Francisco Arcellana Francisco "Franz“ Arcellana (September 6, 1916 – August 1, 2002) was a Filipino writer, poet, essayist, critic, journalist and teacher. He was born on September 16, 1916. Arcellana already had ambitions of becoming a writer during his years in the elementary. His actual writing, however, started when he became a member of The Torres Torch Organization during his high school years. Arcellana continued writing in various school papers at the University of the Philippines Diliman . He later on received a Rockfeller Grant and became a fellow in creative writing the University of Iowa and Breadloafs writers conference from 1956- 1957.
He is considered an important progenitor of the modern Filipino short story in English. Arcellana pioneered the development of the short story as a lyrical prose-poetic form within Filipino literature. His works are now often taught in tertiary-level-syllabi in the Philippines. Many of his works were translated into Tagalog, Malaysian, Russian, Italian, and German. Arcellana won 2nd place in 1951 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, with his short story, "The Flowers of May." 14 of his short stories were also included in Jose Garcia Villas Honor Roll from 1928 to 1939. His major achievements included the first award in art criticism from the Art Association of the Philippines in 1954, the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan award from the city government of Manila in 1981, and the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas for English fiction from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipino (UMPIL) in 1988. Francisco Arcellana was proclaimed National Artist of the Philippines in Literature in 1990.
Characters: Mr. Angeles (Jaime) - the head of Angeles family Emilia (Miling) - wife of Mr. Angeles Marcelina, Jose, Antonio, Juan, Jesus, Susanna, and Alfonso - children of Mr. and Mrs. Angeles Josefina, Victoria, and Concepcion - dead family members.
Summary: For the Angeles family, Mr. Angeles; homecoming from his periodic inspection trips was always an occasion for celebration. But his homecoming--from a trip to the South--was fated to be more memorable than, say, of the others. He had written from Mariveles: "I have just met a marvelous mat weaver--a real artist--and I shall have a surprise for you. I asked him to weave a sleeping-mat for every one of the family. He is using many different colors and for each mat the dominant color is that of our respective birthstones. I am sure that the children will be very pleased. I know you will be. I can hardly wait to show them to you." Nana Emilia read the letter that morning and again and again every time she had a chance to leave the kitchen. In the evening when all the children were home from school she asked her oldest son, José, to read the letter at dinner table. The children became very much excited about the mats, and talked about them until late into the night. This wrote her husband when she labored over a reply to him. For days after that, mats continued to be the chief topic of conversation among the children.
Mr. Angeles travelled to southern Philippines and bought matsfor his wife and children. Each mat has the correspondingname of all his living offspring, even those who already died.When he arrived home from his trip, he presented the mats tohis family. As he unfolds one mat after another, he narratedthe emotions, longings and beautiful memories they have hadas a family. The sorrow heightened when the last two mats heopened are for his dead children who made his wife reactedwith grief, and told Mr. Angeles that there is no need for him toopen those mats for the two were already dead.At that point, Mr. Angeles cried with pain while telling his wifethat his children must always be in their memory no matterwhere they are now.
Theme: The theme of The Mats covers family and Filipino values. The closeness of family has always been a major Filipino value - respect for the elders and parents, the stability of parents marriage, equality of siblings, so on and so forth. The Mats dissects these when it paints a picture of the relationships of the various members of the family. When Mr. Angeles brings out mats even for his children who are no longer with them, it shows that the love between members of a Filipino family transcends even death. The mats were the ideal archetype to use here because they are carefully handcrafted and woven, the threads and strips tied tightly together. A Filipino family is like a mat or banig, with its members bound tightly together too.
Symbolism: the relationships of the various members of the family. the Filipinos have strong family ties and the mats have bonded that tie till death. A very sentimental write. Arcellanas story would indeed capture the Filipino readers by heart for his brilliant display of emotions by using only one symbolism-THE MAT.