Louis Andrei Zabala
In A Grove
It is a story that provides the ultimate explanation of how two different people who are witnesses to a crime give completely different psychological recollections of the same event. The author reminds us that truth depends on the telling. Someone must step forward and tell that truth.
I believe that no matter how many times you read "In A Grove," there's not enough information in the story to figure out the truth about what took place on the day of the samurai's death, but it's still fun to sort out what you think you know for sure, what seems highly probable, what seems highly improbable, and what doesn't fit into any of these three categories. But for me, "In A Grove" isn't about searching for some kind of absolute truth it's about how differently people perceive the same external event. The best example in the story of what I mean by this is perhaps the sword fight between the bandit and the samurai. The bandit perceived it as a heroic duel between a pair of honorable, expert swordsmen while the woodsman saw two scared, clumsy men stumbling around with swords in their hands as each tried desperately to prevail over the other any way he could. When it's all said and done, you won't know who is telling the truth, who is lying and, most importantly, why.
Yet the parable is more important, today, perhaps, as a lesson in how we construct the narratives upon which justice depends: What facts must we know to decide the truth? That question makes the author's inquiry the concern of those who now seek justice in the GMA presidency, as well.
And it doesn't matter one bit. The writer isn't interested in truth, lies or anything of the sort. He's interested in reality, and the reality of human truth is that no one will ever really know it. Did vice-president Noli de Castro really cheat? We'll never know. He could come on TV tonight and say he did it, and half of the...
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