First and foremost, I would like to tell my first encounter with this book. In my senior year in high school, my English teacher told us that one of his favourite novels is the “Mass” by F. Sionil Jose. My seatmate that time seconded and told me that F. Sionil Jose is her favourite author but I didn’t have any reaction because of the fact that I don’t know him or ever heard his creations. When I first heard the title of this book, the thought that entered my mind is the ceremony done in church and I was surprised that the mass that has been referred is a group of people or even a nation. I thought my reading will be super boring because of the theme but I was wrong, instead of being super boring it was SUPERB! Comparing this novel from Amapola, this one is much serious than Amapola not only because of the theme but also the mood of the characters. Even though the story is serious, F. Sionil didn’t miss to insert humors on his novel using his primary character. The story is very realistic because of the setting which is during Marcos’ regime and the experiences of the characters involved. The whole story revolves around Jose “Pepe” Samson who is also the storyteller of the book. He is an illegitimate child because his mother and his father were cousins. Pepe doesn’t know much of his father because her aunt and her mother decided to keep it because for them, it is the best thing to do. He considers his hometown, Cabugawan, as limbo because of the poverty and difficulty of living there. Because of that, he and her mother agreed that he will take up college in Manila and be like his father. But he doesn’t want to be like his father because first, he didn’t even know or even see his father and second, he thinks that his father doesn’t care for them at all. Jose Samson is the main character in the story. He loves his mother as much as he hates his father. He is an intelligent and clever man but sometimes, he is lazy and naughty. He is a happy go lucky person and doesn’t know what he really wants. When he arrived at his uncle’s house, he met Lucy, the helper of his uncle and auntie. In his few weeks of staying, he had a sex with her. He already had a” relationship” with a woman even though he was new in the city. His mother is away from him and maybe, having a relationship with other is a way to make him feel that he is loved. He just realized that he has a tendency to make love easily with others that he didn’t experience in Cabugawan and that makes him feel to be free at last. He also met Kuya Nick, a neighbour of him. Kuya Nick is a pusher and dealer of drugs. He convinced Pepe to be a “delivery boy” to his clients and Pepe hesitantly agreed because of the high payment that Kuya Nick promised. But this job of Jose didn’t take long because he realized that the job is too dangerous for him. One of the most sympathetic characters in this novel is Augusto “Toto” Salcedo. He is a loyal friend of Pepe and he “treated” Pepe not only siopao but most of all, as a brother. Even though sometimes, Pepe seemed to have no care to Toto, he insisted himself to Pepe. Toto said that when he first met Pepe, he knew that he is truthful. Toto, probably wants to have a real brother because of the fact that he came from an orphanage and doesn’t know who his parents are but he doesn’t have any hard feelings towards them unlike Pepe towards his father. Pepe is luckier than Toto because he has a mother. There are moments in the novel that marked my mind like the argument between Pepe and Toto about the revolution. Toto is very optimistic that they could make it through but Pepe is not that much optimistic and doesn’t want to be involved in the Brotherhood not only because he had “utang na loob” to Toto because he always treated him. Father Jess is the father figure of Toto. Toto invited Pepe to come visit Father Jess. Pepe became interested in Tondo and lived there. He built a group in Tondo that can make projects for the betterment of the...
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