you're reading
Literary Criticism

The Relevance of Studying Philippine Literature in English

As we have learned in Philippine history, apart from superior arms to subdue the true revolutionaries who waged a continuing war against colonial rule, the Americans used education, propagated the English language and lifestyle. In effect, this changed the milieu of literary production as the English language became the standard for what is canon.

Many important things can be learned in the study of Philippine literature in English. Studying Philippine literature in English is important because these are reflections of history. Works of art and literature are not separate from history. In fact, these are intricately intertwined along with the contradictions in the society in a given point in time. Works of art and literature do not stand by themselves. Writers and artists are not creators who fashion words and works. These texts and pieces of art are products of the political institutions and ideological stance of the writers which are shaped by the social conditions.

In essence, the study of Philippine literature in English aids us in historicizing texts. Furthermore, it also allows us to think of the extent of American influence through the use of their language. Obviously, our willing appropriation of their language during the time of the American colonial period affects the present generation and the formulation of the canon of Philippine literature in English. Even the past generations of literati together with the current prominent writers bring along with them the English language and its ideology. However, it is also wrong to discount the writers and intellectuals who use the English language in order to subvert the ideology it carries.

Studying Philippine literature in English gives us a brief and fleeting landscape of the literary milieu since after the World War II. We should also consider those writers who went against American domination in education. These writers carry with them an ideology that is anti-colonial and therefore, an assertion of genuine nationalism. Nationalism has different manifestations in different periods in history. The true affirmation of nationalism during the American colonial period is the seeking of genuine freedom and democracy.

The assertion of nationalism depends on the ideology of the class, group or person who is voicing it out. Many times, our people have always been deceived by the ruling class since they limit the assertion of nationalism through emotional and subjective means. Putting one’s hand over the heart and singing the National Anthem with tears is not enough if one doesn’t do anything to alleviate the poorest of the poor who comprise the majority of our population. These are reflected in works that may or may not be written in the English language. These are in texts whose authors’ names we hardly know but nonetheless, these writers knew where they stood, and that is for the broad masses.

About imakulit

restless. independent. rock music and classical music, third world poetry and literature, theory and criticism, beaches, sunsets, wide open spaces, sports and running, laughter, art, and photography sustain me. i love to travel alone. it's the best way to get lost in the labyrinth of my thoughts.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

RSS Pinoy Weekly

  • Photos & Text | Fil-Ams have ‘no trust’ in Aquino July 31, 2014
    Filipino-American activists held protests across the United States of America during the week of Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address, pointing out that they have “no trust” in the Philippine president due to corruption. In a statement, Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN USA Vice Chairperson said, “Corruption in the Philippines will never be eradicated while t […]

RSS Bulatlat.com

RSS Philippine Daily Inquirer

  • Family, friends remember Cory Aquino on fifth death anniversary August 1, 2014
    MANILA, Philippines -- President Benigno Aquino III and three of his sisters attended a mass at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Paranaque to commemorate the fifth death anniversary of their mother and former president Corazon C. Aquino, according to accounts on Twitter. Aquino, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Viel Aquino-Dee, Kris Aquino and other members of the firs […]

RSS CNN Top Stories

RSS National Geographic News

RSS The Economist: Finance and Economics

  • Free exchange: The Exceptional Central Bank July 31, 2014
    ALONE among its peers, the European Central Bank (ECB) has resisted quantitative easing (QE). That policy—creating money to buy financial assets—has been used at varying times by the central banks of America, Britain and Japan to fight deflation and stimulate economies flattened by the financial crisis of 2008. Yet the ECB still shuns QE, treating it as a we […]

RSS The Economist: Books and Arts

  • American politics: Purpose and worth July 31, 2014
    Bumper sticker The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. By Rick Perlstein. Simon & Schuster; 856 pages; $37.50 and £25. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.ukONE of Ronald Reagan’s favourite jokes, loved and polished like a pebble carried for luck, told of a small boy with incurable optimism. Shown a room heaped with horse dung, the chi […]

RSS Asian Correspondent

  • Kek appointment ‘best thing for Cambodia politics since fall of Khmer Rouge’ August 1, 2014
    A well-known human rights campaigner has been appointed to Cambodia’s National Election Committee (NEC) – and the impacts could be huge.
  • Top diplomat to oversee evacuation of Filipino workers from Libya August 1, 2014
    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines’ top diplomat is on his way to arrange the evacuation from Libya of thousands of Filipino workers, one of whom was beheaded and a nurse gang-raped amid the worsening turmoil. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says he is flying Thursday to Tunisia’s Djerba Island near the Libyan border to
  • Greece to help ‘hundreds’ of Chinese leave Libya August 1, 2014
    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greece government official says his country will help China with the evacuation of “hundreds” of its citizens from escalating violence in Libya. The official, who asked not to be named because details of the operation are still being finalized, told The Associated Press Thursday that a Greek merchant vessel has
  • Infographic: Thailand’s junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly August 1, 2014
    On Thursday evening, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej officially endorsed the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), whose 200 members are all appointed by the military junta. A clear majority is dominated by active and retired military officers, while the rest consists of businesspeople, academics, technocrats and former senators. Former politicians of rece […]
  • China denies it hacked Canadian research council August 1, 2014
    BEIJING (AP) — China says Canada's accusation that it was behind the hacking of a Canadian technology development organization is groundless and irresponsible.
  • More than half of the junta-appointed NLA are military officers August 1, 2014
    btw, Saksith has a nice infographic here. AP: The dominance of active and retired military officers in the legislative body reinforces the army’s hold on power in the run-up to the 2015 polls. The junta, officially called the National Council for Peace and Order, has already granted itself what amounts to supreme power over political
  • Thai junta appoints army-dominated legislature August 1, 2014
    BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's junta has appointed a military-dominated interim legislature in another step in the slow return of promised electoral democracy.
  • WORLD: US, UN announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire August 1, 2014
    NEW DELHI (AP) — The United States and United Nations are announcing that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning for 72 hours.
  • 7 killed, 13 missing as boat sinks in Indonesia August 1, 2014
    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An official says a boat carrying villagers sank after hitting a stump in a river in western Indonesia, leaving a woman and six children dead and at least 13 others missing. National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says the boat ran out of fuel early Thursday and was swept by
  • Malaysian PM in Netherlands to discuss flight MH17 aftermath August 1, 2014
    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Malaysia's prime minister has arrived in the Netherlands ahead of a meeting with his Dutch counterpart to discuss plans for repatriating remains of Malaysian victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and continuing problems accessing the crash site in eastern Ukraine.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: