CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF “THE GOD STEALER”
"The God Stealer" is a short story by Filipino National Artist F. Sionil José. It is José's most anthologized work of fiction. It is not just a tale about an Ifugao stealing a religious idol, but also about the friendship that developed between a Filipino and an American, a representation of the relationship that developed between the "colonized" and the "colonizer".
The main characters in "The God Stealer" are Philip Latak and Sam Cristie. Philip, also known as Ip-pig, is an Ifugao who became a Christian and lived in Manila. By becoming a city dweller, Philip became less sentimental with his cultural identity, beliefs, and customs. His name was derived from the word Philippines. On the other hand, Sam Christie was an American who wanted to view the rice terraces of the Mountain Province (also known as the Cordilleras). He was also interested in purchasing an original figurine of an Ifugao god. His name was derived from Uncle Sam, a representation of the United States. Philip and Sam were co-workers.
The story begins with two officemates, Philip Latak (an Ifugao from the Mountain Province now working in Manila) and Sam Cristie, an American on the bus to Baguio. Philip (Ip-pig) now lives in Manila against the wishes of his immediate family, particularly his grandfather who intended to bequeth to Philip his share of the famous rice terraces. They are on their way to Baguio for one purpose: Sam wants to buy a genuine Ifugao god as souvenir and Philip was to help him find an authentic one through his local connections.
Philip is a Christian who no longer has any respect or affection for the Ifugao customs and religion. He considers himself a city boy and has no inclination to return to mountain life. Despite this attitude, his grandfather is pleased to see him and decides to throw a big party in his honor. On the day of the party, Sam and Philip discovered that no Ifugao is willing...
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