F. SIONIL JOSE
Don Vicente is the landlord who appears as the central figure in the story. He is also Luis Asperri’s father. However, his character is nothing but a stereotype of the rich – powerful, thus, usually hated and who also had an affair with a poor tenant. Luis Asperri is the product of the abovementioned affair. He spent his boyhood with his mother in Sipnget but later on lived with Don Vicente in Manila. There he studied and became a journalist. His character presents several ironies, which is, I think, a representation of man’s defeat in his battle against himself. The novel opened with Luis being so passionate of the people he spent his childhood with. But upon seeing them again, he felt it was futile visiting them and that it was hypocrisy. Don Vicente wants Luis to marry his cousin, Trining. But in the early parts of the novel, Luis seemed to care less for her. Later, he began expressing his earthly desires. Trining is Luis’ cousin who later on became his wife. Victor, who is Luis’ half-brother, is Huklbalahap’s commander.
The conflict of the story, which is about the Hukbalahap uprising, graciously starts to appear from the latter part of the second chapter and finally manifests upon the beginning of the third, when someone slings a stone into the window of Don Vicente’s room. The stone has a paper with it. “The land belongs to the people and the people will get what is rightfully theirs. The next message will be delivered with a bullet. Commander Victor” was written on the paper. Luis and Victor have different ideologies. This is evident in their contrasting perception of justice. The novel also shows the struggle between people who wish to stick to the conventional standards and those who let go of the old ways and undergo change.
Development of the Story
The first chapter was a bit stagnant, have a lot of narration about the main characters and the setting. But generally, the story progresses quickly, especially from Chapter 2 wherein the pieces of the puzzle start to fit into the others. There was a flashback of Luis’ childhood in Sipnget. This part of the novel is essential especially to those who were not able to read the first two series of the Rosales novels.
Point of View
The author made use of the third person but was not consistent to it, allowing the readers to see through the minds of the characters. There are parts in the novel, especially the flashbacks, when all the dialogues are not enclosed with quotation marks, so as to signal the reader that everything is being thought about by the character. However, at some parts, this technique becomes overused.