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abuse of black slaves in America, he thought that a novel should be written about the abuses that Philippine natives were suffering at the hands of the Spanish friars. He proposed to his Filipino friends in Madrid in 1884 that they collaborate in writing a novel on the Philippines. This group of friends included his hosts, the Paternos (Pedro, Máximo, and Antonio), and Graciano López Jaena. Although the others approved of the idea of writing on Philippine life, they all wanted to write about women rather than about national problems and in any case preferred to gamble and flirt than to write. Rizal then decided he would have to write the entire book himself. Rizal began work on the Noli while still in Madrid, Spain. Of the remainder, most was written in Paris. He finished the book in Berlin, Germany. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, a well-known writer and political activist, volunteered to be the proofreader and consultant. When he was finishing the book in December 1886, Rizal was penniless and despaired of ever publishing it. The novel might never have seen print had it not been for the support of his wealthy friend, Máximo Viola, who came to visit him in Berlin. Rizal gratefully presented him with the galley proofs of Noli on 29 March 1887, the day that Noli was printed. The title "Noli me tangere" is a Latin phrase that Rizal took from the Bible, meaning "Touch me not." In John 20:13-17, the newly-risen Christ says to Mary Magdalene: "Touch me not; I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." It has also been noted by French writer D. Blumenstihl that "Noli me tangere" was a name used by ophthalmologists for cancer of the eyelids. That as an ophthalmologist himself Rizal was influenced by this fact is suggested in his dedication, "To My Country": "Recorded in the history of human sufferings is a cancer of so malignant a character that the least touch irritates it and awakens in it the sharpest pains. Thus, how many times, when in the midst of modern civilizations I have wished to call thee before me, now to accompany me in memories, now to compare thee with other countries, hath thy dear image presented itself showing a social cancer like to that other!" As shown by this excerpt, the alternate English title, The Social Cancer, is taken from the book's dedication. Key characters Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, the main character, is a young illustrado who has been studying in Europe for 7 years according to the wishes of his father. Influenced by his father, his studies and his observations of other countries, he has developed patriotic and progressive ideas which he wishes to put into action in his country. He is very much like Rizal himself. Quoted as saying that to achieve liberation, they need the "catuiran ng lakas" , or the use of force. María Clara de los Santos is Ibarra's faithful, pure and modest sweetheart. She is the portrait of an ideal woman, partly drawn perhaps from Rizal's love Leonor Rivera. Padre Dámaso was once a good friend of Ibarra's father. He was, until the start of the novel, the domineering and condescending curate of San Diego, where the property of the Ibarra family is located, and continues to be a powerful figure in San Diego. Biological father of María Clara, as he takes advantage of Doña Pia, mother of María Clara and wife of Capitán Tiago Padre Salví is the new parish priest of San Diego, who lusts after Maria Clara. Elías, a common laborer whose family has suffered much, dreams of revolution. He may be said to represent another side of Rizal. Tasio is an old man who received an excellent education in his youth but was persuaded into discontinuing his studies, which he was told would lead him away from his faith. The character is based on Rizal's older brother, Paciano. Sisa is the mother of two young boys who disappear. With her mother love, her grief and her frustration, she is thought to represent the suffering motherland. Doña Victorina is a native woman who desperately tries to look like a Spaniard. She was so determined to marry a Spaniard that she was willing to settle, late in life, for a toothless stuttering man. She convinces him to pretend to be a doctor to raise their status and society. Crisipín- brother of Basilio. Dies at the hands of the "sacristan mayor" and Padre Salví.
Damaso accused Don Rafael of being a heretic because he refused to go to confession. holding a knife at his throat. the former curate of San Diego and godfather to his daughter Maria Clara. where María Clara's family also has a house. Capitan Tiago (Don Santiago de los Santos). saving his life. A mysterious boatman captures it but is attacked by the creature. For reasons Ibarra cannot understand. the gravediggers decided not to take the trouble of burying the corpse again. because he claimed that a heretic such as Don Rafael was undeserving of a Catholic burial ground. since it was raining. Sisa. goes mad and wanders the town. During the school's inauguration. who is wanted by the Civil Guard for assaulting a priest. Although he is unable to explain Damaso's change of attitude toward his father. Don Rafael Ibarra. Ibarra hosts a dinner afterwards. But just when it seemed the matter would be settled and he would acquitted. Guevarra illuminates Ibarra regarding the events preceding his death. When they disappear their mother. Padre Salví. pretending he has to attend to an important matter. and graciously excuses himself. a wealthy haciendero of San Diego. In a rage.Basilio. Others in San Diego also suffer at the hands of the clergy. Don Rafael died in prison. Dámaso arranged for Don Rafael's corpse to be dug up and moved to the Chinese cemetery. Still not content with the sufferings he had put Don Rafael through. they threw Don Rafael's body in the river. Capitán Santiago de los Santos . Last person to see Elías alive. even though Maria Clara complains he has been gazing at her lustfully. Later Don Rafael was also accused of being a filibuster when a Spanish tax collector died accidentally when he defended a boy the collector was assaulting. including Doña Victorina. It begins by detailing Don Rafael's nationalistic reasons for sending Ibarra to Europe to be educated. so the young people and their chaperones go fishing without him on Ibarra's pond. He goes to see his father's grave at the Catholic cemetery and finds it has been disturbed. Finally. He is followed by another guest. However. Ibarra goes to his aid. Padre Salví can only make it to the picnic. But María Clara stops him from doing . began not long after Ibarra left for Europe. Two young sacristans. Damaso's change of attitude towards his friend Don Rafael. San Diego.brother of Crispín and son of Sisa and Pedro. Synopsis Ibarra's Homecoming The young Filipino Juan Crisostomo Ibarra has just returned to the Philippines after 7 years of study in Europe. Having left the party before she arrived. Ibarra learns two things: the authorities have approved his plan to put up a school and the mysterious boatman he saved is a man named Elías. She rereads it. He invites prominent figures in society. Padre Damaso first snubs then insults the young man. He was thrown into prison. Dámaso again insults him and his father. Padre Sibyla and Padre Damaso. the very next day Ibarra goes to see his sweetheart María Clara. Tasio supports his noble objectives but warns him he must win over the authorities to have a chance of success. He has decided to put up the school as a tribute to his father's belief that the education of the people would lead to the country's liberation. hosts a dinner to welcome him home. They find that a large cayman has eaten all the fish in one of the corrals. Ibarra invites María Clara and other young people to go fishing then have a picnic on his property. are accused of of stealing from the church. Lieutenant Guevarra (a Guardia Civil). Don Rafael had for many years doubted the value of confession and refused to go. Crispín and Basilio. Out of courtesy. Run-ins with Authorities Ibarra discusses his plans with the learned town eccentric. During the picnic. refusing to acknowledge his friendship with his father. Ibarra can no longer take his insults. Instead. Tasio.accepts María Clara as his own daughter. Padre Dámaso among the invited. Although morally upright. Don Rafael's enemies joined Padre Dámaso in making accusations against him. he also invites the new curate. an affluent resident of Binondo. An old family friend. there is an attempt to kill Ibarra but Elías saves him. Guevarra prepared the case for his defense and found a good lawyer to represent him. Ibarra grabs him. an exceptionally beautiful young girl. María Clara reveals that she had always carried the letter Ibarra wrote for her before he went to Europe. Incidents in San Diego Ibarra then goes to his hometown. The town schoolmaster tells Ibarra he was discouraged by the curate from using the new teaching methods that he found effective.
The various sectors of native Philippine society. Ibarra's letter to María Clara is produced and his words are manipulated so that the love letter then becomes evidence against him. but she remains weak for some time afterward. Rizal parodies native social climbers who wish to be associated with the Spaniards in Capitan Tiago and. refusing to marry Linares or anyone else. greedy. Elías meets the runaway sacristan Basilio. Elias tells Ibarra to lie down. who had a change of heart and returned to burn Ibarra's papers. Greatly upset. who had just come back to the town to find his mother. Dámaso is able to persuade Capitán Tiago to forbid his daughter from marrying Ibarra. Elías tries to move him with the story of how his family suffered at the hands of a Spanish merchant and other wealthy and influential members of society. Sadly. and Doña Victorina with her pathetic Spanish husband whom she brandishes like a trophy. he leaves Ibarra. thanks to Elías. Elias serves as a decoy by jumping into the water. bleeding to death. however. condescending to the natives. is the answer to the country's ills. unaware that Ibarra is still in the boat. Sisa died soon after she recognized her son. The brutality of the civil guards and the corruption of government officials are also shown. At first there appears to be no actual evidence against him. upon his death. Ibarra meets with the Captain General and wins his support. Ibarra is excommunicated by the Archbishop for assaulting Dámaso. The guards shoot at him. These letters were found by Padre Salví in the house passed onto him by Padre Damaso. The various friars in the book--haughty. rich and poor. He wishes to say goodbye to her although he believes that she betrayed him by giving the letter he wrote her to the jury. Soon afterward. Doña Victorina. Then suddenly. He pokes fun at pious women who are fully sold on the idea of saving their souls with the buying of indulgences and other mistaken religious beliefs. The Filipinos will find in it the history of the last ten years«" Rizal's main purpose was to expose the abuses of the Spanish friars and government officials. María Clara becomes ill with a fever. and he bows to her wishes. Allying oneself with the Spaniards. to no avail. but Ibarra insists that reform. thus making her not the daughter of Capitan Tiago. But soon afterward. It is Christmas Eve when Elías arrives at the Ibarra forest. Elías tries to convince Ibarra at this point to lead a revolt. and lustful--possessed well-known faults of the Spanish friars in the Philippines. While doing this. The Escape Ibarra. but of Padre Dámaso. the head of the Guardia Civil with his vulgar harridan of a mistress. is seen as the only way of gaining respect and benefits.any further violence. Themes Rizal described Noli Me Tangere to his friend Blumentritt thus: "The Novel is the first impartial and bold account of the life of the tagalogs. Ibarra is arrested and imprisoned. The excommunication is thus lifted. He then dies lamenting not having seen the liberation of his country. Linares is introduced by his relatives. then covers him with grass. Contrasting couples are presented: Sisa with her abusive ne'er-do-well husband. Elías goes to warn him and together they go over the Ibarra family papers so they can discard anything that appears incriminating. María Clara explains to Ibarra that she only handed over the letter he wrote her in exchange for a couple of scandalous letters written by her mother before Maria Clara's birth. waiting for a chance to make his getaway. María Clara hears that Ibarra was killed and is so overcome with grief that she begs Padre Dámaso to confine her in a nunnery. hence social climbing. In his last moments in the forest. They revealed that Dámaso raped her mother. These faults of the natives. saying: The nunnery or death! Dámaso explains that he only wanted María Clara to have a life of freedom and happiness. Elias discovers that Ibarra's great-grandfather was the very Spanish merchant who set off the chain of his family's misfortunes. When some guards spot them. Because of this disgrace. having escaped from prison with the help of Elías. The situation of peasants who choose to become outlaws out of desperation and the fondness for gambling of the common folk are also examined. Doña Victorina. goes to see María Clara one last time before leaving the country. are usually at least in part traced to the abuse of the conquerors. Ibarra is accused by Padre Salví of being a subversive. are also represented. the foolish Spanish quack doctor Don Tiburcio and his absurd pretentious wife. never revolt. But she holds firm. along with Sisa's. which she could never achieve in a marriage to a native. Padre Damaso presents a new suitor. Elías asks Basilio to burn his body. His feelings in turmoil. Ibarra gives her a medicine which cures her. a Spaniard named Linares who has just arrived from Spain. to a greater extent. The education that could uplift the people's minds and enable them to work for freedom and justice are denied them for the same reason. Hearing of this. Ibarra and Elias continue their flight by boat. There are hints that the poor are driven to crime and banditry by the injustice of the civil guards and that religious hypocrisy and false beliefs result from the refusal of the friars to properly educate the masses so they may continue to take advantage of their ignorance and dependence. .
a half-damned soul. sedition and forming an illegal association. he was soon arrested. The self-sacrificing mother is represented by Sisa. he accepted Rizal's statement that the book was merely an honest presentation of the country's situation and not a call to revolution. freemason. agent of Bismarck (Otto von Bismarck). However. The corporal (native of Madrid) believes that I hold a foreign passport and that I take a walk at night. found guilty and executed." In other words. Then there is the strong and constant expression of gratitude in Elías's behavior to Ibarra. everybody is asking me about it.. El Filibusterismo. Family devotion is seen in the relations of Ibarra. By presenting different sides of the national situation. his Noli Me Tangere and later its sequel. The Philippine Revolution broke out soon after his exile ended. . who had long maintained allegiance only to those of their own region. Rizal fulfilled his intent of presenting a "bold and impartial account" of Philippine life. With its presentation and analysis of Spanish abuses. Sure enough. Rizal was accused of being a subversive because of the content of the book. witch. tried for rebellion. Protestant. and it was eventually banned. When he returned to the Philippines after completing his medical studies. He wrote and published El Filibusterismo while abroad. like the schoolteacher. They would like to anathematize (excommunicate) me. the book served to unify the Philippine natives. During the visit following the publication of Noli. All this only added to its popularity among the masses.. the novel not only exposed the sufferings of the Philippine natives but took steps towards defining the national identity. The civil guard firmly believe in all that and they whisper that I am sketching plans. he was exiled in Dapitan by the Spanish authorities. In doing so. inspired revolutionaries in their cause. The purity and faithfulness of María Clara and other women is also dwelt upon. As said by Rizal in a letter to his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt on 5 September 1887: "My book has raised a great deal of uproar. who secretly obtained copies.. but when Rizal defended himself and gave him the book to read. Rizal had gotten into further trouble with the friars when he aided his townsmen in demanding agrarian reform and had to leave home again. Historical context Completed when he was 26. with their parents and guardians.Rizal also presents the positive qualities of his countrymen. Thus I prefer to stay at home.. Governor-General Emilio Terrero confronted him with this charge. He feared the Spanish authorities would credit him as a revolutionary leader. it emphasized the need for reforms. He had already written essays and poetry with nationalistic themes previously. Rizal had problems with the authorities due to their reception of the book. etc. Noli Me Tangere was Rizal's first novel. the Archbishop of Manila and other friars remained prejudiced against the book. They take me for a German spy. Despite Rizal's clearly expressed reluctance for revolution.. With its vision of a national identity. The book was a call to the assertion of national identity and the fight for equality with the conquerors.. María Clara and others.
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