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The Fence: A Short Story by Jose Garcia Villa - PDF Download


Introduction




The Fence is a short story written by Jose Garcia Villa, a Filipino poet, literary critic, short story writer, and painter. It was first published in 1932 in Philippine Magazine, and later included in his collection Footnote to Youth: Tales of the Philippines and Others in 1933. The story revolves around two women, Aling Biang and Aling Sebia, who live in neighboring nipa huts in a desolate place. They have a bamboo fence between them that symbolizes their hatred and bitterness towards each other. Their children, Iking and Rita, are innocent victims of their family feud. They long for each other's company and music, but are separated by the merciless fence. The story explores the themes of betrayal, revenge, isolation, loneliness, forgiveness, and love. About the author




Jose Garcia Villa was born in Manila, Philippines in 1908. He was a precocious child who showed interest in literature and art at an early age. He studied at the University of the Philippines (UP), where he became involved in various literary groups and publications. He wrote under the pen name Doveglion, which was derived from "Dove, Eagle, Lion", based on the characters he created. He was known for his experimental poetry style that used punctuation marks, especially commas, to create rhythm and meaning. He also invented a new rhyming scheme called "reversed consonance", in which the last sounded consonants of the last syllable or word are reversed for rhyme. Villa was also a prolific short story writer who won several awards for his works. His stories often depicted Filipino culture and society with realism and sensitivity. He was influenced by American writers such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Gertrude Stein, and E.E. Cummings. He also admired Filipino writers such as Manuel Arguilla, Carlos Bulosan, N.V.M. Gonzalez, and Nick Joaquin. In 1929, Villa left the Philippines to pursue his studies and career in the United States. He enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where he founded Clay, a mimeograph literary journal. He later transferred to Columbia University (CU), where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and did post-graduate work. He became one of the few Asians to gain recognition in the American literary scene. He worked as an associate editor for New Directions Publishing (NDP), a leading publisher of avant-garde literature. He also taught poetry workshops at various institutions such as City College of New York (CCNY), The New School for Social Research (TNS), and St. John's University (SJU). Villa returned to the Philippines in 1950, where he received a hero's welcome. He was awarded the National Artist of the Philippines for Literature in 1973, the highest honor given to Filipino artists. He died in New York City in 1997, at the age of 88. Summary of the story




The story begins with a description of the two nipa huts that stand in a desolate place. They are separated by a bamboo fence that is decaying and falling apart. The fence was built by Aling Biang, who lives in one of the huts with her son Iking. She built the fence to keep away Aling Sebia, who lives in the other hut with her daughter Rita. Aling Biang hates Aling Sebia because she was once caught with her husband, who left her after his infidelity was exposed. Aling Sebia is a childless widow who showed no remorse for her actions. She later became pregnant and gave birth to Rita, who is rumored to be Aling Biang's husband's child. The two women never speak to each other, and even refuse to water the vegetable rows that grow between their huts, lest they benefit their enemy. They also prevent their children from seeing or talking to each other. Iking and Rita are both physically deformed and lonely. They have never seen anyone else except their mothers and each other. They are curious about each other, but are afraid of their mothers' wrath. One day, Iking peeks through the fence and sees Rita playing the guitar. He is captivated by her music and her face, even though she is uglier than him. He feels a strange attraction towards her, and wishes to hear her complete the notes she plays. He starts sleeping by the door, where he can hear her music better. He also tries to talk to her through the fence, but she ignores him. Aling Biang notices Iking's behavior and becomes angry. She thinks he is falling in love with Rita, whom she considers a bastard child. She tries to instill hatred in his heart, but he shows signs of resistance. She also reinforces the fence with new bamboo poles, and threatens to kill him if he ever crosses it. Meanwhile, Rita also feels drawn to Iking, but she is too shy and scared to respond to him. She stops playing the guitar, hoping that he will lose interest in her. She also obeys her mother, who warns her not to talk to him. The story then skips three years and arrives on Christmas day. Iking is emaciated and weak, having been deprived of Rita's sight and music. His mother asks him to rest while she prays to God. But Iking only yearns to hear Rita's guitar again. He goes to the fence and whispers to her. He begs her to play the guitar for him, and she looks at him with pity. She agrees to play for him, but only if he promises to go away afterwards. She plays the guitar for him, and he listens with rapture. He feels a surge of joy and love for her, and wants to break the fence and embrace her. But before he can do anything, he hears a loud noise behind him. He turns around and sees his mother holding a bolo knife. She has heard Rita's music and has come to stop them. She slashes at Iking's neck, killing him instantly. Rita screams in horror and drops the guitar. She runs towards the fence, hoping to see Iking one last time. But she is too late. She sees his lifeless body lying on the ground, with blood gushing from his wound. She falls on her knees and cries out his name. The story ends with a description of the fence that stands between them. It is still strong and intact, despite the wind and rain that batter it. Theme of the story




The main theme of the story is the destructive power of hatred and revenge. The fence represents the barrier that Aling Biang and Aling Sebia have created between themselves because of their past conflict. They have let their hatred consume them, and have refused to forgive or forget their grievances. They have also passed on their hatred to their children, who are innocent victims of their family feud. The story shows how hatred can isolate people from each other, and deprive them of happiness and love. Aling Biang and Aling Sebia live in a desolate place, where they have no friends or relatives. They have no joy or peace in their lives, only bitterness and resentment. They also deny their children the opportunity to experience friendship and love, by keeping them away from each other. Analysis of the story




The fence as a symbol




The fence is the most prominent symbol in the story. It represents the divide between Aling Biang and Aling Sebia, who have built a wall of hatred and bitterness between themselves. It also serves as a physical reminder of their past conflict, and the source of their present misery. The fence is a barrier that prevents them from communicating, reconciling, or moving on with their lives. The fence also symbolizes the isolation and loneliness of the two women and their children. They live in a desolate place, where they have no contact with anyone else. They have no friends or relatives to support them or comfort them. They have no joy or peace in their lives, only resentment and anger. They also deprive their children of the opportunity to experience friendship and love, by keeping them away from each other. The fence also symbolizes the futility and tragedy of hatred and revenge. The fence does not solve anything, but only makes things worse. It does not bring justice or satisfaction, but only pain and suffering. It does not protect or defend, but only harms and destroys. The fence ultimately leads to the death of Iking, who is killed by his own mother out of hatred for Aling Sebia and Rita. The characters and their conflicts




The story has four main characters: Aling Biang, Aling Sebia, Iking, and Rita. They are all involved in a conflict that stems from their past history and their present situation. Aling Biang is the protagonist of the story. She is a woman who has been betrayed by her husband and her neighbor, Aling Sebia. She is filled with hatred and bitterness towards them, and has built a fence to keep them away from her. She is also a mother who loves her son Iking, but does not understand his feelings or his needs. She tries to instill hatred in his heart, but he shows signs of resistance. She ultimately kills him out of hatred for Aling Sebia and Rita. Aling Sebia is the antagonist of the story. She is a woman who has had an affair with Aling Biang's husband, and has shown no remorse for her actions. She is also a mother who loves her daughter Rita, but does not encourage her to interact with Iking. She warns her not to talk to him or play the guitar for him. Iking is the tragic hero of the story. He is a boy who is physically deformed and lonely. He has never seen anyone else except his mother and Rita. He is curious about Rita, and feels a strange attraction towards her. He longs to hear her music and her voice, and wishes to break the fence and embrace her. He defies his mother's wishes and tries to talk to Rita through the fence. He ultimately dies by his mother's hand, while listening to Rita's guitar. Rita is the tragic heroine of the story. She is a girl who is physically deformed and lonely. She has never seen anyone else except her mother and Iking. She plays the guitar to express her feelings and her dreams. She feels drawn to Iking, but she is too shy and scared to respond to him. She stops playing the guitar, hoping that he will lose interest in her. She ultimately plays the guitar for him one last time, but only after he promises to go away afterwards. The setting and the mood




The story is set in a desolate place where two nipa huts are the only visible houses. The setting reflects the mood of the story, which is bleak and dismal. The setting also reflects the condition of the characters, who are isolated and lonely. the beauty of the place and creates a sense of tension and hostility. The style and the tone




The story is written in a simple and straightforward style, with short sentences and paragraphs. The style reflects the simplicity and clarity of the plot, which is based on a single conflict and a single climax. The style also reflects the lack of complexity and depth of the characters, who are driven by their emotions and impulses. The tone of the story is somber and tragic, with a hint of irony. The tone reflects the mood and the message of the story, which is about the destructive power of hatred and revenge. The tone also reflects the fate and the outcome of the characters, who are doomed to suffer and die because of their hatred. The irony of the story lies in the fact that Aling Biang kills her own son, whom she loves, out of hatred for Aling Sebia and Rita, whom she hates. Conclusion




The main message of the story




The main message of the story is that hatred and revenge are harmful and futile. They do not bring justice or satisfaction, but only pain and suffering. They do not solve anything, but only make things worse. They do not protect or defend, but only harm and destroy. They isolate people from each other, and deprive them of happiness and love. They ultimately lead to violence and tragedy. The relevance of the story today




The story is relevant today because it shows how hatred and revenge can affect people's lives and relationships. It shows how hatred and revenge can be caused by betrayal, jealousy, pride, or prejudice. It shows how hatred and revenge can be passed on from generation to generation, creating a cycle of conflict and violence. It shows how hatred and revenge can prevent people from communicating, reconciling, or moving on with their lives. The story also shows how hatred and revenge can be overcome by forgiveness and love. It shows how forgiveness and love can heal wounds and restore trust. It shows how forgiveness and love can bridge gaps and create bonds. It shows how forgiveness and love can bring joy and peace to people's lives. The personal opinion of the writer




The personal opinion of the writer is that The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa is a powerful and poignant story that conveys a universal message about human nature and human relationships. The writer thinks that the story is well-written, with a clear plot, vivid characters, realistic setting, and effective symbolism. The writer also thinks that the story is emotionally engaging, with a suspenseful climax and a shocking ending. The writer feels sympathy for Iking and Rita, who are innocent victims of their family feud. The writer also feels pity for Aling Biang and Aling Sebia, who are consumed by their hatred and bitterness. The writer agrees with the message of the story, that hatred and revenge are harmful and futile. The writer believes that hatred and revenge are negative emotions that should be avoided or overcome. The writer also believes that forgiveness and love are positive emotions that should be practiced or cultivated. The writer thinks that forgiveness and love are essential for human happiness and harmony. FAQs




Q1: Where can I find the whole story of The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa?




and Others in 1933. Q2: What is the genre of The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa?




A2: The genre of The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa is realistic fiction. It is a short story that depicts a realistic situation and characters, based on the author's observation and experience of Filipino culture and society. It also reflects the author's views and values on human nature and human relationships. Q3: What is the moral lesson of The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa?




A3: The moral lesson of The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa is that hatred and revenge are harmful and futile. They do not bring justice or satisfaction, but only pain and suffering. They do not solve anything, but only make things worse. They do not protect or defend, but only harm and destroy. They isolate people from each other, and deprive them of happiness and love. They ultimately lead to violence and tragedy. Q4: What are some literary devices used in The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa?




A4: Some literary devices used in The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa are: - Symbolism: The fence is a symbol of the divide between Aling Biang and Aling Sebia, and their hatred and bitterness towards each other. It also symbolizes the isolation and loneliness of the two women and their children, and the futility and tragedy of their conflict. - Irony: The irony of the story lies in the fact that Aling Biang kills her own son, whom she loves, out of hatred for Aling Sebia and Rita, whom she hates. - Foreshadowing: The foreshadowing of the story lies in the description of the fence as "ugly", "rotting", "falling", "merciless", which hints at the impending doom and death of Iking. - Imagery: The imagery of the story lies in the description of the setting as "desolate", "parched", "empty", which creates a sense of bleakness and dismalness. It also lies in the description of the characters as "deformed", "emaciated", "weak", which creates a sense of pity and sympathy. Q5: What are some other works by Jose Garcia Villa?




A5: Some other works by Jose Garcia Villa are: - Footnote to Youth: Tales of the Philippines and Others (1933): A collection of short stories that depict Filipino culture and society with realism and sensitivity. - Have Come, Am Here (1942): A collection of poems that introduce his new rhyming scheme called "reversed consonance". - Volume Two (1949): A collection of poems that introduce his new literary style called "comma poems". - Selected Stories (1956): A collection of short stories that showcase his mastery of prose. - Doveglion: Collected Poems (1985): A collection of poems that span his entire poetic career.




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