Children of the Ash-covered Loam, N.V.M Gonzalez (Filipino Literary Classics) © 1992 Bookmark, Inc.
Reviewed by GRSays
Children in the Ash-covered Loam is the third book and second volume of stories by N.V.M Gonzalez. It was set in Manila and Mindoro. The first three stories happened in the rural areas of Manila all in all there are seven stories in this book namely: “Children of the Ash-covered Loam”, “Lupo and the Riverbank”, The Blue Skull and the Dark Palms”, “The Morning Star”, “A Warm Hand”, “Where’s my Baby Now”, and “The Sea Beyond”. I’ve chosen this book to review on for as the first glance I’m quite struck on its title and curious about the story within and important matters to know about. The Author of the book is one the great and most skillful writers in the Philippines that also excite to discover how really skillful he is. He is a workmanlike, published about 8 great books during the publication of this book. This book was produced by the author to let the world know the unique traditions the Philippines has like unique activities done by Filipinos as part of their everyday life. As it was in the story, particularly in the first three parts it show some rituals to be done during harvest season and planting. The book opens with the first story “Children of the Ash-covered Loam”. In this particular story the seven year-old boy named Tarang and his sister were the Children of the Ash-covered Loam for their parents were farmers in the land prepared by the slash-and-burn or swidden method. It’s quite annoying when the author gave more descriptions in the acquisition of the sow parts where it was describe their ways how to raise the pig, and how it will be cared well (page 4). But on the other hand the author clearly described the life in farming sometimes they had really bad harvest and need to do some ritual to avoid it. In particular in the story the father of Tarang cut the neck of the white pullet and spurted the red blood to the ash-ground just to magnet-out bad luck and magnet-in good luck or fortunes in farming and have great harvest in the following seasons.
FINAL PAPER: On N.V.M Gonzalez's Children of the Ash-Covered Loam Gonzalez' stories smell of ginger root and oils to appease the spirits and of a boy's hunger and curiosity. She commends Gonzalez’s remarkable use of Filipino words so perfectly woven into the English that his stories become colorful paintings of Philippine characters and sensibility. Many of Gonzalez‘s stories are nostalgic looks, through a boy's eyes, of rural life. In "The Morning Star," Gonzalez creates a quietly powerful woman who gives birth to an Americansoldier's baby.In "Children of the Ash-Covered Loam," the boy, Tarang, runs from his hut to see the pig's new litter. He strikes a tree trunk with his big toe, but the hurt is ‘not half as sharp as his hunger forknowing.’ This hunger is in all these stories. Also included are stories that have themes of migration, inter- island travel, and the perils of the sea. “The Sea Beyond” features a dyingstevedore who has fallen off the reconverted minesweeper Adela. In “A Warm Hand,” the passengers of the Li
gaya went ashore to seek refuge is a fisherman’s hut during a violent storm.
“Children of the Ash
Covered Loam,” seems straightforwardly realistic in approach. There are no distorting tricks of language. The presentation is essentially objective —
that is, Gonzalezsupplies very little interpretation. Gonzalez tells the reader the scene using brief and simplewords. He almost always makes it sure that the scene would come out vivid and alive, as theywere, in the imagination of the attentive reader. However, there are also certain scenes wherethe reader is to infer its larger meaning. I am particularly referring to the last scene in the storywhere while hurrying down the hut, on rainy evening, Tarang thought: “he could hear something else besides—
may be the sow in the pen,...
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