Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal Chp. 28 “Correspondences”

This chapter was rich with details that I don’t think I’ll ever fully appreciate. I admit, I was kind of bored. This chapter was really a bunch of letters that described the festivities. There was a focus on the religious processions. What I got from it: Filipinos invest a lot in religion.

The letters which I found most interesting were the last two. The penultimate letter (I always wanted to use the word “penultimate”) was about men gambling and the speculation that one man may be cheating. It was light-hearted. I was able to appreciate it because I can understand what it said since it did not have too many allusions to religious rituals. The last letter was cute. It was from Maria Clara to Ibarra telling him that he better be at the festivities tomorrow or else.

The most significant thought I had was about the use of letters in this chapter. How letters give the novel more “ethos” so to say because rather than reading the words of the “lone” author, the readers are given accounts of the event from other characters. For more information on this technique, visit Wikipedia’s page on the Epistolary novel. Is it the novel that has ethos? Or the author? In rhetoric, I think the term is supposed to be for the speaker/author. If it is just for the author, it’s weird that we use the word “ethos” because even though we are giving more credibility, the use of the letters gives the telling of the story more credibility…but it is by having the readers assume that the letters were written by other people who partook in the event that gives the narration more credibility. Does this observation diminish the use of letters as a way to provide authors more ethos? Maybe there is a difference in “ethos” for non-fiction and “ethos” for fiction.

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