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The Chieftest Mourner

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Joy Masapequeña

on 27 January 2014

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Transcript of The Chieftest Mourner

By Aida Rivera-Ford
A Story

>To be able to appreciate Filipino Literature.
>To be able to identify the different impacts of the story through different perspectives.
>To pinpoint and validate the issues told in the story.
>To hone our view of the society we live in now by understanding the story better.
>To understand the story better and absorb its morals by digesting it (the story) through the Critical Approaches to Understanding a Literary Work.

A short story told in the
perspective of the poet's niece.
She narrates the mishaps that
followed the death of her uncle.
Origin of the Problem
>The husband’s constant and seemingly unstoppable drinking.

>The husband’s reluctance to cave in to his wife’s request.

>The wife’s reluctance to tolerate the husband’s drinking.

>The contradiction of his wife and the misunderstanding that followed

Critical Approaches
To Understanding
Literary Works

>Reveal how or why a particular work is constructed and what its social and cultural implications are.

>Helps a reader see and appreciate a literary work as a multilayered construct of meaning.

>Reading literary criticism will inspire one to reread, rethink, and respond.

What are the Critical Approaches?
Formalistic Approach
Sociological Approach
Psychological Approach
Feminist Approach
Mythological Approach
Autobiographical Approach
Moralistic Approach
Historical Approach


Between early to late 1940s time period.

> The Poet
> Narrator / Niece
> Aunt Sophia / Wife
> Esa / Mistress
> Main character in the story.
> Addicted to drinking alcohol.
> Wayward husband.
> Sweet and charming lover.
> Strong affiliation towards literary arts.

>Does the observing without implicating
any biases to one side or another.

>The niece of the poet.

>Easily sympathizes with everyone else in the story

>Married to the poet.
>Concerned with her husband’s
drinking habits.
>A good aunt to her niece.
>Loves the poet.

>Known as “The Woman”.
>New lover of the poet.
>Feisty and fierce
>Not impossible to penetrate.
>Knows no self-preservation.
>Loves the poet.
1. How did the judgment of the public affect the level of affection the mistress felt for the poet? How about the wife?
2. In what way did the story relate to the story correlate to the actual happenings with the society during its publication? Cite some provisions of law.
3. How can we relate the story of the poet to the society nowadays?

It didn’t affect both the level affection of the mistress and the wife at all. The mistress’ decision to stay away was based on her rational thinking. The wife, on the other hand, has always loved her husband. This can imply that love goes unaffected even when external elements like the public came into play.

The book was published three years after World War II.
During the war, many marriages were broken due to soldiers staying away from their wives. This can be an explanation of the wife’s desperation to have her husband with her, to the point where she tied him. The mistress may represent the current situations of some men nowadays wherein they have other priorities and left the most important thing: family.

The story describes the situation of couples which are not contented with each other and mostly the husbands find their happiness in other women, which is happening nowadays. It’s maybe because some of the wife didn’t do their part to their husbands well. We can’t just blame the husbands. Love is not one-sided. Men and women should always know how to give love, not just receive them, in order to avoid discontentment.

1. What psychological impact did the mistress get from being labeled as a “mistress”?
2. In a psychological context, how were the character’s identities developed?
3. What internal conflicts present in the characters caused the difficulty in fitting into society or being unhappy?

1. What roles did women play in the story?
2. Was it right for the society to judge the mistress
just because she’s deemed as a mistress?
3. What feministic principles are present in the story?

There are women who only exist in the story to relay gossips, women who are genuinely mourning for the dead and women who are caught in between. But the main highlights of feminism in the story are the symbolism of both mistress and wife. First, being the legal wife, powerful enough to make her man feel so weak, the superior partner. Another one is the mistress, a mistress with a good heart and a good reason.

The woman is referred to as a “mistress” because
she accompanied the poet when no one else would.
It may sound sour to the ears of a mindful reader but she, as a mistress, was decent enough to give her man the kind of love any wife could’ve given.

Principle of Liberal Feminism
Women are liberated.
They have the freedom to do things in the society.

Cultural Feminism
The freedom to mingle with others and mediate things that go between family and work.

1. According to the Bible, what is the husband’s role to his wife? What is the wife’s role to her husband?
2. In a mythological context, was it righteous for either husband or wife to stray from their relationship?
3. How can we relate the story of Adam & Eve to the story?

Adam and Eve were believed to be the first man and woman created to live in a Paradise on Earth.
Both of them were created from God’s image.
They were instructed to multiply and to take care of everything else that God had made.
God created an apple tree which He prohibits Adam from eating. Eve was tempted by serpent to eat the fruit. The story of Adam and Eve is somehow related to the story, The Chieftest Mourner.

In the story, the poet was tempted to leave his wife because of her attitude towards him. His patience reached its limit after his wife tied him. He found his happiness in another woman, Esa.

1. What is the story’s possible connection to the author’s real life experiences?
2. Based on the story, what kind of impression can we make out of the author’s personality?
3. How did the story affect the author’s life?

Aida Rivera-Ford’s The Chieftest Mourner has a striking connection to her hometown.
> Because she had seen adulterous acts which are accepted by the society she lives in.
> Since Jolo, Sulu is a community of Muslims, it is said that in her hometown, a man can have as many woman as he wants as long as he could support each one of them.

> An observant person.
> The type of writer who knows
what she’s doing and someone who can pinpoint the problem and who strives to know the resolution.
> She is conscious and aware of the current issues of our society.
> She was able to come up and construct a story out of the things and events she sees in her surroundings and intelligently put it into writing.
> She was able to convey a question with an undecided answer and was able to raise my awareness about the issue of a married man involved in an affair.

> Outlet in expressing her thoughts which was
beneficial both to her and her readers.
> Help her ease up the current worries she have to constantly face everyday and she never fails to convey it in such an efficient and impressive manner.

1. What values did the characters in the story possess?
2. What lessons can we learn from the story?
3. How can we apply the story’s morals in real life?

The poet
>Is not hitting his wife.
>Tried his best not to drink in front of his
wife and as much as possible did it in the most discreet way as possible.
The wife
>Shows classic Filipino values of a wife who’s strongly against the drinking of her husband.
>Addressed the issue the wrong way which became the deal breaker.

The importance of communication
within a relationship.
If people don’t communicate, the chances that the relationship would not end happily are probable.
The story opened my eyes to the consequences of infidelity.
Technically, the poet was not really cheating on his wife because he had the affair after the separation but the aftermath of such affair was not something any woman would want.

can also be an essential value to keep.
A brief observation of the husband tells us that he lack self-control over his drinking.
The wife lacks self-control in the way she reacted to her husband’s drinking.

1. Are the issues present in the society
during the time it was written/published still present in the society today?
2. Compare the lifestyle of the characters in the story to the lifestyle of the people nowadays.
3. How did the people used to view things in a layman’s perspective many years ago different from the way people do nowadays?

In our society today, the issues about
a man having an affair with another woman or rather a married man leaving his wife to live with his mistress, is still present and prevalent.

However, in the story we hear of a man who leaves his wife to search for himself and to find peace and serenity.

The poet in the story usually drinks liquor
so that he’ll be more inspired when creating poems.
Same is true with the writer Edgar Allan Poe who also drinks to inspire him in formulating great stories.

There is a little difference between them; people nowadays value communication.
They believe that effective communication is one of the keys to successful relationships.

People judge others through the hearsays
and gossips.
The kinswomen called the mistress a “bitch” and a horrid woman without evidence.
The mistress was stereotyped then and there without even the chance to defend and prove herself to them.

People are different.
They are more mature and cautious with the
way they speak and act and the conclusions.
They make and say are based from careful observations they see in every person.

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