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THE VIRGIN by Keima Polotan Tuvera

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Kim Casaje

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of THE VIRGIN by Keima Polotan Tuvera

The story's eroticism is heightened by the lyrical, almost cadenced language. (The eroticism is quite explicit for it's time, and the foregrounding of a woman's sexulity is also rather in advance of its time.) But the use of symbolism is a bit too obvious--the paperweight, the dream of being lost, the jeepney's detour, the storm.
​Miss Mijares
The Carpenter
Year 1952, set in Manila, Philippines
The title of Kerima Polotan's "The Virgin" gives us the subject-virginity, female virginity, a cherished value of Filipino Male culture. By presenting its protagonist as "victim" rather than heroine of this value system, the text subverts it. Reflecting on her virginal state, Miss Mijares does so "with a mixture of shame and bitterness and guilt"
THE VIRGIN by Kerima Polotan Tuvera
Miss Mijares
is a dutiful daughter, sacrificing herself, in this case, for a sick mother, and becoming a spinster, a pathetic figure, her sternness of manner and abruptness of speech, disguise for an aching loneliness. Referring to her as "Miss Mijares" underlines her primmness, as well as her distance from the carpenter. She is slim and frail-looking, which contrasts with the carpenter's physical streghth and size
Is the portrayal of Miss Mijares sympathetic to the value system or to its overturning?
The Carpenter
The carpenter has a certain grace, poise, confidence "walking with an economy of movement, graveful and light, a man who knew his body and used it well", which comes from being easy in his skin, which Miss Mijares, decidedly, is not.
Ato is Miss Mijares' foreman.
In capitulating to her desire and her loneliness, does Miss Mijares triumped over the system in which she is trapped? The language would suggest that this is not so: note the pathos of the final line ("with her ruffles wet and wilted, in the dark, she turned to him...") She remains an absurd, even grotesque figure.

The subversion of the prevailing value system is not complete.
Paperweight and dove
- Miss Mijares hoping for love

First jeepney trip
- Emotional response to falling in love

- New Beginning (baptism)
Full transcript