I. Introduction Literature is an art that continuously evolve through time because of the contribution of various people. According to the known literary critic, Northrop Frye, one form of literary work is called fiction which comprises of novels, plays, narrative poetry, folktales and everything that tells a story and has internal characters.
Hence, mythology falls under this category. Mythology is the study of traditional stories about gods, goddesses and heroes belonging to a particular culture. Philippines is a nation with diverse culture yet mythology is one of the most neglected form of art in the Philippines. Most are often more familiar with Greek and Roman mythology. Until “Alternative Alamat” came and brought new flavor to Philippine Mythology like never before.
Alternative Alamat is an anthology of short stories written by distinguished Filipino authors and edited by Paolo Chikiamco, rendered for modern readers. With the authors’ creativity and thinking that is out of the box, they were able to form different characters with distinct characteristics. Each stories and supernatural beings are given new shape and form that travels across past and present Filipino culture which allows the readers to kindle their interest in what we can really call our own and be fascinated. Due to its unique storyline, it has gained popularity locally.
Furthermore, making this the foundation of the study, particularly Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St., the entry story of the book. This study aims to analyze the changes and differences of the setting, characters’ identity and appearance that occurred in the story through contrasting. Through the story the researcher will be able to discern why such changes happen. 2.
TheoryPostmodernism Postmodernism theory refers to the intellectual and artistic movement that emerged after the World War II era. Postmodern Literature defies the norms hence giving a new means of representation and unique style or characteristics to stories that depict postmodern life and culture. It reveals a crisis of identity of human being (ethnic, sexual, social and cultural) and its attempt for legitimization in a sanctimonious society. For postmodernists, more playful life and artistic options were possible, but those were suppressed by bourgeois ideals of self control and discipline linked to a capitalist economic form that fostered social inequality, the destruction of nature, and the reduction of human relations to mutual exploitation. Bourgeois ideologies caused radical changes in the nature and society.
Moreover, Kurt Vonnegut expounded on these ideas. For Vonnegut, Postmodernism aimed to remove the blinds and to show the world for what it really was— a construction, a representation, an ideological mirage with, oftentimes horrifying consequences. Postmodernism serves as avenue in revealing the truth about the world we live in; realities that are often unpleasant. In addition to this, Saussure had two ideas about language in a postmodernist view: One was that language is a self-contained system. Words are able to function as the names of things or actions because they are part of the system. The relation between words and things is entirely arbitrary. Another, language is a sign-system made up of interrelated terms none of which has substance or identity outside the system of relations. These relations are called “differences”.
Saussure broke the basic component of language into two parts: the signifier- printed image and the signified-the idea or meaning of the image conveyed by the signifier. Derrida expounded on these notions in an essay called “Differance,” wherein he explores the complication for philosophy of Saussure’s idea that identities in language are in fact made up of differences between terms. For Derrida, There is in the world a similar rationality or differentiality that operates in both time and space. “Presence” is the usual criterion of truth in philosophy, either in the form of the presence of the “thing itself” to consciousness or in the form of the idea grasped clearly by the mind as a presence. The presence is hallowed out by the fact that it is in time. It is as much what it just was as what it is just about to become.
In similar vein, objects that appear present to our mind are different in space from other objects. All are field-dependent, to use another term. For postmodernist philosophy, the presence of anything before us- is always elsewhere. Thinking in terms of objects that are present to the mind loses all validity as a way of determining what is true.
We have to take into account the complex relational field in which object is located and that give it its meaning. Therefore, it states that literature undergoes changes through space, time, location, culture and circumstances. 3. Novel’s Summary Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St., the entry story of Alternative Alamat is about Anagolay, the Philippine goddess of lost things. She is now called Ana in the mortal world.
The story started off with a flashback to the time when Eric was asking Ana for a pair of spectacles described as one with oval lenses framed in glass filled with nebulae that changes color from rich mauve-blue to bright golden green, stars also formed twinkling and floating around the lenses and toward the temple arms; it’s like a picturesque of a night sky. Ana would give it to him in exchange for his most treasured memory of the night sky. Eric did not accept the deal because all of his most treasured memory of the night sky is with Lisa, his girlfriend. The story is told from the perspective of Eric, a boy who came upon Ana’s little pawnshop by accident when on his way home he lost an expensive fountain pen intended for his father’s birthday. So he decided to go back to the places he had been to only to find himself on a street lined with attractively unusual little shops. All of the shops were closed except for one — Ana’s Little Pawnshop. He then finds himself employed in her little pawnshop, which she now runs, and sells the unclaimed things that appear in her storeroom behind the shop.
If the items remain unclaimed for thirty days, they will be moved to the shop to be appraised and sold. In this shop where lost objects end up, humans can buy things, and non-humans can trade magical items. The shop had all sorts of things: mugs, spectacles, sunglasses, tables, chairs, curtains, clothes, bags, purses, cameras, shoes, boots, jewelries, toys, combs, hats, books, notes and letters coming from various eras. Ana didn’t really need a helper, she just hired Eric because she is lonely and was hungry for constant company. One day, Alunsina, the virgin goddess of the eastern sky came busting to the shop drunk.
They talked about who got the Mask of Alunsina, it was Tala. Alunsina also noticed the wicker basket full of unopened letter from Maria Makiling A.K.A. Marie, she warned her not to trust her. While Ana refuse to open them because she doesn’t want to be a stockholder.
She has been avoiding this, often shifting topics once the conversation goes that way. Alunsina’s big mouth gave her no choice but to talk about it. Ana’s pawnshop is located in the middle of a block owned by Mariang Makiling, another local goddess. A corporation bought the land from the government, tore down the trees, burned the grass and filled it with cement and buildings. Instead of crying over spilled milk, she struck a deal with the mortals. So now she became a stockholder and a businesswoman.
She has become a capitalist, commercializing her realm — tearing down trees and smaller buildings for a mall…— and has thrown away the concept of love over money. Eric wanted to ask Ana why she decided to buy the shop but every time Eric would attempt to ask her she would talk about something else, changing the topic. Until there is this one night when Ana opened up after hearing a news about this little girl who went missing.
She said that she lost a little girl too. She visited the world and fell in love with a mortal, and gave birth to a girl. But the man fell out of love and Anagolay found herself abandoned. The man also took their daughter with him. She decided to stay there because she have fallen in love with the place and there is still a glimmer of hope in her heart that he will come back, that they will come back and they could go back. Sadness and the longing for her family is clearly seen in her eyes and smile. One day, Michael, Maria Makiling’s assistant dropped by the pawnshop to tell Ana that they’re tearing down the building to build a mall, and the pawnshop will be relocated. So they have to pack and leave by tomorrow.
She was given several months, but she never opened the letter and never replied. Ana was so upset so she told Michael that she wants Marie to come. Suddenly, Maria Makiling arrived and she tried to talk things over with Ana. Proposing that Ana can keep all the memories of her life’s greatest love including the pawnshop if she agreed to relocate. But if she decided to stay, she will lose both of it. The story ended with Ana giving Eric a gift– the jar containing nebulae from Tala’s spectacles– for him and Lisa.
The story doesn’t really resolve itself, but there’s a bittersweet farewell, a gift that was foreshadowed. It’s a delightful magical realist sort of story, where the gods mingle with mortals. 4. Discussion Postmodernism sought new means of representation, so “Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” gave alternative take or unique way of narrating Philippine Mythology.
Since this study aims to analyze the changes and differences of the setting, characters’ identity and appearance that occurred in the story through contrasting. The quotations and discussion below shows proof that there are changes and differences found in the setting, characters identity and appearance. 4.1. Setting The setting is the time and location where the story happened. The story took place in Ana’s Pawnshop on Makiling St. All of a sudden the sounds disappeared. I looked up in surprise and found myself on a stretch of road lined with quaint little shops.
One sold secondhand books; another, dresses, and jewelry; and still another, lamps and chandeliers. All of them were closed, however, except for this one store lit by a yellow light from inside…her shop had a display window, behind which a hand painted sign rested on a stand and read, “Ana’s Pawnshop”. The pawnshop was cluttered but looked snug and warm, with its gleaming hardwood floors and certain syrupy smell in the air. Ana felt safe in her little pawnshop which she consider as her home.
She believes that it will keep her from the danger she might face.With her glamour protecting this property, this is definitely the safest spot in town. In here you need not worry about fire, or floods or the sort of evil that forces men to throw a dead child into a river. But things started to heat up when Ana discovered that Maria Makiling is going to build a mall with her human partners and her pawnshop will be relocated.… “They’re tearing down the building, Ana,” Michael said.
“Marie’s human partners want to build a mall.” … “You will keep your shop, Anagolay. We’ll just relocate you.
” The setting was transformed from a forest, to village/street and soon to be a mall. The situation in the story is actually what is happening in reality. Capitalism is the primary root of modernization. Capitalists, Businessmen or people in the higher class have money and power. Hence, they are able to buy land properties in order to build malls or other businesses. This results to modernization yet there are horrifying consequences afterwards like destruction of nature and social inequality. The former includes deforestation, illegal logging and the like; while the latter is just like what Ana experienced since she doesn’t have power like Marie or the capitalists.
This is a visual presentation of Ana’s Pawnshop retrieved from https://akosimeow.deviantart.com/art/ Ana-s-Little-Pawnshop-on-Makiling-St-449032093 This is a visual presentation of modernization. Retrieved from: https://sustainabilityatspu.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/urban-vs-rural-living/ 4.2 Characters’ Identity Then main character in the story is Anagolay, she is the goddess of lost things. Her name was changed to Ana when she decided to live in the mortal world after she fell in love with a mortal.
… Ana was still Anagolay then, she said. She visited the world and fell in love with a mortal, and gave birth to a girl and lived as a married woman and a mother for years. But the man fell out of love, and Anagolay found herself abandoned. …”Lost things arrive here to be found”, she said.Ana told me that lost objects appeared in the storeroom behind the shop, located beside Ana’s kitchen and her bathroom and would remain there until claimed. If the items remained unclaimed for thirty days, they would be moved to the shop to be appraised and sold. The shop had all sorts of things: wineglasses and mugs, magnifying glasses and spectacles and sunglasses of all shapes and sizes and colors, tables and chairs from various eras, curtains and clothes and bags and purses, typewriters, cameras, shoes and boots and pumps, chests of jewelry, musical boxes, dolls and other toys, lac and silk, bronze candelabras, combs inlaid with pearls, hats adorned with hand-sewn designs and rhinestones, large vintage buttons, books and notes and letters.
My human clientele look through the shelves for items they can use as decor, Ana said. Some of these things are too old and broken to be worn or used. They pay me with human currency, and that’s what I use to pay humans who come in to pawn their products. My non-human clientele, on the other hand, usually just end up bartering each others items. They have no use for human objects, and human more often than not refuse to pay the price I ask for the items of magic. In the original version of Philippine mythology, Anagolay is the only daughter of Mapulon and Ikapati. Her husband is the god Dumakulem, by whom she is the mother of Apolake and Dian Masalanta. While in the story of Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.
, her name became Ana from Anagolay. She works as an owner of a pawnshop that aside from pawning products she also sells unclaimed things to humans and non-humans. Another character was Maria Makiling.
The quotation below shows the proof that the changes and differences in her character happened in the story. You shouldn’t have trusted her, Alunsina said. She’s corporate now. She’ll screw you over one of this days. “Who is the queen? I own this shop, but the rest of the block is owned by Maria Makiling.. … But doesnt she live in a forest?” “This is the forest!” Ana said, gleeful, as though she had caught me in a trap. “Was.
We’re sitting right in it. A corporation brought the land from the government , tore down the trees, burned the grass and filled it with cement and buildings. Instead of of hurling curses all around, however, Maria Makiling simply dusted herself off and struck a deal with the mortals. So now she’s a stockholder and a businesswoman. I believe she now responds to Marie. Ana shrugged. “I don’t blame the poor girl.
She’ suffered through a string of heartbreaks . if she believes she can heal by jumping into finance, then good for her . I just hate how the business has affected her, how she now treasures the impersonal.” In the original version of Philippine Mythology, Maria Makiling is a goddess residing in Mt. Makiling. She is beautiful, kindhearted and loving. She had a long shiny black hair and she often wear black pearls and gold jewelry. One superstition about her is that every so often, men would disappear into the forests of the mountain.
It is said that Makiling has fallen in love with that particular man, and has taken him to her house to be her husband, there to spend his days in matrimonial bliss. Another superstition says that one can go into the forests and pick and eat any fruits one might like, but never carry any of them home. In doing so, one runs the risk of angering Maria Makiling.
One would get lost, and be beset by insect stings and thorn pricks. The only solution is to throw away the fruit, and then to reverse one’s clothing as evidence to Maria that one is no longer carrying any of her fruit. Mount Makiling still abounds with superstitions and stories concerning Makiling. When people get lost on the mountain, the disappearances are still attributed to the diwata or to spirits who follow her. While in the story of Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St., Maria Makiling is called Marie and she is a stockholder and businesswoman. Furthermore, the changes in the characters’ name and identity occurred because of the the differences in time, space and culture.
Saussure’s signifier and signified argues that the signifier’s identity depends on the person giving meaning to it. So the name and identity changes based on the time, space and culture that the person giving meaning to it is currently experiencing or how his mind interprets it. The ‘presence’ of certain things depend on the person’s awareness of it or how clearly the mind grasps the idea. Objects, events and characters that appears to be in our mind is different in terms of time and space.
Therefore, the changes that took place in the character’s identity and appearance is due to the differences in time and space. 4.3 Characters’ Appearance The characters’ appearance play a vital role in this study in order for us to find out the physical differences between the original Philippine Mythology character of Anagolay and Maria Makiling. Ana is a beautiful woman in her thirties who has a warm presence,”Lost something?” a woman said. That was the first time I saw Ana. She seemed to be in her thirties and looked breathtakingly beautiful, her lines as defined as the stars in those forties-era films that Lisa liked so much: dark lids, red lips, wavy hair. And yet there was also something very warm about her presence.
If this were actually a movie, I’d cast her as the hot aunt who didn’t have children of her own, but who would have made an excellent mother. While Anagolay’s physical appearance is shown in the illustration below: This is a visual presentation ofAnagolay, the goddess of lost things. Retrieved from: https://trixdraws.
deviantart.com/ art/Anagolay-The-Goddess-of-Lost-Things-298810455 On the other hand, Marie is a business woman who has an intimidating aura and professional like physique: I didn’t hear Michael talk to anyone on the other line, but he suddenly told us, “She’s here,” and the glass door banged open and in strode a woman in a white business suit and red pumps , followed by two female assistants and another man in a suit. The woman, who had long ebony hair and light-brown skin, looked stern and no-nonsense, and crossed her arms as though she would rather be elsewhere. … Mariang Makiling flipped her hair over a shoulder, and the shop was suddenly filled with the heady scent of sampaguita. While Maria Makiling’s physical appearance is shown in the illustration below: This is a visual presentation of Mari Makiling. Retrieved from: http://ffemagazine.com/philippine-myths-legends-maria-makiling/ 5.
CONCLUSION The researcher therefore concludes that the changes and differences that occurred in the setting, characters’ identity and appearance happened because of the ever-changing space, time and culture brought by capitalism and modernization. The gods and goddesses were taken into the mortal world. The stories in Alternative Alamat had alternative takes on Philippine mythology in order to keep up with the trend and for the modern readers to be able to relate. Since majority is more aware about Greek mythology it awakens the interest of the people to read our own version of mythology.
Moreover, it removes the blinds and serves as an eye opener to the reality that is surrounding us which is oftentimes cruel and unpleasant.