A SEASON OF GRACE BY: NVM GONZALEZ
In his 1957 novel, A season of grace, Gonzalez combines the narrative restraints, density of detail, and ironic sensibility of New Criticism and simultaneously conveys a strong sense of place, mythic time, and the importance of anthropological ‘’life symbols,’’ which he had learned from reading Campbell and other myth critics. The novel represents gonzalez’s vision of the phillipines, his passionate feeling for the land and the rural folk who labor upon it. Gonzalez is a master of understatement, of showing not telling, and of rich descriptions that create a ‘’semblance’’ of life. He describe the rich landscape and the everyday activities of an archetypal husband and wife, Doro and Sabel, swidden farmers from the island of Tara-Poro who migrate by boat to sipolog and establish a new life working the land there. As the critic Richard Guzman has argued, Gonzalez is less concerned with chronological events than with embedding everyday events into the cyclical rhythm of mythic time. The protagonists suffer hardship caused by human and natural causes, including a usurious tenancy system, corrupt police officials, and the onslaught of rodents, but they are not perfect; they endure their sufferings with dignity, honesty, if not a sense of humor, only to undergo the same process all over again the next season. Moreover, the central life symbol of the novel, the coconuts that wash up on the shore of the island of Mindoro originating from other islands, come to symbolize the very values of the people and their commitment to rooting themselves in the land. This commitment to the land-that is , the determination to plant seeds upon it on to be washed away-is, for Gonzalez, what distinguishes the authentic from the unauthentic , who can be regarded as a native and who will remain a ‘’foreigner.’’ For instance, the antithesis of Doro and Sabel are Epe Ruda, a firewood ‘’concessionaire,’’ and Tiaga Ruda, his wife. Like...
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