“Generations” by Ninotchaka Rosca was set in a feudal and parliamentary time period. From the title of the short story, we could get a hint of what story we are getting ourselves into. Through close reading of the story, we could see that the plot revolve about the three generations of the family of Old Selo. The first generation is Old Selo himself and also his wife. The second is his abusive son and the mother. The third is about his two grandsons but focused mostly on his granddaughter.
Through the story, we could decipher the different reactions and actions taken by the characters when they encounter problems that come from the feudal and parliamentary system that they have.
First, we have Old Selo who was part of a national society of peasants when he was young. It is ironic that when he turned old, he was scared of his own abusive son. Although he did made attempt to fight for his son’s rice, we could still see the difference of his weakness from the young Selo who “gathered in the empty schoolhouse during evenings and had made plans for the future.” But if we compared the Old Selo to Dr. Jose Rizal’s version of Tata Selo, we could see that Old Selo was more of an activist than Tata Selo when they were young. Old Selo’s wife even need to burn stubborn Old Selo’s hand to save him from the landlords. Ironically, Old Selo was much more of a weakling than Tata Selo when Tata Selo was able to make attempt to rescue Juli while in contrast, Old Selo was not able to do anything to save his son nor his granddaughter. He was “curled like a gnome in the corner” when his own son returned home drunk and abusive.
Compared to Rizal’s Kabesang Tales, Old Selo’s son was the entire opposite. Kabesang Tales turned out to be a bandit, he kills people for revenge. While on the other hand, when Old Selo’s son was abused by the power of the landlords and laws of the parliamentary system, he gets drunk and proves to be a weakling by confronting two...
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