Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, Chp. 32 “The Crane”

Important chapter that moves the plot along. Also, this part is significant because of the irony in what occurs (see bullet for p. 217).

Details that seem important:

  • p. 210-211 Foreshadowing. The “yellow man’s” odd smile. The significance of Ibarra’s grandfather having taught the “yellow man’s” father what the “yellow man” knows how to do. The man’s dialogue indicated that he wanted revenge on Don Saturnino, Ibarra’s grandfather. The man had said,

    “Not only did he [Don Saturnino] flog everyone properly and keep his workers out in the sun, he could wake up sleepers and put the awake to sleep. In time you’ll see what my father taught me, you’ll see!”

    It is implied in the rest of the chapter that he was going to have the structure collapse on Ibarra.

    To note: There is a play on the notion of fatherhood. Therefore, brotherhood. The “yellow man” was, in a way, “given a life” by Ibarra’s grandfather, Don Saturnino because the “yellow man’s” father was taught his craft by Don Saturnino. In a sense, Ibarra and the “yellow man” are brothers. So when we realize later on that the “yellow man” had the intention of killing Ibarra, it is a statement about lack of loyalty to your own kind.

  • p. 211-212 Old Tasio’s speech (interpretation later)
  • p. 214 The governor gave a speech and said this line

    “Show us a school and we will tell you who you are.”

    First off, it’s about the value of education. No one denies the value of education. However, one also has to ask, “HOW will the school tell people about who they are?” It is a statement about identity. How a person learns who they are based on language, the written word, ideas, philosophies. So when we see this line in the text, the question is how the school will teach students who they are: as Spaniards or Filipinos? This line is also about establishing authority over a country because we have to remember who the speaker is: a representative of the Spanish government.

  • p. 215

    “the priest remembered the young man and said in a humorous tone, affecting familiarity, ‘Aren’t you going to throw in your trowelful, Senor Ibarra?'”

    Ibarra was almost going to get away with not having to go into the pit. But “the priest” noticed that he hadn’t thrown in his trowelful of dirt yet. It’s important to specify who this priest is. The previous paragraph mentioned that it was Father Salvi who had last thrown in a trowelful of dirt. Maybe it was Father Salvi. This would make sense and might be a hint that Father Salvi had a hand in attempting to murder Ibarra. Or maybe it sets up Father Salvi to be a red herring. Maybe the identity of “the priest” is supposed to be vague because it doesn’t matter who the priest is. Rather, what matters is that “the priest” represents The Church and the estabishment doesn’t support Ibarra.

  • p. 215 Referring to a Spanish bandit known as Juan Palomo (aka Diego Padilla).

    “I cooked it, so I’ll eat it.”

  • I think it’s important to understand who Juan Palomo is. From my research so far, Juan Palomo is a legendary bandit who caused a large house to disappear. I’m waiting on confirmation about this because the resources online were in Spanish and I do not speak it fluently. Did Palomo build the house?

  • p. 212-216 the material of the trowels. Ibarra handed silver trowels to the governor and Father Salvi. When it came time for him to throw in a shovelful of dirt, Ibarra

    “exchanged the small silver trowel for a larger, iron one, which made several people smile…”

  • Not sure why that would make people smile. Something about strength…iron and larger trowel. Iron for “iron will”? Perhaps also a statement of sincerity? Ibarra is more sincere and passionate about building the school than the priests and the governor?

  • p. 216 imagery or auditory narration?

    “The sound of the trowel mixing the mass of sand and lime was audible through the staff’s quitet whispers, as they congratulated the governor on his speech.”

    The significance of the people not paying attention to Ibarra, the one who came up with the idea for the school. It builds tension and suspense.

  • p. 216 Girders. The use of the “girders” as what fell and buried the “yellow man.” Girders are support beams. Rizal could have used another word and Augenbaum could have chosen another construction item to have fallen and killed the man (who was supposed to be, and could have been, Ibarra). But the translated word used is “girder.” How the girders are a metaphor for the foundation of a society (the school that was being built).
  • p. 217

    “When they saw them [several strange marks on the neck of the “yellow man” who had died], they thought a steel hand had grabbed him like a claw.”

    An example of Deus Ex Machina from Toy Story
  • It is important to understand the irony of the situation. To understand the irony, one has to understand the rituals of sacrifice. The death of the “yellow man” is an allusion to ancient practices of sacrifice that people used to do in an effort to “give strength and stability to the [new] building.” See Wikipedia’s explanation of the Cornerstone. However, instead of “giving strength” the event is an omen. The mention of “the claw” is an allusion to deus ex machina. This makes perfect sense because the idea behind “deus ex machina” comes from Greek tragedies where “a crane was used to physically lower actors onto the stage. Read more from Wikipedia: Deus Ex Machina.

    This part about deus ex machina should be a revelation to readers. Remember that the title of this chapter is “The Crane.”

  • p. 218

    “The dead man is only an indio” and that he did not attend mass while Ibarra did attend mass.

  • p. 218 hints that Father Salvi may have been the one to try to get Ibarra killed.

    “Father Salvi did not seem to be happy about a miracle [Ibarra being saved?] that was attributed to a saint of his clerical body and his parish.”

  • p. 218 It is rumored that the figure of San Diego went into the pit. Did “San Diego” save Ibarra? Who was the figure “dressed in the black suit of the Franciscans”? Was it Elias?

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