The National Teachers College
School of Advanced Studies
Master of Arts in Education in English
LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM
Mr. Allen Dave B. Arboleda
A TRIDIMENSIONAL SURVEY OF WILFREDO PA. VIRTUSIO’S VOICE TAPE (Moral-Philosophical, Formal and Feminism)
ARMA B. CANTRE
Voice Tape is a prize winning short story of Filipino author, Wilfredo Pa. Virtusio. It is found in the book, Bilanggo At Iba Pang Akda published in 1992 with an introduction by no less than 2006 National Artist of the Philippines Bienvenido Lumbera. The story is a contemporary fiction set during the advent of Filipino workers migration abroad. The narrator is a taxi driver who was tempted to open a clutch bag left by a passenger with the hope of finding bundles of cash or jewelries only to discover three pieces of old shirts and a voice tape. Mildly disappointed, his curiosity was turned to the last item. He decided to listen to the voice tape before he resolves what to do with it. The story of Mente and his family was told through a medium familiar to Filipinos with family members working abroad during the late 80’s. Like a voyeur whom embarrassment is a foreign concept, the readers are forced to listen on into Mente’s family’s private issues as well as a graphic illustration of the wife’s effort to dispel her husband’s loneliness which borders on soft porn. Voice Tape reflects on the two-sided (external and internal) effects of a father’s separation to his family. It doesn’t matter if the object used as a vehicle of expression used in this story is already obsolete; it still retains its relevance as Filipino migration continues.
This paper is an attempt to unravel the multiple meanings the story easily lends itself to and to try to elucidate to significant concepts that hold sway to Filipino consciousness through the lens of literary theories and criticism.
This literary critique is composed of four parts. Part One: My Author-Dependent Interpretation which focuses on interpreting the text through the traditional vista of moral-philosophical theories . Part Two: My Text-Dependent Interpretation which centered on the modernist vistas of formalism. Under formalism, elements of the short story were explored to shed light to its literal and literary value and consequently, to its theme. Part Three: My Reader-Dependent Interpretation considers the text in the light of postmodernist vista specifically the feminist theory under cultural studies. Part Four: My Literary Conclusion and Synthesis poses and discusses the grand theme of the short story with the fusion of themes 1, 2 and 3 from the above-mentioned literary vistas. In addition, this section contains the writer’s hard won wisdom obtained from the process of literary analysis. All interpretations are depicted through transcoded and linear presentations. After the four main parts of this critique is the reference list. Finally, the appendix contains a copy of the short story.
In conclusion, it is hoped that through the strength of seeing the story of Voice Tape through the various vistas of literary criticism, one has reached a most objective way of understanding and appreciating literature in general.
MY AUTHOR-DEPENDENT INTERPRETATION
Elucidation Using the Traditional Vista
The story of Voice Tape could be easily dismissed as being inappropriate as it discusses a husband and wife’s sexual need in the context of workers’ migration. However, close scrutiny would reveal it to be a mirror of a social and economic force attacking families. As we know, family is the basic unit of society. Society’s rise and fall is, to a large extent, dependent on the people comprising families. Parents are guardians of the moral and cultural heritage of a nation. These traditional roles come under attack when families break apart. The milieu of Voice Tape speaks about a time when Filipino fathers began looking for...
Cited: Wilfredo Pa. Virtusio.,”Bilanggo at iba pang Akda” (copy courtesy from Ateneo de Manila University)
Feminist Theory (Wikipedia)
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