Analysis of Footnote to Youth

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In Jose Garica Villa's Footnote to Youth, he tackles the responsibilities and realities that come with marriage and the family life. In it, he narrates the story of Dodong, wherein we are introduced to Dodong when he is seventeen and seeking to marry his love Teang. He is problematic over how he intends to talk to his father about marrying Teang, going over the possible responses his father would give, and at the same time convincing himself that he is old enough to handle the responsibility. On his way home, he makes a stop to relieve himself. The ground was broken up into many fresh wounds and fragrant with a sweetish, earthy smell. Many slender soft worms emerged from the furrows and then burrowed again deeper into the soil. The appearance of the worms and the occurrence of one worm crawling over Dodong's foot is of great importance to the story, as it serves as a revealing of Dodong's character and future. A short colorless worm marched blindly towards Dodong's foot and crawled clammily over it. Dodong got tickled and jerked his foot, flinging the worm into the air. Several characteristics attributed to the worm can also be reflected back onto Dodong's story, particularly the fact that the short worm was crawling blindly. It would be interesting to note, as well, the connection this worm crawling over Dodong's foot has with Jose Garcia Villa's title. A footnote is simply defined as a note at the foot of the page. It is often used to give additional information to the reader regarding certain words or phrases in the text. And yet the author includes no actual footnotes in the story. As such, Jose Garcia Villa is obviously trying to put forth certain themes and messages regarding youth and life through the use of a short story. The message that comes forth to the reader through the reading of the story, then, is what we may refer to as his footnote. However, an interesting alternative suggestion may lie within the story itself, particularly with the worm depicted in the story. The worm is described as blindly marching towards Dodong's foot, which is exactly how we could also describe Dodong and his choices in this story. Dodong blindly marched into marriage, expecting his life to become better. However, that is not what happened. Instead, after nine months Teang was pregnant with his child, and he felt incredibly unprepared: In a few moments he would be a father. 'Father, Father,' he whispered the word with awe, with strangeness. He was young, he realized now, contradicting himself nine months ago. He was very young... He felt queer, troubled, uncomfortable.... In addition to that, for six successive years, Dodong and Teang kept having children. At this point, Teang began to feel unhappy in their marriage. She cried sometimes, wishing she had not married. She did not tell Dodong this, not wishing him to dislike her. Yet she wished she had not married. Not even Dodong whom she loved. It is interesting to note here that Teang still claims to love Dodong despite the hardships they have gone through. It should also be noted that Yet she wished she had not married, is a sentence that is separated from Not even Dodong whom she loved, meaning it is the act of marrying at a young age that she regrets, not the fact that it is Dodong whom she married. Not marrying Dodong was only an after-thought. The story goes on, however, to describe another suitor Teang had, Lucio, who was older than Dodong by nine years. Lucio had married another after her marriage to Dodong, but he and his wife were childless until now. If she had married Lucion, she wondered, would she have borne him children? Maybe not, either. That was a better lot. But she loved Dodong.... Here we are given a clearer picture about her unhappiness and disappointment. It is particularly regarding child-bearing at a young age that Teang is unhappy with. ...would she have borne him children? Maybe not, either. That was a better lot. The regret she feels about the marriage,...
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