December 11, 2012

Short story: Midsummer (Manuel Arguilla)

Midsummer by Manual Arguilla

The theme of the story is all about attraction and being enamored during the first meeting between two people: Manong and Ading. The story is set in the middle of summer where we can feel the hotness and scorching heat of a relationship that is growing. It is during midsummer when plants are growing just like the growing relationship of the two characters. The story is a not-so-special meeting between a man and woman that might have a promising relationship in the future. The character’s conversation is plain just like the landscape setting but it was filled with passion and emotions. The story is very detailed which let us readers conclude that they both have the same feelings for each other. Although the story is more on portraying the feelings of Manong, we can also say that Ading is attracted to him in the way she observes and approach him. As readers, we can feel the tension between the two people as Manuel Arguilla’s details how the characters look and act; for example: Her lips parted in a half smile and a little dimple appeared high upon her right cheek. Manuel Arguilla might want his readers to capture the possibility of seeing love between two strangers in their first meeting. The story might be described as love at first sight. It’s about the encounter of Manong and Ading at an isolated village well. It is noontime and a very burning day in summer, Manong was carrying his cart towards the well when he saw a young woman named, Ading. At first, Ading didn’t notice Manong and Manong is hesitating to talk or approach her. Even though Manong was unfortunate that Ading didn’t mind him, while he was eating, Ading approached him and stared at him. They had a little conversation, and the bucket of water splashed in his food unintentionally. After that incident, Manong helped Ading in filling the jar again. The sun is almost everywhere, it is then that she invited Manong to her home which made Manong more interested to her. Midsummer closes with Manong, following Ading in the direction of her house where there is a shade of relief from the heat of the day. Midsummer might be read as an illustration that is simple. When we reflect on the story, there is a comparison between the youth and liveliness of the couple. The story is full of emotion that captivates the readers easily. In reality, love at first sight simply opinionated by other people. We can’t really feel love when you first met someone, especially to a stranger, but you may feel attracted to him or her. The story is only after the attraction during the first meeting of the character; therefore readers are kept thinking what might be the ending of their relationship – is it a happy or bad ending? Destiny also works in the story because things were going unexpectedly especially the last part. The last part which is “He felt very strong. He felt that he could follow the slender, lithe figure to the end of the world” struck us the most because that part made us know that there will be something more after that meeting- something unpredictable might happen between the characters. The characters in the story symbolize the Filipino people before particularly the dalagang Filipina and a binata from rural area. The man in the story or Manong is the one striving to look for a work with his pet bull. The woman is hospitable because she invited Manong to their house. The story is describing the typical way of a dalagang Filipina met a binata; which is comparable to our generation where traditional way of meeting someone is different. The faced-paced lifestyle in urban areas is far from the simplicity living in rural areas. Manong treated Ading with respect and kindness. Nowadays, we misinterpret love and attraction. Love is something you will feel for the longest time; while being attracted is the opposite. Life is also full of surprises and you’ll never know what’s waiting for you. Things go unexpectedly just like the story. In the middle of the summer, a man never felt anything like that before when he saw and got a chance to talk with the woman. Comparing the characters, the physical strength of man and their power to captivate women are shown; while women are also trying their best to be strong but then they always have weakness. Manuel Arguilla wrote this openly using the Filipino setting and attributes. The story is really happening. Only Filipinos could relate in the story because it describes Filipino people before- mahinhin and torpe. We think that Arguilla wanted to write the way Filipino acts. Filipino traits like how we eat, how we greet other people, especially strangers, our casualness toward other people, and also our quick acceptance of others are seen it the story. Manuel wrote this story with vivid and understandable descriptions. Manuel Arguilla wrote Midsummer during American colonial period where Filipinos are striving their way to live with new influence and balance it with their traditional way. The overall story is simple and uncomplicated yet bringing us modernized Filipinos to look back on our past and appreciate its simplicity.

Uh, Grammar corrections? Comment! 
Thanks for reading :)


  1. The story also portrayed an Ilocano landscape. With only 2 charaters whom of which are Manong & Ading ( Kuya & Neneng in Ilocano respetively ) A place so parched and dry which is ironically not far from the sea. The authors is a master of imagery.Take example of the coconut shell and the whole simple meal which manong had prepared,I liked the way it was vividly written. The contrast between the dry & scorching rocky road and the cool shade under the mango tree a haven from the mid-noon sun, of which a well is ready to quench thirst from a tired traveler and his beast of burden.I also loved the way he described the bull, detailed in close-up view. How does it look when its drinking and salivating out of thirst and perhaps tiredness, which is so real.
    It also suggests sexual characteristics.The description of the girl itself makes her a rather sexy petite girl (described by the way she walks and the curb of her body, and the long black, shiny hair she has which caught Manong's gaze). And when the girl accidentally splashed water on her breasts which makes her clothing clung to her bosom,molding "twin hillocks of her warm brown breast on the wet cloth"which means she has nothing underneath that single bodice of hers. Manong's observation of Ading's body is so keen,why would he do that? Even the whiteness of Ading's armpits didn't escape his rather shy eyes. And the remarks she made when they decided to leave the well..."Our house is just beyond that point...We have NO NEIGHBORS" she just stating a fact or is it some kind of a subtle invitation to 'something more'?. I read this story way back in the summer of 1994, when i was enrolling myself in NEU. That was a long time ago but the picturesque of this story made an imprint in my mind, burned so deep that up until now I could place myself on that hot & dry, but romantic place by the sea.-------- jonats morandarte FB

  2. i will use this story for our Literature film showing

  3. beep boop brerrp

  4. what is the history and all about of this short story?