Charmaine C. Carpio AB English 4Prefinal and Final Examination in Literary Criticism The Bicol Region is one of the 17 regions in the Philippines. It is found at thesoutheasterm end of Luzon Island. It consists of six provinces – Albay, Camarines Norte,Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon. Even before the Spaniards came, the ancient Bicolanos had already their own richculture (http://www.wowbicol.com/profile.htm). Since the Philippines had been colonized bydifferent colonizing powers, it did not escape the effects of the colonization. This is also true toBicol Region since Bicol is part of the Philippines. Evidences of the colonizers can be foundalmost everywhere. Some people are against the effects of the colonization and createdmovements to revitalize those have been affected by the colonial process especially theliteratures of the third world countries. Many critics formulated theories to criticize differentliterary pieces. Therefore, this paper will try to criticize one literary piece using three literarytheories. The literary poces that this paper will try to criticize is Wings. Wings is one of the storiesfrom the book Nagueños. Nagueños is written by Carlos Ojeda Aureus in 1997. Nagueños is acollection of stories in which characters are comples and varied as stained glass. It has differentcharacters that Aureus portrays with sympathy, affection, wit, irony, compassion,understandinf, humor yet never pronounces judgment(http://www.kabayancentral.com/book/up/mb5421466.html). Before criticizing the text, we must first define what literature is and what is consideredas literature.
Literature is any form of language that reflects a group of individuals’ daily lifeexperiences. It mirrors the kind of culture a certain group has. It also gives us a glimpse of whatthey believe in so we are able to experience to be part of their culture. Literature is not onlylimited to the positive ones, it has also its negative counterpart. To be called literature, it mustbe valued by a group of individuals (Lecture notes, Conde 2010). The theories to be used in criticizing the literary piece, Wings, are Post-colonial theoryparticularly Hybridity, Romance Mode and Subjectivity. To give us an idea of what each theorymeans, each theory will be defined. Postcolonial theory is a movement to give honor to the literatures and cultures that havebeen affected by the colonial process. It puts a high value on the native pure literatures andcultures. Among the different theories under the Post-colonial Theory, this paper will focus onusing Hybridity. According to Bhabha (1994, 1996) defined hybridity as a process by which the colonizerundertakes to transform the identity of the colonized within a singular universal framework,but fails producing something familiar but new. Furthermore, Hoogvelt (1997) as stated inMeredith (1998) stated hybridity is a celebrated and privileged as a kind of superior culturalintelligence owing to the advantage of in-between ness, the straddling of two cultures and theconsequent ability to negotiate the difference. More importantly, Bhabha (1994) stated that the“new” culture formed represents the cultural difference of the colonizer and the colonized.Rutherford (1990) claimed that hybridity does not aim to trace two different cultures fromwhich the hybrid culture emerges; rather hybridity enables other cultures to emerge.
The second theory is the Romance Mode. According to Conde (2011), Romance mode isa pattern in literature and life which fuses metaphoric fantasy and empirical reality andemphasizes the triumph of the positive over the negative. Literatures in the Romance Modedeals with the hero’s quest for another person, or a precious object, and in the process he arrivesat a deeper insight into his identity and the motif of the journey into some unknown world,whether the idyllic or demonic, frequently frames the narrative. Also, in the romance mode,characters often create an ideal world where they can escape the harshness of reality. The third theory that this paper will use is Subjectivity. Sousa (2002) defined subjectivityas theme common to many of those philosophers eager to reduce the ambitions of cognitivescience. He argued that persons differ from all other things in that they cannot be exhaustivelydescribed in the third person. Belsey (1985) stated that subjectivity is the condition of being asubject in discourse. It is “a matrix of subject positions which may be inconsistent and even incontradiction with one another. Subjectivity means that a subject or individual has overlappingbeliefs. Thus the three literary theories can be used in criticizing the text Wings. The followingare evidences that the three literary theories can really be used in criticizing Wings.Postcolonial Theory Wings contains both Christian and non-Christian elements. According to Karnow (1989)and Constantino (1974) as mentioned in Yango (2009), Christianity has largely evolved andaccommodated itself to the local culture which primarily practices folk religion. It has alteredthe forms but barely touched the deep-level meanings of culture of the belief-system of thepeople by controlling religious institutions.
The main character in the story is a devout Catholic. He firmly believes in God and forhim flying is against God’s will. He believes that flying is suicide which is a mortal sin. “Flying is unnatural, chico. It defies the laws of nature. It goes against God’s will. It is suicide, and suicide is a mortal sin” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños, page 71). The character’s belief in God was also shown when he offered eggs to CarmeliteMonastery. Offering eggs means to have a safe travel and that it would not rain. He also went toa pilgrimage to Agoo, it is the place in La Union where it was said that the Virgin Mary hadappeared to Judiel Nierva in 1987 until 1993 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiel_Nierva). “…cleaned up my desk, donated eggs to the Carmelite monastery…made a quick pilgrimage to Agoo” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños page 73). Also, the main character in the story believes that when he dies he will be judgedaccording to his sins. Thinking about the possibility of dying in plane crash, he prayed to Godthat he is sorry for committing the Sixth and the Ninth Commanments, which are “You shallnot commit adultery” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” In addition, he will doanything religious if God will spare his life. He will make a panata and suffered what Christ hassuffered. He will wore a crown of barbed wire (instead of crown of thorns), have his backwhipped with a homemade whip with glass shards at the end and have him nailed to the cross. “Lord, I’m heartily sorry for all my sins against the Sixth and Ninth commandments… Lord, I’ll do anything religious if you spare my life…I’ll make a panata…I’ll wear a crown of barbed wire, Lord, I’ll whip myself with a home-made whip…I’ll have myself nailed to the cross…” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños, page 79).
Romance Mode The main character in the story created his ideal world. He fantasizes about things thatmade him escape the harshness of reality that is being a bachelor. The main character wasalready fifty years old and still single. This is because of his fear of women, particularlybeautiful women. He feared women because of a bad experience when he was in elementary. He referred to the woman speaking in the microphone as an ecdysiast which means astriptease artist. “Pull tab, the voice says, to activate the light and this pretty girl does just that with all the sensuousness of an ecdysiast” (Aurues, 1997 in Nagueños, page 76). Also, he imagined himself asking a stewardess for assistance in fastening his seatbeltand at the same time, imagined that stewardess flirting with him. “I need help with this seat belt…Easy does it sir, just pull this and insert this, here let me do it for you, and her hands would slide down, no, not down there, not below the seat belt, ahay, not below my belt, not that low, not in there, ohh, not inside there, ahaaay, hi-hi-hi-hi. Lecherous goat.” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños, page 76). He also referred to one of the stewardess going down the stairs as the Nude Descendinga Staircase. This is a painting of Marcel Duchamp which caused scandal in 1913. “I take one last look at the palne before I leave…How gorgeous, how ravishingly pretty, how body beautiful, how symmetrical: Nude Descending a Staircase.” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños, page 78).
Subjectivity The main character has overlapping beliefs. He is a devout Catholic but he believes insuperstitions. These two beliefs contradict with each other. “Flying is unnatural, chico. It defies the laws of nature. It goes against God’s will. It is suicide, and suicide is a mortal sin” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños, page 71). “I’m afraid of black cats, open spaces, computers, ladders, and the number 13. I’m allergic to dust, tall buildings…I’m also a hypochondriac. I’m afraid my migraine is a symptom of a brain. (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños page 73). Also, the main character acknowledges science and at the same is a firm believer of God. “As soon as I’m in, I show my ticket to the guard (all right.. I’ll place my luggage on the belt of the X-ray machine…)” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños page 74). He also associated the jouncing of the plane and the roaring of the engines as a sign ofcrashing down and colliding with other planes. The character loves Bicol, however, he hasbecome a fan of foreign movies, actors and actresses. He mentioned a lot of names, foreignnames that shows that he is subjected. “I love coming home because my mother lives in Naga and refuses to move in Manila. Not that I have to. But I’d take every opportunity to come home no matter how long it took because I, too, love everything about Naga” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños page 72). “All great mena and women before Kitty Hawk…Socrates, Plato, Cleopatra, Taras Balba…” (Aureus, 1997 in Nagueños page 70).
Conclusion Evidences presented in this paper revealed the richness of Bicol culture. Although thereare traces of the effects of the colonial process, one can still see Bicol culture itself. Postcolonialtheory showed the presence of the mixture of different cultures producing a “new” culture.Ashcroft, B., et al. (1989) argued that hybridity rebut the idea that cultural practices can returnto some “pure” and untarnished cultural condition, and that such practices themselves, such asthe use of vernacular terms or grammatical forms in literature, can embody authenticity. Also, romance mode is present everywhere. People romanticize and create an idealworld of their own to escape the harshness of reality. It allows an individual and as well as thereaders to incorporate fantasy in reality. Furthermore, subjectivity shows that an individual or subject can be exposed withmultiple beliefs, knowledge and feelings that are contradicting with one another.
ReferencesReyes (1991). The romance mode in Philippine popular literature and other essays. Philippines: De la Salle University.Ashcroft, B. et al. (1989). The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-ColonialLiteratures. London, Routledge.Bhabha, H.K. (1994). The Location of Culture: "The commitment to theory. London, Routledge Hoogvelt, A. (1997). Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New PoliticalEconomy of Development. Baltimore, The John Hopkins University Press. Ingleby, J. (2006). Hybridity or The Third Space and How Shall We Describe theKingdom of God. Redcliffe College. Retrieved January 7, 2011 from www.redcliffe.org/mission. Jefferson, A. (1999). Establishing Literary Independence: Hybridity in ZimbabweanLiterature. Brown University. Retrieved January 7, 2011 fromhttp://www.postcolonialweb.org/zimbabwe/antwan/3.html. Meredith, Paul (1998). Hybridity in the Third Space: Rethinking Bi-cultural Politics inAotearoa/New Zealand. New Zealand: Waikato Rutherford, J. (1990). The Third Space: Interview with Homi Bhabha. Identity,Community, Culutre, Difference. J. Rutherford. London, Lawrence and Wishart: 207-221 Yango, E. (2009). Towards a Hermeneutic of Affirmation for Local Theologizing inClosed Access Communities. Retrieved January 7, 2011 from file:///D:/filipino%20colonial%20mentality%20%C2%AB%20MUPT%20%E2%80%93%20Center%20for%20Research%20in%20Urban%20and%20Intercultural%20Studies.htm.________ (2006). Hybridity: Disruption and Ambivalence. Retrieved January 7, 2011 from Hybridity.htm.Conde, J. (2009). Voices of Silence. Philippines: Ateneo de Naga University.
Conde, J. (2010). Lecture NotesConde, J. (2010). Post-Colonial Theory Handout.Conde, J. (2010). Romance Mode Handout.