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Symbolism and Imagery in The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa: A Study of Literary Devices


# The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa: A Summary and Analysis - ## Introduction - Introduce the author and his background - Provide a brief overview of the story and its themes - State the main argument or thesis of the analysis - ## Setting and Characters - Describe the setting of the story and how it reflects the mood and tone - Introduce the main characters and their roles in the story - Explain how the characters are developed and what they represent - ## Plot and Conflict - Summarize the main events of the story and how they advance the plot - Identify the main conflict and its resolution - Analyze how the conflict affects the characters and their relationships - ## Symbolism and Imagery - Discuss the use of symbolism and imagery in the story and what they convey - Focus on the fence as the central symbol and how it relates to the theme of boundaries - Explore other symbols and images such as the guitar, the vegetable rows, and the Christmas day - ## Theme and Message - Explain the main theme or message of the story and how it is expressed - Evaluate how the theme relates to the historical and cultural context of the story - Discuss how the theme resonates with the readers and what lessons it offers - ## Conclusion - Restate the main argument or thesis of the analysis - Summarize the main points and findings of the analysis - Provide a personal opinion or evaluation of the story and its impact - ## FAQs - List five frequently asked questions about the story or the analysis and provide brief answers The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa: A Summary and Analysis




The Fence is a short story by Jose Garcia Villa, a Filipino poet, literary critic, and painter. Villa is considered as one of the finest writers in Philippine literature and was awarded the National Artist of the Philippines for literature in 1973. He is known for his innovative use of language and punctuation, especially commas, in his poetry and prose. He also coined the term "reversed consonance" to describe his rhyming scheme in poetry.




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The Fence was first published in 1932 as part of Villa's collection of short stories titled Footnote to Youth. The story revolves around two neighboring families, the De Leons and the Crawfords, who live in a desolate place where their nipa huts are the only visible houses. The two families are separated by a bamboo fence that symbolizes their hatred and bitterness towards each other. The fence was built after Aling Biang, the wife of Aling Sebia's brother, caught her husband having an affair with Aling Sebia, a childless widow. The husband left after his infidelity was exposed and never returned. Aling Biang and Aling Sebia became enemies and refused to have any contact or communication with each other. They even neglected the vegetable rows that grew between their houses, lest they watered their neighbor's plants.


The story also focuses on the children of the two women, Iking and Rita. Iking is Aling Biang's son who is born with a harelip and a twisted foot. Rita is Aling Sebia's daughter who is conceived after her affair with Aling Biang's husband. She is born with a large mole on her face and a limp leg. Both children are physically deformed and socially isolated. They grow up without knowing each other's existence, as their mothers forbid them to cross the fence or talk to each other. However, one day, Iking sees Rita through a gap in the fence and feels a strange attraction towards her. He also hears her playing the guitar and longs to hear her complete the notes that she always leaves unfinished. He tries to communicate with her through whispers and gestures, but his mother soon discovers his secret and reinforces the fence with more bamboo poles. Iking becomes depressed and sickly, as he loses his only source of joy and companionship. He dies on Christmas day, after he tries to reach out to Rita for the last time.


The Fence is a tragic story that explores the themes of boundaries, hatred, loneliness, and love. It shows how the fence not only separates the two families physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. It also shows how the fence affects the lives of the innocent children who are deprived of friendship and happiness because of their mothers' feud. The story also illustrates how love can transcend boundaries and overcome hatred, as Iking and Rita develop a bond despite their differences and difficulties. However, their love is doomed by fate and society, as they are unable to express their feelings or escape their circumstances.


Setting and Characters




The setting of the story is important as it reflects the mood and tone of the story. The story is set in a barren and desolate place where there is no sign of life or civilization except for the two nipa huts that stand opposite each other. The setting creates a sense of isolation and emptiness that mirrors the feelings of the characters. The setting also emphasizes the contrast between the two families, as one hut is bigger and cleaner than the other. The setting also suggests that the story takes place in a rural area in the Philippines during the early 20th century, when social norms and values were more conservative and rigid.


The main characters of the story are Aling Biang, Aling Sebia, Iking, and Rita. Aling Biang is the wife of Aling Sebia's brother who was betrayed by her husband and her sister-in-law. She is a proud and bitter woman who holds a grudge against Aling Sebia for ruining her marriage and family. She is also a strict and overprotective mother who does not allow Iking to have any contact with Rita or anyone else outside their hut. She is obsessed with maintaining the fence that separates them from their neighbors.


Aling Sebia is a childless widow who had an affair with Aling Biang's husband out of loneliness and desperation. She is a remorseless and defiant woman who does not care about what others think or say about her. She is also a neglectful and indifferent mother who does not pay much attention to Rita or her needs. She is content with living in her own hut and playing her guitar.


Iking is Aling Biang's son who is born with a harelip and a twisted foot. He is a shy and timid boy who suffers from low self-esteem and social rejection. He is also a curious and sensitive boy who longs for friendship and love. He is attracted to Rita, the only girl he has ever seen, and finds solace in her music. He is willing to defy his mother and the fence to communicate with her.


Rita is Aling Sebia's daughter who is born with a large mole on her face and a limp leg. She is a quiet and reserved girl who does not have any friends or playmates. She is also a talented and expressive girl who plays the guitar as a way of expressing her emotions. She is intrigued by Iking, the only boy she has ever seen, and responds to his whispers and gestures.


Plot and Conflict




The plot of the story follows the chronological order of events that lead to the tragic end of Iking and Rita's love story. The plot can be divided into four stages: exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action.


The exposition introduces the setting, the characters, and the background of the story. It explains how the fence was built after Aling Biang caught her husband with Aling Sebia, and how the two women became enemies. It also describes the physical appearance and personality of Iking and Rita, and how they are isolated from each other and the world.


The rising action begins when Iking sees Rita through a gap in the fence and feels a strange attraction towards her. He also hears her playing the guitar and longs to hear her complete the notes that she always leaves unfinished. He tries to communicate with her through whispers and gestures, but his mother soon discovers his secret and reinforces the fence with more bamboo poles. Iking becomes depressed and sickly, as he loses his only source of joy and companionship.


The climax occurs on Christmas day, when Iking decides to reach out to Rita for the last time. He goes to the fence and whispers to her, asking her to play the guitar for him. She looks at him, seemingly in agreement, but before she can play, he falls down dead on the ground.


The falling action shows the aftermath of Iking's death and its impact on Rita and their mothers. Rita stops playing the guitar and becomes silent and withdrawn. Aling Biang cries over her son's body and realizes her mistake of keeping him away from Rita. Aling Sebia looks at Aling Biang with pity and sympathy, but does not say anything.


The main conflict of the story is the external conflict between Aling Biang and Aling Sebia, which results from their husband's affair. This conflict causes them to build a fence that separates them from each other and from their children. The conflict also affects their children, who are deprived of friendship and love because of their mothers' feud. The conflict is resolved tragically, as Iking dies trying to overcome the fence that divides him from Rita.


Symbolism and Imagery




The story uses symbolism and imagery to convey its themes and messages. Symbolism is the use of objects, actions, or characters to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Imagery is the use of descriptive language to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind.


The most prominent symbol in the story is the fence that separates the two families. The fence symbolizes the boundaries that are created by hatred, pride, and prejudice. The fence also symbolizes the isolation and loneliness that result from these boundaries. The fence prevents communication, understanding, and reconciliation between the two women, as well as between their children. The fence also represents the social norms and values that restrict the freedom and happiness of individuals who do not conform to them.


Another symbol in the story is the guitar that Rita plays. The guitar symbolizes Rita's emotions and expressions that she cannot verbalize or share with others. The guitar also symbolizes Iking's attraction and connection to Rita, as he is drawn to her music and longs to hear her complete it. The guitar also represents Rita's potential and talent that are wasted because of her circumstances.


Other symbols in the story include: - The vegetable rows that grow between the houses symbolize the life and fertility that are lost because of the hatred between the two women. - The Christmas day that marks Iking's death symbolizes the irony and contrast between joy and sorrow, hope and despair, life and death. - The physical deformities of Iking and Rita symbolize their social rejection and discrimination by others who judge them by their appearance. - The gap in the fence that allows Iking to see Rita symbolizes their desire and possibility to overcome the barriers that separate them. The story also uses imagery to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind and to evoke emotions and sensations. Some examples of imagery in the story are: - The description of the setting as "a desolate place where there was no sign of life except for two nipa huts that stood opposite each other" creates an image of isolation and emptiness. - The description of Iking's appearance as "a boy with a harelip and a twisted foot" and Rita's appearance as "a girl with a large mole on her face and a limp leg" creates an image of deformity and ugliness. - The description of Iking's feelings towards Rita as "a strange attraction that he could not explain" and Rita's music as "a melody that he could not forget" creates an image of curiosity and fascination. - The description of Iking's death as "he fell down dead on the ground" and Rita's reaction as "she looked at him with her large eyes" creates an image of shock and tragedy.


Theme and Message




The main theme or message of the story is the destructive effects of boundaries and hatred on human relationships and happiness. The story shows how the fence that separates the two families not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically, prevents them from communicating, understanding, and reconciling with each other. The story also shows how the fence affects the lives of the innocent children who are deprived of friendship and love because of their mothers' feud. The story also illustrates how love can transcend boundaries and overcome hatred, as Iking and Rita develop a bond despite their differences and difficulties. However, their love is doomed by fate and society, as they are unable to express their feelings or escape their circumstances.


The theme of the story relates to the historical and cultural context of the story, as it reflects the social norms and values that prevailed in the Philippines during the early 20th century. During this time, the Philippines was under American colonial rule, which imposed Western culture and ideology on the Filipino people. The Filipino people also faced discrimination and oppression from the colonizers, who regarded them as inferior and uncivilized. The story also reflects the influence of Catholicism on the Filipino culture, which emphasized morality, family, and tradition. The story also reflects the Filipino values of pride, honor, and loyalty, which motivated the actions and reactions of the characters.


The theme of the story resonates with the readers and offers some lessons for them. The theme teaches the readers about the importance of communication, understanding, and forgiveness in human relationships. It also teaches the readers about the dangers of hatred, pride, and prejudice in creating barriers that divide people. It also teaches the readers about the power of love in overcoming obstacles and challenges. It also teaches the readers about the value of life and happiness in contrast to death and sorrow.


Conclusion




The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa is a tragic story that explores the themes of boundaries, hatred, loneliness, and love. It shows how the fence that separates two neighboring families symbolizes their hatred and bitterness towards each other, and how it affects their lives and their children's lives. It also shows how love can transcend boundaries and overcome hatred, as Iking and Rita develop a bond despite their differences and difficulties. However, their love is doomed by fate and society, as they are unable to express their feelings or escape their circumstances. The story uses symbolism and imagery to convey its themes and messages, and to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind. The story also relates to its historical and cultural context, as it reflects the social norms and values that prevailed in the Philippines during the early 20th century. The story also resonates with the readers and offers some lessons for them.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the story or the analysis:



  • Q: Who is Jose Garcia Villa? A: Jose Garcia Villa is a Filipino poet, literary critic, painter, who is considered as one of the finest writers in Philippine literature. He is known for his innovative use of language and punctuation in his poetry and prose.



  • Q: What is reversed consonance? A: Reversed consonance is a rhyming scheme coined by Villa, in which the last sounded consonants of the last syllable or word are reversed for the appropriate rhyme.



  • Q: What is the significance of the title of the story? A: The title of the story refers to the bamboo fence that separates the two families, which symbolizes their boundaries, hatred, and isolation.



  • Q: What is the moral of the story? A: The moral of the story is that boundaries and hatred can destroy human relationships and happiness, and that love can transcend boundaries and overcome hatred.



  • Q: What is the tone of the story? A: The tone of the story is somber and tragic, as it depicts the sad and lonely lives of the characters and their tragic end.



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