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Benito Roy C.

Labastida

Grade 11-GAS-2A

Ang Pinakahuling Kuwento ni Huli

(A Critique Paper)

SHORT BACKGROUND OF THE AUTHOR

Lilia Quindoza Santiago is the daughter of Victorino Quindoza of Sta. Cruz, Marinduque and
Buena Cadanilla of Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, and spouse of the songwriter Jesus Manuel Santiago,
mother of four children: Haya Pag-asa, Halina Mandala, Balagtas Himigbayan and Daniw Plaridel.
Born in Manaoag, Pangasinan but growing up and studying in Baguio City, she writes in her writings
on women's issues relating to Indigenous Peoples, Iloko and other ethnic groups in the Philippines.
She taught Filipino literature and creative writing at U.P., and became Associate for Fiction in Likhaan:
Creative Writing Centre, U.P. Diliman Quezon City. In 2004, she was awarded the GAWAD Balagtas
Union of Philippine Writers (UMPIL) and earned her an Outstanding Professional Service Award from
U.P. Alumni Association.

SETTING

The story began at dawn, when Huli, a mute, garbage woman, screamed loudly and woke the
people of her town, Dimatanto, which is also where the whole story occurred. The story revolved
around the time when Huli in Dimatanto, which started as her being a baby born from a disgraced
child from a rich family and to when the story ended, her left her mad (she was planning on escaping
the hospitalwhere she was brought to “change the society”, as the last part of the story suggests).
Interestingly, the name of the town, Dimatanto, is a word in the Filipino language, which means
“incomprehensible” or “not understandable”. This wordplay seems a little self-evident but really crafty
because it somehow explains the story of the people against Huli, and as well as their lives as well,
which can be both described as tangled, tattered and does not know where it’s going.
CHARACTERS

The one of the character of the story is named Huli (the protagonist), as mentioned earlier, is a
mute, garbage woman. Although she is mute, she is not deaf, which means she has heard all the
things that people of Dimatanto have thrown against her. In this story, she was frequently the talk of
the town, because of her appearance and as well as her unknown origin, specially, on how she came
to Dimatanto. Huli, most of the time just ignores it, but when she realized she could fight, she fought.
Sadly, her resistance to violence using violence did not do any good to her because she lost her mind
and killed a man along the way. I find that this character symbolizes helplessness, when we cannot
speak and stand for ourselves and how in these times of helplessness, we wake up our inner demons
and do the things which we become delusional and impose new kinds of values. The character also
symbolizes the poor Filipino people, criticizing and lamenting the very society where they belong, a
society where their voices cannot be heard and the result of this is very devastating that those poor
people cause destruction upon themselves. Another thing to point out is that Huli learned how to
express her sadness and frustrations from the social bondage that disables her from protecting herself
from the hurtful stories of the people who do not know her since she cannot speak from herself through
nothing. It’s as if the author wants to show the effects of vulnerability and frustration, as stated earlier.
Another character from this story is Francisca, Huli’s mother and the town’s tailor. The town thought
of her as Huli’s aunt, because she introduces Huli as her niece. Francisca gave birth to Huli without
her lover (presumably) with her. This made her family angry, and then tried to kill her baby. She then
escaped went to take care of her baby on her own. She loved Huli, but introduced her as her niece
because she is afraid of what the people may say about her. The character shows an incredible
aspect of humanity, love and as well as one of its terrible aspect, cowardice, cowardice from staining
her and her family’s reputation. Francisca helped shape the main character’s attitude towards people,
on how people can show humanity but have within themselves an underlying sickness beneath all it.
Even though Huli seemed helpless after her mother died, there was another person who took care of
her, which was Tinyong, the barangay tanod, whom Huli had slain at the dawn. Tinyong helped her
to survive. She took care of her, like he took care of his family. But for the people of Dimatanto, his
goodness was misunderstood. He seemed to have made Huli his mistress. This character is the
representation of goodness in the society; a voice for the helpless, so to speak. Although his too much
goodness did him nothing good, for he was killed. He suffered the consequences of evil, by evil,
meaning the things people of Dimatanto have done against her. Instead of teaching Huli to fend for
herself, he took care of her, which was the last thing Huli should do. The goodness on her only sufficed
physical needs. It made her feel accepted and fed, but deep within her, is a voice that only wants to
be heard. Instead of Tinyong being a medium of goodness, he was a person who only knows how to
pity. He became a test of Huli’s underlying capability: to do evil. One of the people that pushed Huli
to do such a horrendous thing is the town investigator. This character sexually harassed Huli. This
character symbolizes evil in the society, who always hides from sight. Someone who is capable of
doing evil, for the sake of evil. The seemingly uncontrollable force, a force that is exerted by the
person who cannot control it. A force that exists only for itself and concerned only for itself, the
sustenance of it hunger and the destruction of everything. The investigator is the one who triggered
Huli to kill Tinyong because, presumably, Huli felt tired of being bullied around, so he put out all his
anger to Tinyong, who was just trying to help her. Of all the character’s that surrounded Huli, this is
the one that seemed the most important, the people of Dimatanto. The people of the town was the
one that set Huli’s eyes on fire. It made her aware of the people, how they live and how they kill (by
killing, meaning, destroying the environment and etc.). It made her see the people’s path towards the
future, only concerned with looking as pleasant as possible, and is very crooked and tangled and do
not know where it’s going. The way that their stories about Huli can also be described like this, full of
unnecessary details and very wrong. This made Huli mad, thinking that if she physically acts out
against this kind of thing, she could change everything. The people of Dimatanto also created the
children in the cemetery, which Huli always talks to. Of course, all of these are in her mind, but those
manifestations sprung from her sadness and anger of the people, which lead to her understanding of
the people, the poor and indecisive people of Dimatanto. These “children” taught Huli to become
human.

PLOT

The plot surrounds on Huli’s life, from her deafening shrill at dawn from killing Tinyong, her life
as garbage woman roaming around the streets, then going back in time to tell to tell her story since
she was a child, when she grew to be abused for her disability, and to her on the caring hands of
Tinyong, her being molested by the town investigator, up to her murdering Tinyong and on the last
part, which is just a lamentation of all the things that happened to her and the town. The story also
discussed her mother’s life briefly, her frustrations about being voiceless and helpless, and of her
being with and eventually being away, together with the “children of the dark”.
ANALYSIS OF THE THEME

A lot of themes can be brought from this story, like the triumph of evil over good or the magnitude
of the effects of bullying, and a lot more but, the story seems to emphasize the plight of the Filipino
society. The story emphasizes the voiceless Filipino people, which was mentioned a lot earlier, and
how these unheard voices are always controlled and modified and manipulated for the sake of an
unknown gain. This means that Filipino focuses on molding itself into a nation of seemingly
unspeakable magnanimity but refuses to start the change within themselves. Most of the Filipino
people focus on the large picture and not concerned with the tiny yet very intricate and important
aspect of the society. This brings total chaos and severe consequences for the people, because what
they created is a dysfunctional and crippled society, barely moving because of disability. As for the
triumph of evil over good, it is important to think that Huli is good, but what she did was evil, so her
frustrations led her to do something horrible towards someone.

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