Direction and Purpose
Metaphors provide creative images for readers. They give flavor to literature and allow free interpretation of a piece; thereby making a conversation in a story, an image in a poem, a symbolism in the plot and such, more interesting. Through the use of such a figure of speech, the images are laid bare and presented fresh. This creates an interaction between the reader, the author and the piece; as readers are made to analyze the images presented and the idea that the metaphor is trying to introduce. It seems the poem, "Manila", efficiently develops the metaphor that is the Philippines society during the colonial era, through a timeline. It takes the problem of colonial Manila into the modern Filipino mindset. The poem begins with an introduction [Lines 1-3], which gives us the first glimpse of the similarities between the city of Manila and the hermit crab. The succeeding stanzas [4-8] elaborate the physical conditions of the country's capital and finally, the poem concludes [l9-14] with the mentality upheld by the nation. To appreciate how metaphors lay bare Espino's "Manila", let us analyze the imagery create in the poem, line by line.
Unlike most poems, "Manila" begins with an epigraph from Nick Joaquin, which reads: "Dust and crabs, dust and crabs." We can assume that this quote gives a foreview of what Federico Espino's poem will highlight. Though very little is conveyed in this line, we are able to suppose that the metaphor will hold significance to the poem proper. Dust may be described as either something that depicts age or some remains of an explosion. We also know of crabs as an animal that crawls and has claws. Crabs are also able to survive on land for short periods of time and can literally live on dust.
"Manila" begins with the line: "A hermit crab beside the tide of times," if we look at the concept of the hermit crabs as a description of Manila, the line merely tells us that time has passed. It tells us that Manila has...
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