Literature: a Tool for Philippine Liberation

Topics: Philippines, Philippine Revolution, Katipunan Pages: 5 (1687 words) Published: October 13, 2008
Literature reflects the culture of a nation. It can serve as a tool to express a feeling and emotion. Remember during the Spanish regime, Rizal exploited the functions of literature. His two novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo contained a lot of subversive themes that sparked the revolution and consequently the victory over the Spaniards. Literature is deeply rooted in the culture of a nation. Stories and poems reflect the local color of its origin. The poem "Stopping by the Woods" by Robert Frost may not be too appealing to local readers because of the presence of snow in the poem. Our geography doesn't allow us to experience snow. Ildefonso Santos' poem "Katlea," on other hand, shows more local color. Cattleya is a flower that even an ordinary Filipino knows. Thus, learning others should be in second priority we must first learn when did our nationalistic approach in making articles in any genres of literature started. The period of enlightenment indeed is the main topic of this research. It aimed to delve the causes of great evolution of literature during this period.

Spain already ruled the Philippines for at least 300 years before Philippine nationalism was developed. Towards the 19th century, the bureaucratic centralized government established in Manila had caused widespread discontent in the entire archipelago, but there was yet no united front against the Spanish Regime. Not until the martyrdom of the Gomburza. Gomburza is an acronym for Fathers Mariano Gómez, José Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, three Filipino priests who were executed on February 17, 1872 by Spanish colonial authorities on trumped-up charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny. Their unjust execution enraged and left a profound and bitter effect on many Filipinos, especially José Rizal, the national hero, who, himself, was to suffer a mock trial leading to his execution. Thus, the start of the period of enlightenment. Literature, if not totally, changed into a more nationalistic in its approach. This period is divided mainly in two sub-periods --- the propaganist period and revolutionist period. When we say propagandist, they are refered to those who seek fairness through reforms. They intend to deliver their reclaims through writings. Poetry, essays, novels, editorial write-ups are the predominant genres in this time. On the other hand, revolutionist movement is the who seek liberty up to extent of sacrificing their own life. Driven by great rage, Andres Bonifacio lead the movement in its way to absolute freedom. Together with his compatriots, they fought the Spaniards with all their might. At the same time, these heroes wrote some nationalistic poems, essays and also stories expressing their sense of nationalism. This two periods contributed a lot to Philippine literature for it is the time when the people tried to travel the world of free writing.

A group of Filipino ilustrados in Madrid, shocked by what they saw as the disparity between Spain and her colony, organized the "Propaganda Movement". Among its members were Rizal, Lopez-Jaena, the political exile Marcelo del Pilar, Mariano Ponce, and the Luna brothers--Juan and Antonio. They published a fortnightly newspaper in Spanish called La Solidaridad. Its aim was to expose corruption and atrocities in the Philippine colony. The publication lasted from 1889 to 1895. Copies of it were smuggled into the Philippines and were read surreptitiously behind closed doors. The filipinos who were influenced by liberal concepts were the same people who benefited from foreign trade--the ilustrados, members of the prosperous merchant class who sent their sons to study at universities in Spain and elsewhere in Europe. Many of these students, chief among them Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez-Jaena, would organize a reform organization, called the Propaganda Movement. Some prominent people who contributed in the...
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