NAME: Jaime L. An Lim
BORN: January 7, 1946 (Cagayan de Oro
◙ He received his Bachelor of Arts in English degree
cum laude from Mindanao State University in 1968.
◙ He holds five graduate degrees, including an MA in English and Creative Writing
from Silliman University, an Ed. S. in Instructional Systems Technology, and a Ph. D.
in Comparative Literature, both from Indiana University, Bloomington.
◙ A writing fellow at the Silliman National Writers Workshop (1973) and the
UP Writers Workshop (1974).
◙ He won an Honorable Mention for fiction from Focus (1973), a Third Prize
for poetry from Philippines Free Press (1995), a Third Prize for poetry from
Home Life (1995), a Second Prize for fiction from Panorama (1995), and
several Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for fiction in English (1973,
1993), essay (1989), short story for children (1990, 1993), and poetry
◙ For his outstanding achievement in fiction and poetry, he was awarded the
2000 Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas by the Unyon ng mga Manunulat
sa Pilipinas (UMPIL).
◙ For his teaching, the Metrobank Foundation gave him the 2003
Outstanding Teacher Award.
◙ In 1999, he was a fellow to the 25th British Council Seminar on the British
Writer at Downing College, Cambridge.
◙ For a number of years, he taught in the United States and worked as a TESL
consultant at the University of North Sumatra, Indonesia.
◙ He recently retired as a professor of English from MSU-Iligan Institute of
Technology where he organized the Mindanao Creative Writers Group, Inc.,
and founded the Iligan National Writers Workshop.
◙ He is presently the Dean of the Institute of Arts and Sciences of Far Eastern
o the protagonist of the story
o a Catholic Filipino who just had his divorce
o Tom’s ex-wife who moved to the East Coast with their daughter
o Tom and Edith’s ten-year-old daughter
o the manager of the apartment where Tom lives
o Edith’s former fellow worker
o Zoology Department Secretary
o Edith’s American lover
In America, the marriage can be easily trashed. They can
file a divorce paper anytime they want. Unlike in the
Philippines, Filipinos value their family more than
anything not only because of the majority is Catholic but
because Filipinos know how important family is.
After their divorce his wife promptly married her American lover of ten
months and moved out of Bloomington, Indiana, to the East Coast, taking
their ten-year-old daughter along.
The story moves back and forth in time. The life of Tomas and Edith
prior to the divorce feels very familiar. Both are graduate students at Indiana
University in Bloomington:
Tomas and Edith, of course, never traveled during holidays, like most
other foreign students on a strict budget. The Thai occupants of Apt. 312
were home, catching up on their term papers because you could hear a
typewriter thoughtfully going tak tak – tak tak tak-tak. The Japanese couple
in Apt. 301 across the hall were doing their spring cleaning and moving
furniture with a lot of scraping. In Apt. 308, the young El Salvadoran couple,
husband and wife, were sobbing again. Were they homesick? Did they leave
small children behind? Had something terrible happened in their troubled
homeland? It was ironic that, for all the vastness of America, Tomas and
Edith, holed up in Campus View, had seen so little during their long stay in
They had gone outside the state only twice: once to Louisville to
watch the Kentucky Derby and once to Chicago where they visited
the Art Institute and the Museum of Natural History and went up the
Sears Tower to marvel at the dark choppy waters of Lake Michigan
that looked wide as the sea.
Tomas decides to call his wife, in her new home on the East
Coast. The call does not go well; he feels himself begging. His wife
says that perhaps she can take their daughter to visit Dumaguete. He
Later he woke up in the night, sweating, his left leg dead, his
throat dry, as though he had been breathing through his mouth or
pleading in his sleep. When he got up for a drink of water, tiny
needles pricked his numb foot. He looked at his watch. Three o’clock.
Outside the window, the world lay sleeping. Lights lined the streets,
but in Campus View almost all of the apartments were dark. Only the
insomniac in Apt. 511, pursued by some private demon, was
still pacing the floors. Bluish shadows leaped and scuttled around his
room. The rest were in bed, breathing quietly in the healing dark.
Tomas and Edith, both
graduates of University of Indiana
in Bloomington, married and each
other and had a child. They called
Edith filed a divorce for her
marriage with Tomas.
Tomas accepted his fate
that he will grow old alone.
•Man vs Man
Tomas wasn’t able to satisfy Edith’s sexual needs.
Because of this, Edith filed a divorce for their marriage.
The unflinching depiction of acute loneliness.
The story shows that marriage in other countries
doesn’t have much importance. For them, when
a problem arises, divorce is an easy choice.
o The situation of the captive axolotls is similar to
Tomas’ in some ways. His heart was mutilated in
the same way the poor lizards’ bodies are sliced
by scalpels. The lizards cannot cry, but that does
not mean they are not in pain. The same goes for
•DRAMATIC OR PROGRESSIVE PLOT
This is a chronological structure which first
establishes the setting and conflict, then follows the
rising action through to a climax (the peak of the
action and turning point), and concludes with a
denouement (a wrapping up of loose ends).
•FLASHBACK AND SYMBOLISM
The use of the axolotl is as a symbol of Tomas’
struggles clearly shows that in the piece, symbolism
was used. Flashbacks can be seen as well because of
the bits of Tom and Edith’s married life present in
Plot and literary devices used
The story was narrated using the first
person point of view. It can be seen that
the person narrating the story was Tomas
who happened to be the main character of
Point of view
• Philippine Literature Portal. Retrieved from
• Recola, S. (July 12, 2015). The Axolotl Colony.Retrieved from
• TheAmazingAmado. (February 5, 2013).The Precariousness of the
Human Condition as reflected on 5 Filipino Short
Gervacio, Melissa Jane T.
Torres, Andrea Shane M.
STEM - A