Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, Chp. 35 “Comments”

What I think this chapter is about: The people of a nation reflecting on their loyalty as a way to figure out their identity.

  • p. 232

    “Religion shouldn’t be imposed on anyone as a punishment or a penitence.”

  • p. 233 Conversation between Don Filipo, the mayor, Captain Martin, Captain Basilio Don Filipo. The dialogue shows us that the fight between Ibarra and Father Damaso is a representation of the larger struggle between the people of the Philippines and their identity as subjects loyal to a mother country. While the novel as a whole looks at tensions between social classes, this chapter delves into the question of loyalty.

    “If the town says nothing, out of fear, his friends…”

    The mayor voices his concern

    “What can the town do? Whatever happens, the friars are always right!”

    Don Filipo replies

    “They are always right because we always let them be right.”

    The mayor concludes in frustration

    “It seems like we don’t even know what country we’re in; we don’t even know our own countrymen. The friars are rich and united, and we are divided and poor. Sure, try to defend him [Ibarra] and you’ll see how everyone will abandon you to your task.”

    Something I realized: The loyalty we observe in Ibarra is interesting because there is a word play on the concept of “father.” In Ibarra we see a loyalty to his late father rather than to Father Damaso. You really only realizs this interesting play on words after you ask yourself who Ibarra is loyal to and with whom he is fighting. It is a question of identity, not just for Ibarra but for all the people in the town (and by representation, the country).

  • p. 234 – 236
    The rest of the chapter further explores this question of loyalty (and by extension, identity) in the dialogue between the townspeople. Two women argue back and forth

    Sister Rufa

    “One mustn’t forget that it is a great sin to put one’s hand on a holy person.”

    Capitana Maria

    “The memory of one’s parents is even holier! No one, not the Pope and even less to Father Damaso, can profane such a holy memory!”

    Sister Rufa

    “But what about excommunications and condemnation from the Pope?”

    Capitana Maria

    “God, who commands us to honor our father and our mother, will forgive it…”

    Sister Rufa

    “…I’ll always put my faith in the priest…I’ll save my soul.”

    They ask another woman, Capitana Tinay about what she thought. She hasn’t developed her opinion on the matter and gave a confused reply indicating so. She went on to talk about how her son wants to go to Europe and that she doesn’t want him to go.

    “A wise man dies the same as an ignoramus…the key is to live in peace.”

  • p. 236 Capitana Maria has the last word

    “Sister Rufa, when I am a worthy sister of men, I will try to be a sister of saints.”

  • p. 236 Ibarra is branded as a “subversive.” Parents who heard the news were saddened, knowing that the school would never be built and their children would not be able to become doctors or priests.
  • p. 236-237 Humorous but sad depiction of how the indio townspeople were trying to figure out the definition and the pronunciation of the word “subversive.”
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