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Children of the City
Transcript of Children of the City
Images from Shutterstock.com Children of the City
By Amadis Ma. Guerrero SETTING This story happened in the late 1980’s.
Everything occurred in the dark perilous busy streets of Manila. CHARACTERS ABOUT THE AUTHOR Amadis Ma. Guerrero was born in Ermita, Manila in 1941, he graduated from the Ateneo de Manila in 1965 from the University of Santo Tomas in 1959.
His short story “Children of the City” is a departure from his usual style.
It won the Palanca Awards in 1971. Victor - He is a boy from Intramuros. At the age of eight, he loses his father and his mother abandons him for some other man. He is hired as a newsboy by his uncle and starts his life on the streets.
Victor’s Dad - A good-natured man and a loving father to Victor, he was a part of a worker’s strike. The man loved his son dearly and his death brought a huge blow to Victor.
Victor’s Mom - She loved Victor’s dad but never cared felt any affection for her son. She took her husband’s death grievously.
Tio Pedring - Victor’s uncle, he adopted Victor after the leaving of his sister. He forces Victor to become a newspaper boy.
Nacio - He is a newspaper boy. He was Victor’s new friend. Though full of cruel vices, Victor took his death as another major loss. Social Injustice
Child Labor THEME CONFLICT Victor is a child who suffered from different kinds of difficulties in life. He was introduced in the story with an activist father and a not supportive mother. Later in the story, Victor’s father was shot during a strike. Upon discovering the bad news, Victor was cowered in shadows and her mother cried in anger, fury and frustration. Sooner, her mother found a new father for her son but Victor disapproved of him. Then one morning, Victor woke up with his mother gone with the man she was going with. Due to the absence of his mother, his mother’s older brother, Tio Pedring, recommended Victor to work for him as newspaper boy. Victor didn’t hesitate and took the job leading him to become as one of the “Children of the City”. PLOT The story is about the life of Victor, an eight year old boy whose father was involved in a company menace because of unjust salaries and compensations. His father joined the employee's strike and there he met his death when he was shot by the police officers managing the chaos in the strike. Victor was shocked to know the sudden death of his father on a newspaper. He and his mother were in deep pain upon hearing his father's death.
Soon, her mother had a new husband. She left Victor to his older brother. There, he was trained to be a newspaper boy in the dangerous streets of Avenida. He met there many children doing just like what he is. But he once made a friend named Nacio. Unfortunately, Nacio was run over by a car while charging into the street. In those dark street he learned how to curse-say bad words and smoke cigarette because he was influenced by a group of unmannered teenagers. He found himself alone in the street, sometimes being beat up by bullies. STUDY GUIDE 1. Characterize Victor. What kind of a boy is he? Describe his relationship with his father?
2. To what socioeconomic status do the characters belong?
3. Identify the conflict of the story.
4. Is the situation in the story similar to other urban poor families living in big cities in our country? ANSWERS 1. A good description of Victor would be, strong and resilient. For a very young age, he has managed to live without the guidance of his parents and has worked for his own hard-earned money. He has tried not to be a conformist towards his working environment but he ended up doing what his young co-worker’s was doing. His relationship towards his father was very intimate. The two would wander outside the streets of Manila for leisure. STUDY GUIDE 5. Explain what the author is saying about the children of the city.
6. Was there a change in the character of Victor after the death of his father and his best friend Nacio?
7. Figure out what could happen to Victor when he grows up to be an adult.
8. Give the meaning of his name "Victor". Is he victorious? ANSWERS THE END :] ANSWERS ANSWERS 5. In the story, the author is describing the lives of the children in the city of Manila. The children who sacrificed their childhood and start working at a very young age to suffice their needs. They also experienced the cruelty of the city. A city flushed with triumphant charity campaigns, where workers made sign statements certifying they received the minimum wage, where millionaire politicians received Holy Communion every Sunday, where mothers taught their sons and daughters the art of begging, where orphans and children from broken homes slept on pavements and under darkened bridges and where best friends fell out and betrayed one another. 6. There was a change in the character of Victor after the death of his father. He dropped out of school and employed as a newsboy to earn money and to support his needs. He had the sense of responsibility when his father died and when his mother suddenly disappeared with the strange man. Also when his best friend died on a car accident, Victor became more taciturn and withdrawn as Nacio was the only the close friend he had in the newspaper plant. ANSWERS 7. From our point of view, as Victor grows up as an adult he will be more aware on what kind of city he was living in. He will gain friendship with his co-workers in the newspaper plant and he will adapt the vices that his co-workers are taking in like smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. He will also have a family of his own and sustain them with their needs. Despite of his vices, he will promise to his family that he will never leave them like what his mother had done to him. ANSWERS 8. Victor is a Latin word which means a champion or a winner. In the story, Victor does not seem to be victorious because in the end of the story, he accepted the vices, which is smoking, offered by his co-workers. It means that he gave up what he knew was right and instead he blended in with the lifestyle of his co-workers. He finally adapted the kind of living in the city. Bariring, Katrisse T.
Oberes, Karry Raia C.
Padolina, Enrico Carlo T. ANSWERS 2. Low – class citizens. 4. It is in some way similar to what the urban poor are experiencing in present time, but Child Labor today is strictly forbidden. When children are seen working in streets, their parents and employer can be charged for a criminal act. PLOT The story ended when the author realized how cruel the world is..."... And Victor, swirled the life of the city: this city, flushed with triumphant charity campaigns, where workers were made to sign statements certifying they received minimum wage, where millionaire politicians received Holy Communion every Sunday, where mothers taught their sons and daughters the art of begging, where orphans and children from broken homes slept on pavements and under darkened bridges, and where best friends fell out and betrayed one another."