Theirs is apparently not a happy marriage, Belle and her husband’s. Belle and her husband live together but seem to inhabit different worlds apart from the home they share and the community in which they live. Inside themselves, a complex array of thoughts and emotions stir, torturing them all and complicating all their lives. Divide by Two by Francisco Arcellana is not just a peep into a moment of a married couple – it is a trickily structured short story, an artistic execution of the Iceberg Theory. The focus is on Belle’s husband, the narrator of the story. By zeroing in on how he narrates the story, one takes a closer view of what really happens in their home, and what his real relationship with his wife is. Also, by understanding what he feels and thinks, one understands the meaning behind the title and the symbolisms manifested in the literary work. The story is eighty percent dialogue consisting of mostly repetitive structure as regards to how Belle’s husband relates the story – I said, Belle said. Apparently, it wasn’t written to show who said what. The repetition gave itself away and that it wasn’t geared neither toward information nor clarification. Instead, it is to signify separation. They were two different beings, not united. Not one. Another example took place when he went to his room to get some clothes. D2
Actually, he never referred to this room as “our room”. It was they – he and Belle – who were “divided by two.” Apparently, he isn’t paying attention to what Belle was saying. He keeps on asking her to repeat. His body feels exhausted and whatever Belle was saying doesn’t interest him as much as the sound of the piano music which Wife Y was playing did. In almost every movement or his change of loci, his sense of the house is marked by how clear he heard the piano music, The Turkish March from Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11. --to make the right decision to maximise personal gains
--In this story, the theme for me is about the problems of a couple, especially husband and wife, In this story, I think it is like having two wifes or husband, or like having an affair with someone even though you already have ur husband or wife. “She is no Turk but she keeps playing the Turkish March,” Belle said. Even his awareness of Belle is magnified by the piano music, or the lack of it.
I wondered why now the words kept ringing clear to me. Then I felt and sensed that the piano had been stilled. Suddenly the night was silent, suddenly the air was still. But what Belle was trying to bring into his consciousness might have been of critical importance. The story jumpstarted abruptly, introducing the situation without further ado, a sign that the problem was of considerable intensity. Yet he took it as something close to hokum, if anything at all. When the piano music stops, he turned on his music player.
I rose from the lounging chair. I walked to the globe-traveler near the wall outlet, plugged the cord in and snapped the lid open. Belle followed me. I was playing the range disk for music when Belled leaned forward and snapped the lid shut. Again, this scenario shows his indifference toward Belle. He doesn’t want to listen to his personal audio tracks. If he does, he could have done so even while the piano music was still on. Instead, he turns on his music player because the piano music stopped. What he might have wanted was a distraction, a reason not to listen to Belle. But Belle is quick in cutting him off from another source of distraction. And thus he is forced to listen.
Belle thinks ill of Wife Y and points out that that Wife Y must have hated her and her friendliness or Husband X’s friendliness toward her. But Belle’s husband doesn’t think it’s appropriate either.
“She doesn’t like me.” Belle said. “And she doesn’t like anyone to like me… when he gave me flowers from her garden, I don’t think she liked that.”
“Who would?” I asked. “Maybe the flowers weren’t such a good idea either.”
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