Essay www.umanitoba.ca)The cultural environment Marian Villanueva writes about

Essay title: Marian Villanueva’s Siko

The theme that will be explored in this essay will be the dominant culture, prevailing cultural attitudes, and the mental environment/state. The two short stories that will be discussed in this essay are Marianne Villanueva’s Siko and Silence. In both short stories the leading characters show signs of breaking down because of physical, but also their mental stress.Marian Villanueva’s Short stories Siko, and Silance can relate in many ways. For instance the main characters of both stories seem to face relatively similar struggle, but in different context.

In this essay the struggle the main characters comprehend such dominant culture surrounding them, the prevailing cultural attitudes they encounter daily bases and their mental state will be compared to get a better understanding of type of themes and characterization the author Marianne Villanueva aspires to base her stories on.Culture: The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.( www.umanitoba.ca)The cultural environment Marian Villanueva writes about in her short stories and novels are dominantly centered on Filipino culture and Americanized Filipino culture. These are two cultures the author is familiar with through experience of living and being part of the cultural environment she writes about. In her short stories Siko, and Silence cultural environment author writes about are different, because the stories take place in different environments.

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But that said the culture the author is writing about in these short stories is the Filipino culture in different environments. In Siko you immediately get sense of feeling for the culture in the beginning of the story when the author is describing how villagers felt about the disappearance of the main character Aling Saturnina and her daughter Ana. How the villagers avoided to talk to journalist or even avoided discussing among themselves about the disappearance of a neighbor. In line 16 “The villagers don’t like to talk about the events that led to Aling Saturnina’s disappearance” (Siko,Geri&Mei, Stories about us, P.483). This quote indicates to me that the culture this short is betraying is closed culture, in that the people in that culture don’t interfere with affairs other than their own.

The culture, also seem to indicate to me culture of fear from authority. Although the main character Therese in the short story Silence is Filipino. The cultural surroundings in the story is mainly American or as called Americanized-Filipino culture. For instance you get sense of change in culture when one Therese’s Filipino friend tells her “ Don’t let your husband push you around. Don’t be too good.” (Silence, Marian Villanueva, 1999).

In story Siko the culture was closed culture, while in this story the Filipinos adapted to the open culture of the American society. Although in Silence the cultural settings the Filipinos in adapted is that of the dominant culture outside their homes, but inside the home of Therese the main character the prevailing culture is that of male dominated culture. Although Marian Villanueva’s stories are usually based on female characters, the prevailing cultural attitude she betrays in her stories is that of male dominated societies. In her stories, the author betrays environment were females are victims mental and physical abuse from males in their society. In Siko the main character Aling Saturnina comes across as woman who has been mental abused, because her husband has abandoned her to raise their 8 children by herself, also the fact that all her children except for one abandons her.

In line 106 “ She knew that when sons and husbands disappeared from the village, as her own had done, they had been lured away by more dangerous enchantments, such were to found in the big city of manila, not far to the south”(Siko,Geri&Mei, Stories about us,P.485). For example an article written by Filipino journalist Maurice Malanes, discussing a document produced by the Vatican that stirred debate among Filipino woman as to the role of woman in religion. Filipino woman’s groups accused religion as helping reinforce women’s subordination role to men. “Catholicism itself, along with other religions that developed in patriarchal or male-dominated societies, has propagated beliefs on the subordination of woman to men”(Dr.Torres,Eni,2004). In Silence you have two different prevailing cultural attitudes betrayed, for instance in Therese’s home you sense the cultural is that of male dominated in the household, while the vibe you sense outside is a less male dominated society.

For example you get a indication of male dominated household or setting when Therese around her husband at home, like in line.

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