The Woman Who Had Two Navels is an award-winning 1961 historical novel by Nick Joaquin, aNational Artist for Literature and leading English-language writer from the Philippines. It is considered a classic in Philippine literature. It was the recipient of the first Harry Stonehill award. It tells the story of a Filipino elite woman who is hallucinating, and is preoccupied with the notion the she has two navels or belly buttons in order to be treated as an extraordinary person. Thematic description
This novel by Joaquin is a literary assessment of the influence of the past to the time encompassing events in the Philippines after World War II, an examination of an assortment of legacy and heritage and the questions of how can an individual exercise free will and how to deal with the “shock” after experiencing “epiphanic recognition”. Main characters
Among the characters conjured by Joaquin are the Manolo Vidal and his family, Connie Escobar, Esteban and Concha Borromeo, Father Tony, Paco Texeira, and Doctor Monson, a former rebel hiding in Hong Kong to avoid postwar trials. Connie Escobar, the lead female character, was described by literary critic Epifanio San Juan as a sufferer of her mother’s estrangement from a world where unconfident males take advantage ofwomen by violating them or by venerating them. Connie is married to Macho Escobar, a man who had an affair with Connie’s mother, a past incident that serves as an “umbilical cord” or "umbilicus", a remnant connected to her present and future because of her refusal to leave the issue in the past. According to Epifanio San Juan, the character of Manolo Vidal is the embodiment of the Filipino nationalistic bourgeois who were once critical of the theocracy of the Spaniards but became transformed puppets and servants of these colonialists. While, on the other hand, Macho Escobar is not a revolutionary but a member of the dehumanized clan of hacenderos or landlords of...
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