Tuesday, August 13, 2013

“The Woman Who Had Two Navels” (Nick Joaquin) Summary

                The story begins with Connie Escobar, daughter of a politician and a famous beauty, visiting Pepe Monson, a horse doctor, in Hong Kong for a consultation because she has TWO NAVELS. She wanted him to remove her other navel through a surgical operation because if she will be going to give birth, where would the other umbilical cord be connected? In addition, she does not want to become a freak when she has to undress for her husband.  She said she is 30 years old and has just been married hours ago. Then, she told Pepe about a story from her childhood. When she was a child, she thought that everybody has two navels but when she discovered her doll, Minnie, has only one, she threw it into the pond.  Then she told Pepe that her mother is also in Hong Kong. Pepe talked to Senora Concha Vidal and discovered from her that Connie was lying – that she is not 30 years old, only 18; that she was not married a morning just before she came to consult him, but a year ago; that she has only ONE navel. Senora de Vidal also told Pepe that she forced Connie to marry Macho Escobar because Connie was upset about the rumor that her father, Manolo Vidal, spends the public fund to send his children to school. Because Connie was just forced to marry to a man she really does not love, Senora Concha told Pepe that Connie was chasing a bandleader named Paco Texeira, that’s why she is now in Hong Kong. She and Macho followed Connie in Hong Kong they can bring her back to the Philippines. Macho’s reason in taking her back is to avoid humiliation for her politician father by creating a scandal because it is election times in the Philippines. Pepe told Senora de Vidal that Paco is married to Mary and that he and Paco are gradeschool friends. After talking to Senora de Vidal, Pepe went to the Texeira’s.

Cultural Approach on F. Sionil Jose’s “Waywaya”

Waywaya is a short story written by the Filipino writer, F. Sionil Jose. It is originally written in Ilokano, Jose’s native language, and recreates the pre-Hispanic Philippine society (Goodreads, 2013). It is one of the many works of Sionil Jose that was translated into foreign languages, especially English, making Jose the most popular Filipino writer abroad among other Filipino authors -- of course, next to the greatest Filipino writer and patriot, Jose P. Rizal who was martyred in the struggle against Spanish domination (Yabes, 2013). Waywaya, according to F. Sionil Jose, himself, is based on a true story. He explained the story in his regular column, HINDSIGHT, in The Philippine Star (2012):
“Waywaya” is based on a true Papua New Guinea story. Georgina, the wife of the German ethnographer Ulli Beier who headed the Institute of PNG Culture in the early sixties related it. A man kidnapped a woman from an enemy tribe to be his slave but he fell in love with her. When she died, custom demanded that she be returned to her tribe. He did because he truly loved her. As expected, he was killed and eaten by the woman’s relatives.
Waywaya is the Filipino version, specifically Ilokano, of that Papua New Guinea story, with the Ilokano beliefs and traditions and the cultural strain reflected in the short story of Jose. The title itself (Waywaya) is an Ilokano word meaning “freedom” (Jose, 2012).

Philosophical Approach on Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha"

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a Nobel Prize-winner and Hesse’s most famous and influential work. It is a novel that tells a story of a young man who lives a life in search for enlightenment. On his way in this spiritual quest, he neglects every kind of doctrine because of his distrust on the words that come from teachers. He believes that one can gain wisdom not through teachings but through his own experiences. The basic philosophy therefore that the author tries to portray in his work is that man can attain enlightenment or inner peace through personal learnings from experiences not through listening from the teachings of doctrines. This philosophy was embodied in the person of the novel’s hero, Siddhartha.

            Siddhartha is a young son of a Brahmin priest but is not contented from the ablutions, the sacrifices, the books, and the Brahmins’ discourses so he went on his own way of spiritual quest together with his friend, Govinda. His goal is to release his soul from suffering. They first went to the forest to become a Samana but Siddhartha realized that they cannot attain Nirvana (salvation of the soul from suffering) through listening only to the Samana teachers because the adviser himself, in his sixties, had still not attained Nirvana. Then they met Gotama Buddha, the Illustrious One, in his garden in Anarthapindika, and were attracted to the magnificence of the Enlightened One. They listen to one of his lectures and Govinda promised his allegiance to the Buddha. Siddhartha, however continued his pilgrimage for his own goal, leaving Govinda to Gotama. Still, Siddhartha considers Gotama as a man who have reached salvation, but he could not gain salvation through his teachings because Gotama himself did not learn from teachings.

A Reading of William Topaz McGonagall’s “The Demon Drink” In the Light of Plato’s “The Republic”

“The Demon Drink” by William Topaz McGonagall

Oh, thou demon Drink, thou fell destroyer;
Thou curse of society, and its greatest annoyer.
What hast thou done to society, let me think?
I answer thou hast caused the most of ills, thou demon Drink. 

Thou causeth the mother to neglect her child,
Also the father to act as he were wild,
So that he neglects his loving wife and family dear,
By spending his earnings foolishly on whisky, rum and beer. 

And after spending his earnings foolishly he beats his wife-
The man that promised to protect her during life-
And so the man would if there was no drink in society,
For seldom a man beats his wife in a state of sobriety. 

And if he does, perhaps he finds his wife fou',
Then that causes, no doubt, a great hullaballo;
When he finds his wife drunk he begins to frown,
And in a fury of passion he knocks her down. 

And in that knock down she fractures her head,
And perhaps the poor wife she is killed dead,
Whereas, if there was no strong drink to be got,
To be killed wouldn't have been the poor wife's lot. 

Then the unfortunate husband is arrested and cast into jail,
And sadly his fate he does bewail;
And he curses the hour that ever was born,
And paces his cell up and down very forlorn. 

And when the day of his trial draws near,
No doubt for the murdering of his wife he drops a tear,
And he exclaims, "Oh, thou demon Drink, through thee I must die,"
And on the scaffold he warns the people from drink to fly, 

Because whenever a father or a mother takes to drink,
Step by step on in crime they do sink,
Until their children loses all affection for them,
And in justice we cannot their children condemn. 

 The man that gets drunk is little else than a fool,
And is in the habit, no doubt, of advocating for Home Rule;
But the best Home Rule for him, as far as I can understand,
Is the abolition of strong drink from the land.

And the men that get drunk in general wants Home Rule;
But such men, I rather think, should keep their heads cool,
And try and learn more sense, I most earnestlty do pray,
And help to get strong drink abolished without delay. 

If drink was abolished how many peaceful homes would there be,
Just, for instance in the beautiful town of Dundee;
then this world would be heaven, whereas it's a hell,
An the people would have more peace in it to dwell 

Alas! strong drink makes men and women fanatics,
And helps to fill our prisons and lunatics;
And if there was no strong drink such cases wouldn't be,
Which would be a very glad sight for all christians to see. 

O admit, a man may be a very good man,
But in my opinion he cannot be a true Christian
As long as he partakes of strong drink,
The more that he may differently think. 

But no matter what he thinks, I say nay,
For by taking it he helps to lead his brither astray,
Whereas, if he didn't drink, he would help to reform society,
And we would soon do away with all inebriety. 

Then, for the sake of society and the Church of God,
Let each one try to abolish it at home and abroad;
Then poverty and crime would decrease and be at a stand,
And Christ's Kingdom would soon be established throughout the land. 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, pause and think,
And try to abolish the foul fiend, Drink.
Let such doctrine be taught in church and school,
That the abolition of strong drink is the only Home Rule.

            William Topaz McGonagall’s “The Demon Drink” (1890) is a poem that discusses the evils of the Demon Drink and teaches that the abolition of this drink would make increase peaceful homes. This demon drink destroys the society and it is proper that the abolition of this strong drink be taught in church and in school. A man and a woman may behave wildly when he or she is drunk and may promote troubles in the family if this foolishness continues. This theme makes the whole poem of William Topaz McGonagall.

In “The Republic” (360 B.C.), Plato presents Socrates setting the requirements of the stories that are to be read to the children in the State. It must teach a lesson and should not contain false accounts on gods and heroes that will corrupt the youth’s minds into believing that gods and heroes perform evil deeds. Some of the rules in “The Republic”, which are the bases for  discussion in this paper, state that evil acts are unholy, that God causes only good things, that lamentations are not for famous men, that temperance must be taught to the youth, and that Simple Narration is a better style than Imitation.


“Work Without Hope” is a 14-line poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1825. It presents the author’s musing of nature’s busyness in contrast to his emotional self. It is a romantic poem which presents nature as a reflection of beauty and of human’s emotions as well.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, according to Bio.com (2013),

…was born on October 21, 1772 in Devon, England. A friend to poet William Wordsworth, Coleridge was a founder of the English Romantic Movement. His best known poems are "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan," the latter of which was reportedly written under the influence of opium. Coleridge died in 1834.

To help read and analyse the poem “Work Without Hope” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Horace, a Roman Poet, expressed some guidelines of writing Poetry in his work, “Ars Poetica” or “The Art of Poetry”. “Ars Poetica” deals with the art of poetry under three heads: the subject matter, the form, and the poet.
This paper will point out the rules stated by Horace in “Ars Poetica”, which include the Subject-Matter, Diction, Purpose, Form and Content Match, and Feelings, to help read and analyse Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Work Without Hope”.