed the streets, and the only stalls left open were uninteresting. The lights at the halls were out, and darkness enveloped the upper portion of the building. Then, he saw himself in an entirely different way---a boy driven by vanity. Possibly, that scene brought the boy into the light, freeing him from the disenchantment that blinded him from the world beyond romance. It was a turning point in his life. He realized that love is not all the time sweet and sugary, that sometimes it can lead one to dark grounds, especially when the emotion one feels is immature and driven by raging passion.


THE INTERNAL STRUCTURE

A short story is considered a work of art when it has a tight and definite internal structure. In a short story, several events may take place, and various seemingly “useless” figures may appear, but that is precisely the challenge faced by every story. It should have a strong, thick thread, which will weave together these separate entities to successfully form a unified and meaningful art. Of course, these minor details should be at the right place in the story in order for the connecting thread to form an exquisite pattern that everyone can eventually appreciate. When one detail is missing or out of place, the pattern is destroyed; the story loses its beauty. And the “thread” that encompasses the whole story is the theme. After all, it is he primary reason of a writer in conceptualizing a substantial short story. The themes in the five short stories, already discussed above, are the themes that give substance and material to the plot. In my experience, I never fully understand a short story if I only read it once. I have to look beyond every scene, every line, every character, and find out the theme. And once I find out what the theme of the story is, every detail that seemed confusing to me just falls into place. The gravity of the theme is what gives a short story a powerful internal structure.

koods said...

Suzette Lim TFR
Katherine Ongchangco Mam Aguilar
ENG 11 Jan 21, 2005

COMPARISON/ EVALUATION of the SHORT STORIES:

I. A Little Incident and Dead Men’s Path

“A Little Incident” is about a man’s recollection of his journey from a village to the country’s capital. On his way via the rickshaw, an old woman gets tangled and is injured by such accident. The main character of the said short story initially first gets irritated with the theatrics of the aged woman. With this summary of the story , “Dead Men’s Path” reflects somehow the same journey for Michael Obi. Any delays or trouble in his journey of modernizing Ndume Central School must not be tolerated. Like the old woman, the ancestral path of the villagers is an obstacle for the beautification of the school. Both stories show the desire for progress (at the expense of other people’s welfare), for a better status. And both show a Machiavellian means to pursue progress.

As the main character of “A Little Incident” ignored the old woman, Michael Obi does otherwise with regard to the school; he brings sacrilege to the dead men’s path and removes it within the school’s perimeter. The destruction of the highly sacred path is different from the tolerance by ignorance of the main character of “A Little Incident.” With regard to resolutions, the two men differed also. In the end of “A Little Incident,” the main character is spared him of the cruel repercussions of ignoring one’s roots in tradition and convention. The little incident he experienced, which could be paralleled to ignoring one’s history and old practices, plagues his memories. The only consolation he gets as he redeemed himself by paying the rickshaw puller some coppers is the compelling reminder to better himself. On the other hand, Michael Obi suffers the consequences of upsetting the balance between life and death, of mocking and rejecting old customs and of separating modernity and tradition. He and his wife share in his “passion for modern methods and his denigration of … old and superannuated people in the teaching field who would be better employed as traders” (Achebe). The Supervisor’s evaluation of the school shows a negative appraisal of Obi’s management of both internal and external affairs of the school. The thrashed gardens and buildings of the school is the violent retaliation for fencing the path, which connects the village Ani’s shrine and burial site. All his efforts were in vain.

How did Michael Obi upset the balance between life and death in “Dead Men’s Path?” With putting up a barrier between the shrine and the burial site, the flow of the departed and incoming souls gets disrupted, as stated by the village priest. Mr. Obi laughs at the idea of dead men needing a footpath. He does not concede to the plea of the priest to “let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch” (this means that both the school and the village could co-exist). Even if he introduced his solution of building another path for the ancestor (a detour perhaps), his solution is still unjustified as the original path is highly revered by the villagers. He showed no effort in understanding the significance of the path.

Michael Obi also attempts to separate modernity with tradition. The school, under his management, becomes a symbol for a kind of education which obliterates any affiliation with superstition and unprogressive beliefs. It becomes a status symbol for the couple as they aim for a higher quality of education and the looks to go with such high standards. The couple treats the school as a kingdom wherein the villagers are squatters and a blemish to the magnificence of such a farce. As the new headmaster of the school, Michael Obi should have used all that youth and energy to create a kind of education which would expose its studentry to other systems of beliefs and practices. Also, he is wrong in assuming that the government education officer would disapprove of the school’s proximity to pagan rituals. He also endangers the lives of his constituents as he courted and eventually caused a tribal hostility towards his way of running the school.

II. A Long Day’s Dying and Dead Men’s Path

“Death is the cessation of movement, but… life is the idea of movement”. This statement from Little Sant’s musings is somehow ironic with his situation in quicksand. The more movement you make, the more you will sink to the bottom of the quicksand. And no movement (as if held captive by time and circumstance) is a poor imagery for death. This inanimation, which could be temporary, may also connote a retreat or recuperation from the harsh realities of life. Little Sant’s misfortune in getting stuck in quicksand becomes also a contemplative or meditative experience for him. He was able to think and revalue about the Indians. Another inconsistency is the supposed purpose and identity of the “coffin-black” horse. Little Sant acquired Luto, the horse, during the day of summer solstice. This is a contrasting picture of light and darkness. Little Sant even described Luto as the best damned horse. Such descriptions forwards the idea that the horse signifies salvation or enlightenment and damnation. But as the story progresses, the horse illustrates death and superstition at the same time. It served as the guardian spirit of Little Sant. According the Rabbit Stockings, the guardian spirits will either help you if you believe in their existence and power or hurt you if otherwise. The horse also imposed the image of death as it stands within the shadows of the tamarisk and assumes the role of a witness to a silent killing. It is unfair to associate the destructive implications of death with the lack of empirical strength of the Navajo way of thinking. But with the earlier description of how the horse is salvation and death at the same time, superstition could then be equated to salvation. It could be that the “death” image of the horse may be attributed to Little Sant’s refusal to be enlightened by the intuitive and supernatural powers of the primitive or unprogressive beliefs and tradition.

Death, as to the context of “Dead Men’s Path,” is brought upon by the attempt to delineate progress and tradition. It is the death of Michael Obi’s dream when the tribal-wars destroys his embellished school gardens and when the supervisor gives a poor evaluation of his term as the school’s headmaster. His highly-coveted credentials for a high standard of quality and beauty of the school suddenly shatters. Similar to “A Long Day’s Dying,” the connection between life and death is very evident as symbolized by the ancestral path. The shrine and cemetery, which are linked by the said path, may also connote salvation and damnation.

The quicksand also connotes death in a peaceful way. As Little Sant was trapped in the quicksand with Luto’s doing, Michael Obi is boxed and consumed by his desire for superficial perfection with regard to the education and the appearance of the school. The difference is that there was no one to save Mr. Obi from the folly of his attempts to clearly demarcate modernity and tradition. Little Sant, on the other hand, was saved by Rabbit Stockings’ intuition.

“A Long Day’s Dying” also shares the conflict of progress or modernity and tradition or superstition with “A Little Incident” and “Dead Men’s Path.” Rabbit Stocking stated in the story that “if an believes in something it’s called superstition… when a white man believes something it’s called progress.” He equates progress with reaching the moon and leaving the earth’s atmosphere as opposed to solving the secrets and mystery of the earth, which he equates to superstition. Progress is too bent of finding evidence for their beliefs; it’s too empirical. But the story somehow shows that progress may be achieved with assimilating some elements of tradition or regressing to the fundamentals.

III. Araby

The theme of this short story is the boy’s discovery of the difference between realism and idealism of life. The plots in the story are the boy’s encounter of his first love, and the formed view of the imperfect wor5ld and spiritual stagnation as the boy senses the falsity of his dreams with anguish and anger.

Symbolism is rich in the story. The Dublin neighborhood represents the church’s corruption of the people. Instead of guiding them to the right path, the church exercises hypocrisy in its mission of evangelization and good works. The priest in the story must have spent his life amassing wealth and furniture. The garden, where the boy’s home is set, may also be compared to the Garden of Eden, with an apple tree as its center. Arabt which is a supposedly holy place, becomes an emptied church, symbolizing spiritual stagnation. Even the yellowed book pages of the former-priest-and-tenant also signified such a lull.

miii said...

Dumlao, Elizabeth M.
2001 – 24218

Texting Texts
I attended the PEN National Conference last Friday. Everyone seemed to know everyone, except for me. It was amazing seeing them hug, pat each other on the back, shake hands, or kiss each other’s cheeks, as if they were all long lost friends.

The topic was mainly about Philippine Literature in the age of technology – what is literature, who are the masses, how is accessible it, what does technology have to do with it, and what are the problems that go with it.

What is literature? My English 11 teacher asked this question on our first class meeting. My answer was that it was a medium to transcend to different worlds, and that level of enjoyment was dependent on the “noise” in the medium. However, I’ve learned a whole lot more in my English 11 classes, and even more during the conference. Literature wasn’t only for entertainment, or for information. It’s also a useful way to send messages across people of different social status, ethnicities, interests, ages, genders, and others. Literature can be used as a medium for social, political, and even economical causes.

How is Philippine Literature now? Mr Ian Casocot told of an anecdote. “If you Googled yourself and no results exist, does that mean that you don’t exist?” So he asked, “If you Google ‘Philippine Literature’ and no results come up, does that mean that it doesn’t exist?” Some years ago, I experienced this predicament. I needed online resources on Philippine literature and I ended up having none. Now, if I look up “Philippine Literature” on Google.com, more than 10,000 links turn up. Would that mean that Philippine Literature now exists? It just means that there are now a lot of people who are actually working on it so that the whole world can read and experience our very own literature.

Another panelist said that the best thing that happened to us is the Internet. I guess it’s true, but that is too specific. Aside from the Internet, there’s mobile or wireless technology, which Mr Vim Nadera had told a lot about its use in expanding or broadening our literature – Philippine poetry to be specific. Mr Frank Rivera sends text messages of his poetry to his friends and put these in a collection for his book. In Mr Domingo Landicho’s case though, he stopped sending his poetry text because of the cost.

Aside from SMS, there’s the Internet. Ms Mila Aguilar uses the blog for her students in English 11. Mr Casocot’s Philippine Literature website started as a resource for his own students. Another panelist talked about online consultation for writers. I would suggest discussion boards or forums for real online discussion. People can discuss and reply to replies.

Any teacher or writer can make use of the Internet to help his or her class or spread his or her works. However, there’s a question on accessibility. Not all Filipinos have a computer. Not all Filipinos have Internet access. So whom do these people want to reach? My teacher and her colleagues discussed a little about this. The big problem is economy. This reminds me of a joke I got on email. “The Philippines: where the tourist spots is where Filipinos do not (or cannot) go.”

Technology is heaven sent, yes, I agree, but in a Third World Country such as this, the best thing we could do is let the other countries know what we have, and make do with what we have.

mda said...

Very good, Elizabeth.

As for the rest of you, I must say "very good," too. You worked hard on your analyses. It doesn't matter that some of your pithiest comments come from other authors, because it means that you researched on the matter.

I must caution you, however, on the use of the Internet to reflect other authors' views. You see, the Internet is open to everyone, and it may just so happen that the author who originally espoused the views you reflected, or someone who knows his works, may come upon your essays and accuse you of plagiarism. Remember, plagiarism is not merely lifting whole works and passing it off as your own; it may consist of copying other's IDEAS and passing it off as your own, or lifting as little as an outstanding PHRASE and passing it off as your own.

If an author's critique is so beautiful that you would want to pass it on to others, the trick is to fully acknowldge him/her through your in-text notations as well as endnotes. One of the groups did that, but forgot to pursue their acknowledgements in later paragraphs. Another group was even so careless in its cut-and-paste work as to place the last paragraph of its previous analysis after the last paragraph of the next!

Remember, the Internet is open to everyone, and so is this blog, so if you happen to get sued, don't blame me.

:)

ces said...

The story is a complex one because it is composed of the life stories of the members of that family. The title, “Mothers and Sons”, help the readers to identify the main story. This is a story about two mothers who neglected their children because of their desire to live the lives that they wanted. The first mother loved her husband so much that she was willing to leave all her children behind. The second mother was the youngest daughter of the first mother. When she left her three-month-old child to her mother when she went on the underground and when she came back shows no sign of love for her son show that she neglects her son.
I think this is a short story, a story about change. At first the two characters were hard on their children because they are living only for themselves, according to what will make them happy but when they realized that they can no longer control the ones that they love, they changed and learned the true meaning of love and motherhood. They now live not for themselves but for somebody else. I guess, this is what motherhood is all about.
The theme of the story is love and freedom. If you love someone, you must learn to let him or her go and choose whatever he or she wants to be because if not that person will hate you and will learn to do things that will not please you.
I think that the conflicts between the characters are made by selfishness. But some parts of the story shows how love is misinterpreted as imposing your will to someone. (When the mother wanted the youngest child to be a doctor, the youngest daughter thought that the mother wants to control her life.)
In addition, the story reflects many aspects of life. In reality, children think that their parents are not equal in treating their children. They believe that they are mistreated and the other ones are favored. If this is not corrected, they might carry this until they grow up, like what happened to the only son. He hated his mother and even felt nothing in her death. It is only when the mother is going to be buried that he learned to forgive her.

I think that this is really a work of art, not because it moved me very much, that I wept upon reading it, it is because, for me, everything is well presented. From the characters, that they are nameless in order to let the readers imagine the story as narrated by the youngest child.
I think, she was chosen to be the narrator so that it could show what the only son felt. Flashbacks are also used to support how irresponsible the two mothers were.

The story can be plotted but no in the traditional way because it is complex. The conflict is the mistreatment of the mothers to their children, which results to the hating of children to their parents. The climax is the death of the mother. And the resolution is when all the characters learned to forgive one another.

mda said...

Ces: Cecilia Naca, I suppose? Can't be anyone else, there's no other Ces in class.

You're getting better and better, Ces.