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Behind the Shadows

Behind the shadows
By: Sanilyn Grace T. Zamora

         “Kill the baby! Kill the baby! Do it now!”
         The words seemed to reverberate on Jaime’s ears. He was trembling as he held the boy at gunpoint. Suddenly, a gunshot was heard…
         The dog’s barkings yanked him from the clutches of his recurrent nightmare. This nightmare continued to hunt him even at this untimely hour of his siesta. Big droplets of sweat imparted a wet sheen on his face as his nose flared for a deep intake of breath.
         It has been a decade since Jaime joined Diego’s group out of desperation. It is because Lucia, his wife was locked behind the bars of insanity after losing their only child. He had no money to pay for Lucia’s medication so he worked double time. He worked as a clerk, janitor, laborer, even being a vendor at the outskirts of the town.
         “Lucia’s condition is getting worse. To tell you honestly,” Dr. Guerero said.
         “But, doc, is there anything else that I can do help her plight?” Jaime said.
         “Unless you could provide 150,000.00 pesos for her medication and confinement to the mental institution then, that’s the only solution you have,” the doctor replied.
         “Thank you doc,” he replied with an air of hopelessness.
         “One… two…three…thousand pesos, only,” sighed Jaime as he counted his money for his wife’s medication. In the hidden gloom of his room he poured out his emotions, for failing to see a pinpoint of light in his tunnel of problems, until he met Diego.
         “Come on, Jaime, join us, you won’t get caught. We have connections. The policies won’t harm us. Come on just one time,” Diego beckoned Jaime to join his group with his eyes glinting with mischief.
         “The Black Mask”
         “Some other time perhaps,” Jaime yelled.
         “Oh, come on 50,000.00 pesos in just one night, that’s not bad,” Diego teased.
         “50,000.00 pesos? Really? I would be able to get my wife to the mental institution,” he thought for a moment.
         “No, it’s okay. Some time maybe,” he answered.
         “Four…five…thousand pesos,” Jaime counted his savings again.
         “We have many connections…50,000.00 pesos in just one night…”
         These words seemed to pave the way for a sudden upheaval of shock in frenzy state of quivers, felt in every corners of his body. Catching even a miniscule scintilla of the word sends erratic shivers to his spine, creates a lump at the pit of his stomach, and even bristle the hair at the back of his neck.
         “50,000.00 pesos, not bad, what if I’ll go to jail, what if I’ll get shot and die, what will happen to Lucia?” he thought.
         The next day he went to see Diego who, at that time was away for vacation.
         “He probably spent his money out there, and enjoying his life,” Jaime thought.
         “Well, if I have that money I would do the same. “
         “When will he come back?” he asked.
         “Next week.”
         “So by then, I’ll just wait until he comes and I’ll join his group—The Black Mask.”
         A week later…
         Jaime worked as hard as he could. But every time he counted his savings it still is not enough.
         “I have to conspire with Diego, “he thought to himself.
         “Hey, buddy,” Diego called.
         “Man, you’re back? When?” Jaime asked.
         “Just yesterday,” he replied.
         “I heard that you wanted to see me? What is it? Is there something that I can help you with? Have you thought about my offer?” Diego said.
         “Well, for first time 10,000.00 pesos, but if you become a regular it will increase into 100,000.00 pesos even up to millions every night.” Diego said.
         “Sounds very enticing and I can pay all my debts and I could send Lucia to the mental institute,” he thought.
         “All right.” He finally said.
         “Great!” so, tonight we’ll meet here at 9 pm sharp.
         “9 pm it is! I’ll be there.” Jaime said.
         As the night loomed closer, Jaime can’t help but look at his watch. “Tonight is the night.” He thought. He went to Lucia’s bed and kissed her for the last time.
         “So, guys, are you ready? Jaime, hold this.”
         “A gun? What for? You told me we were just going to rob? What’s with the gun?” Jaime asked in a swerve of confusion.
         “For self defense,” exclaimed one of his fellow. Everyone murmured and laughed.
         “Yeah, just bring it in case of…” Diego stopped.
         “Just carry it with you. Do you want this or not?”
         “Definitely,” Jaime said.
         “All right, vamos amigos,” Diego yelled.
         “Hey, you forgot this—the mask after all our gang is ‘The Black Mask’,” he added.
“I love you hon. “said Teressa.
         “I love you too hon.” Replied Miguel.
         “So, what are we going to do with Juan’s first birthday?”Teressa asked.
         “I’m thinking maybe we could have a big celebration and introduce our little Juan to the company. The time is quite ripe for Una Vita Ltd., to meet its future President.”
         “One proud papa huh?”
         “Of course, huh? What’s that? Can you hear that?”
         “Stop it you’re scaring me.”
         Then the work of The Black Mask began. It is positioned on the launch pad awaiting its final countdown for a final blast-off. In the spur of the moment, gunshots were heard. All jewelries, paintings, money and expensive things were taken. Jaime was taken aback of the scene he saw. He could not believe his eyes. He never thought, that the plan would come this far.
         “So, that’s why there’s a gun and a mask involved.”
         “Now, Jaime, it’s your time,” Diego said.
         “What?” Jaime was dumfounded.
         “Kill the baby! Kill him now!” Diego demanded.
         “Are you insane? He’s only a child. He can’t stand on a witness jury.” Jaime replied.
         “Oh, of course I know! But in case you don’t know ‘The Black Mask’ never leaves anything behind.”
         Jaime slowly aimed the gun towards the little boy. With trembling hands, he pulled the trigger. It was the biggest mistake he had ever done. Upon his return home Lucia died. When the morning came the headline read, “Billionaire’s Family Massacred and Robbed     !” Suspect: Diego and the Black Mask. The next week Diego and his gang were caught and sentenced for life imprisonment. Jaime was left alone with nobody, not even a single penny.
         Echoes of what he did in the past still resonated in his heart prompting nightmares that kept on tormenting his conscience.
         After having sleeplessness nights for the past decade Jaime finally surrendered to the police wherein he was sentenced life imprisonment. In the jail he met his old friend Diego and the rest of the gang. After a week’s stay his body was found in the C.R. with the body mutilated into pieces and the internal organs scattered everywhere. The gang blamed him for the fiasco of their mission.
         Behind the shadows hid a secret which protruded into the horizon creating silhouettes of guilt and fear continually blocking a glimmer of hope in the life of Jaime. This braced him for a roller-coaster ride bound to the twilight zone of his life: getting himself inside the prison. It unwittingly unleashed a light of justice of the family he took part in killing, brightening every corners of the whole scenario.

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Babar's Dog

Babar’s Dog 
By: Sanilyn Grace T. Zamora

          Babar is a good boy. Even though they were poor, he grew up to be a loving kid. He had a dog whom he loved so dearly. He named him Akbar.
          “Here Akbar fetch this,” he said.
           Akbar ran and returned with a stick on his mouth.
          “Good boy, you’re a smart dog, aren’t you?”
          One day when Babar called for his dog, he noticed that there was no answer nor any barkings of Akbar.
          “What could have happened to him?” he thought.
          So he went backdoor to check with Akbar. He was so sad upon seeing his dog lying on the ground. He ran towards the poor animal and cried. Akbar did not bark he just whimpered.
          “Mama, come, quick, Akbar is sick Mama, hurry please, he’s dying.” He cried aloud.
          “Babar, what’s the matter? What’s going on?” his mother said.
          “Oh, no Akbar got an animal disease. We can’t get him to the doctor for we don’t have money, son. But I have water, here give it to him so he can drink. Babar fed the dog but, the dog refused.
          “There’s nothing we can do Babar,” his mother said.
          Eventually, Akbar died and Babar became very sad and lonely. One day, as Babar rested under a tree, near the river, he heard shouting and giggling and screaming of the children. He went near them and he saw a poor little dog. He saw that the dog was very thin and his body is full of sores. The children were bullying the dog.
          “Does this ugly thing look like a dog to you?” one of the kid interjected.
          “Hahaha,” the children laughed at him.
          As the children left, Babar went toward the dying dog and carried him home. Babar kept the dog as his own and from that day on the bay was very happy and he called his new found pet, Asoka.
          Each single day Babar could see that his dog was beginning to be fat. He could notice that his sores were gradually fading away. While Babar and his new found friend, Asoka was sitting under a tree, Babar brushed Asoka’s fur. Suddenly, he noticed something that glittered inside Asoka’s coat. Curios as little boys are, he picked it up and the moment he pulled it up, Asoka turned into a beautiful maiden.
          “Who are you?” Babar said.
          “Where is Asoka? What did you do to him?” he added.
          “Hello, Babar, I am Leeka, the princess of Fairywenda. I cannot thank enough for saving my life. If it not for your kindness, I wouldn’t be whole again. Because of your big heart, you were able to spot the golden fleece from my fur. As a sign of gratitude, whisper something to that fleece and whatever your heart desires it will surely be granted.” The fairy said in a very soft voice. Then she disappeared.
          “I wish to see Akbar again,” he thought.
          Before he could even open his eyes he heard a very familiar sound panting below him. It’s from Akbar.
          “Akbar, you’re back!” Babar exclaimed joyfully.

          Just by a single streak of kindness, Babar was able to have his wish granted. Who knows? You might be able to have your wish granted like Babar, if you keep on doing kind things.

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American Literature

Module 10: Francis Scott Key
Topic: The Star-Spangled Banner (poem/song)
Sources: Encyclopedia
         World Literature

Objectives: At the end of this module the students are expected to:
1.            Learn unfamiliar words;
2.            Appreciate our National Anthem;
3.            Justify the values found in the lyrics of Philippine National Anthem.

Author’s Background

                In the war of 1812, during the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, Maryland, Francis Scott Key and a friend were on board a British ship to arrange for the release of a fellow American who was then being held prisoner. While the British bombarded the Fort, Francis Scott Key paced the deck of the British ship. He feared the Fort would not be able to resist the fierce attack that had gone on all day and most of the night. When about seven o’clock in the morning of the second day, as the clouds cleared and the ball of cannons ceased Key saw the American flag still waving over the Fort! The Fort had withstood the attack! In a few moments of excited relief, Key wrote this poem to express his feelings about the event. The poem was printed in Baltimore and later set to the music of a well-known tune. The poem was made a national anthem and it has remained so ever once.

                KEY, Francis Scott, author, born in Frederick county, Md., 1 Aug., 1780 died in Baltimore, Md., 11 Jan., 1843, was the son of John Ross Key, a Revolutionary officer. He was educated at St. John's college, studied law in the office of his uncle, Philip Barton Key, and began to practice law in Frederick City, Md., but subsequently removed to Washington, where he was district attorney for the District of Columbia.

When the British invaded Washington in 1814, Ross and Cockburn with their staff officers made their headquarters in Upper Marlboro, Md., at the residence of a planter, Dr. William Beanes, whom they subsequently seized as a prisoner. Upon hearing of his friend's capture, Key resolved to release him, and was aided by President Madison, who ordered that a vessel that had been used as a cartel should be placed at his service, and that John S. Skinner, agent for the exchange of prisoners, should accompany him. Gen. Ross finally consented to Dr. Beanes's release, but said that the party must be detained during the attack on Baltimore.

                Key and Skinner were transferred to the frigate "Surprise," commanded by the admiral's son, Sir Thomas Cockburn, and soon afterward returned under guard of British sailors to their own vessel, whence they witnessed the engagement. Owing to their position the flag at Fort McHenry was distinctly seen through the night by the glare of the battle, but before dawn the firing ceased, and the prisoners anxiously watched to see which colors floated on the ram­parts. Key's feelings when he found that the stars and stripes had not been hauled down found expression in "The Star-Spangled Banner," which gained for him a lasting reputation.

                On arriving in Baltimore he finished the lines which he had hastily written on the back of a letter, and gave them to Capt. Benjamin Eades, of the 27th Baltimore regiment, who had participated in the battle of North Point. Seizing a copy from the press, Eades hastened to the old tavern next to the Holliday Street Theatre, where the actors were accustomed to assemble. Mr. Key had directed Eades to print above the poem the direction that it was to be sung to the air "Anacreon in Heaven." The verses were first read aloud by the printer, and then, on being appealed to by the crowd, Ferdinand Durang mounted a chair and sang them for the first time. In a short period they were familiar throughout the United States.

The Star-Spangled Banner

 O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Activity: Vocabulary. Give the meaning of the following words:

1.            ramparts
2.            havoc
3.            desolation
4.            hireling


1. Give the figurative meaning of each of the following:

a.            star-spangled banner
b.            land of the free home of the brave
c.             praise the Power

2. What feelings are expressed in the lines?
3. What is the general mood of the poem?
4. Describe the imagery portrayed.
5. What American values are reflected in the poem?
6. Compare and contrast the historical situation or event in which the Philippine National Anthem and that of the Star-Spangled were composed.
7. Do the National Anthem of America and the Philippines express common values? Justify your answer.

Blogger Insight:

                Values may be defined as those standards of which a group or society judges the desirability and importance of persons, ideas, actions and goals. Values are shared convictions or beliefs in what are considered contributory to the welfare of the group. From these definitions, we can clearly see how values are affected by society and, in turn, how society can be affected by the values held by its members.

                Two of these traits are positive traits and show the strengths of the Filipino character: Katapatan and Pakikipagkapwa-tao. The other two seem to hinder the advancement of the Filipinos. These are the "Bahala na" attitude and the "Kanya-kanya" syndrome.

                Pakikipagkapwa-tao and Family Orientation: This indigenous Filipino trait is the regard for the dignity of others and being with them. It consists of all levels of interaction with one's fellowman in times of crisis, like illness and death. This is embodied in the concept of neighbourliness like mutual visiting and exchange of food. Pleasant attitudes are also exhibited towards relatives and friends such as extending moral and emotional support. This is also evidenced in the insertion of many light scenes wherein there is light-hearted bantering, jokes among friends and kin.

                Because of the Filipino's collective nature, they have a deep sense of concern for one's dignity and respect. This pakikipagkapwa-tao is manifested in their sensitivity to other people's feelings. This is often evidenced in the relations among the characters. Polite language, soft pleasing voices and meek manners are employed to avoid open disagreement with others. Personal relationships are likewise almost always important in any transaction among the characters.

                Katapatan: The Filipino virtue of righteousness in thought and deed. In a person, this virtue strengthens him against cheating and lying. It results in the cooperation and trust among neighbors, friends and co-workers. This positive character trait is dominantly displayed in Philippine movies and television by its leading characters. Viewers are attracted to the character and story because righteousness is considered a rare trait nowadays and the expression of this in the leading protagonist gives them hope in siding with the good.

                Bahala na: Extreme reliance on higher force or fate. Bahala na is a common expression among Filipinos which rests on the fatalistic outlook and strong dependence on spirits. It literally, the Bahala na means "Leave it to God." The abundance of superstition can further encourage the superstitiousness of the Filipinos. This can promote the lack of initiative among Filipinos. Rather than relying on one's own effort and industry to solve problems, one leaves his fate to gods or "spirits". This trait also encourages the Filipino to be matiisin or being too patient for long suffering.

                Kanya-kanya: A negative Filipino trait is a selfish and self-serving attitude. This is often elicited when one's peer has gained honor or prestige. Most if not all of the conflicts in the Filipino stories are a result of envy and jealousy. This "crab mentality" that characterizes many Filipinos is counter-productive.

                Certain negative behaviors may be picked up by the youth if they are consistently exhibited and are not shown in the end to have negative consequences. At the same time, an understanding of the strengths of the Filipino character would help in recognizing the traditional and positive Filipino values that should be perpetuated.

                Buhay OFW provides tips and information regarding the Philippines. Filipino products and goods are also sold as donation efforts to help underprivileged Filipinos.

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American Literature

Module 9: Ernest Hemingway
Topic: Cat in the Rain (Short story)
Sources: Encyclopedia
             World Literature

Objectives: At the end of this module the students are expected to:
1.            Understand unfamiliar words;
2.            Appreciate short story;
3.            Construct or draw or write another ending of the story.

Author’s Background

                Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. After finishing high school in 1917, he worked for a Kansas City Newspaper, Star. During World War I he served as an ambulance driver in Italy, where he was severely wounded in action. After recuperating, he settled in Paris where he began his serious writing career. In 1926, Hemingway published his first major novel, “The Sun Also Rises” which did not only established him as an eminent writer but also reveled two key principles of his writing styles: stripping language to its most essential components by omitting any word not necessary and stressing the importance of authentic experience in his work.
                During the following decade, he traveled to Spain, Africa, and Florida, gaining materials for his future works through his experiences as bullfight aficionado, big game hunter and deep sea fisherman. He served as a journalist during the Spain Civil War and during World War II. His short novel, “The Old Man’ and ‘The Sea” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and contributed to his winning The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. By the 1960’s, however, Hemingway was in poor health, depressed and losing his memory. He committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho on July 2, 1961.
                Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. After the United States entered the First World War, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Serving at the front, he was wounded, was decorated by the Italian Government, and spent considerable time in hospitals. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

                During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). Equally successful was A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

                Hemingway - himself a great sportsman - liked to portray soldiers, hunters, bullfighters - tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith. His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).

Cat in the Rain

                There were two Americans stopping at the hotel. They did not know any of the people the people they passed on the stairs on their way to and from their room. Their room was on the second floor facing the public garden and the war monument. There were big palms and green benches in the public garden. In the good weather there was always an artist with his easel. Artists liked the way the palms grew and the bright colours of the hotels facing the gardens and the sea. Italians came from a long way off to look up at war monument. It was made of bronze and glistened in the rain. It was raining. The rain dripped from the palm trees. Water stood in pools on the gravel paths. The sea broke in a long line in the rain and slipped back down the beach to come up and break again in a long line in the rain. The motor cars were gone fro the square by the war monument. Across the square in the doorway of the café a waiter stood looking out the empty square.

                The American wife stood at the window looking out. Outside right under their window a cat was crouched under than one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make herself so compact that she would not be dripped on.

                “I’m going down and get that kitty,” the American wife said.
                “I’ll do it,” her husband offered from the bed.
                “No, I’ll get it. The poor kitty was out trying to keep dry under a table.”
                The husband went on reading, lying propped up with two pillows at the foot of the bed.
                “Don’t get wet,” he said.
                The wife went downstairs and the hotel owner stood up and bowed to her as she passed the office. His desk was at the far end of the office. He was an old man and very tall.
                “I’ll prove him,” the wife said. She liked the hotel keeper.
                “Si Signora, brutto tempo. It is very bad weather.
                He stood behind his desk in the far end of the dim room. The wife liked him. She liked the deadly serious way he received any complaints. She liked his dignity. She liked the way he wanted to serve her. She liked the way he felt about being a hotel-keeper. She liked his old, heavy face and big hands.
                Liking him she opened the door and looked out. It was raining harder. A man in rubber cape was crossing the empty square to the café. The cat would be around to the right. Perhaps she could go along under the leaves. As she stood in the doorway an umbrella opened behind her. It was the maid who looked after their room.
                “You must not get wet,” she smiled, speaking Italian. Of course, the hotel-keeper had sent her.
                With the maid holding the umbrella over her, she walked along the gravel path until she was under their window. The table was there, washed bright green in the rain, but the cat was gone. She was suddenly disappointed. The maid looked up at her.
                “Ha perduto qualque cosa, Signora?”
                “There was a cat,” said the American girl.
                “A cat?”
                “Si, il gatto”
                “A cat?” the maid laughed. ’A cat in the rain?”
                “Yes,” she said. ‘Under the table.’ ‘Then, Oh, I wanted it so much. I wanted a kitty.”
                 When she talked English the maid’s face tightened.
                “Come Signora,’ she said. ‘We must get back inside. You will be wet.”
                “I suppose so,” said the American girl.
                They went back along the gravel path and passed in the door. The maid stayed outside to close the umbrella. As the American girl passed the office, the padrone bowed from his desk. Something felt very small and tight inside the girl. The padrone made her feel very, very small and at the same time really important. She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance. She went on up the stairs. She opened the door of the room. George was on the bed reading.
                “Did you get the cat?” he asked, putting the book down.
                “it was gone.”
                “Wonder where it went to?” he said, resting his eyes from reading.
                She sat down on the bed.
                “I wanted it so much,’ she said. ‘I don’t know why I wanted it so much. I wanted that poor kitty. It isn’t any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain.”
                George was reading again.
                She went over and sat in front of the mirror of the dressing-table, looking at herself with the hand glass. She studied her profile, first one side and then the other. Then she studied the back of  her head and her neck.
                “Don’t you think it would be good idea if I let my hair grow out?” she asked, looking at her profile again.
                George looked up and saw the back of her neck, clipped close like a boy’s.
                “I like it the way it is.”
                “I get so tired of it,’ she said. ‘I get so tired of looking like a boy.”
                George shifted his position in the bed. He hadn’t looked away from her since she started to speak.
                 “You look pretty darn nice,” he said.
                She laid the mirror down the dresser and went over to the window and looked out. It was getting dark.
                “I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the back that I can feel,’ she said. ‘I want to have a kitty to sit on my lap and purr when I stroke her.”
                “Yeah?” George said from the bed.
                “And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candies. And I want it to be spring and I want to brush my hair out in front of a mirror and I want a kitty and I want some new clothes.”
                “Oh, shut up and get something to read,” George said. He was reading again.
                His wife was looking out of the window. It was quite dark now and still raining in the palm tress.
                “Anyway, I want a cat,’ she said. ‘I want a cat. I want a cat now. If I can’t have a long hair or any fun, I can have a cat.”
                George was not listening. He was reading his book. His wife looked out of the window where the light had come on in a square.
                Someone knocked at the door.
                “Avanti,” George said. He looked up from his book.
                In the doorway stood the maid. She held a big tortoiseshell cat pressed tight against her and swung down against her body.
                “Excuse me,’ she said, ‘The padrone asked me to bring this for the Signora.”

Activity: Vocabulary. Give the meaning of each underlined words.

1.            a cat was crouched under
2.            one of the dripping tables
3.            the padrone bowed from his desk
4.            feeling of supreme importance
5.            she studied her profile
6.            a kitty to sit on my lap
7.            and purr when I stroke her
8.            lying propped up with two pillows
9.            go along under the eaves
10.          glistened in the rain

1.            Do you know what you want in life?
2.            What makes you happy and contented?
3.            Do you yearn for something basic that you wonder why you don’t have it?
4.            Obviously, the wife is not happy. What do you think will make her happy? What does she really want?
5.            Is the husband capable of making his wife happy? Why do you say so?
6.            Do you think the hotel-keeper loves the wife? Defend your answer.
7.            Why was the wife not given a specific name? Why was she called American wife throughout the story? What is implied by this?
8.            Read the part when the wife was enumerating the things she wants. Will you say that she is rather childish? Why or why not?
9.            Why was the story entitled “Cat in the Rain”?
10.          Relate the following familiar lines to the story:
a.            Little things mean a lot.
b.            The basic things in life are free.

11.          What symbolism do you find in the story?

Application: Do at least one of the following:

1.            Write a deconstructed version of the story.
2.            Draw a picture that best reflects the relationship between the husband and the wife.
3.            Write another ending of the story.

Blogger Insight

                When I was growing up I was a hell of a brat. I remember my mother once told me, “do not buy the things that you want but buy the things that you need,” but because I am very stubborn and hard headed I ended up in tears with a “red” in my butt.
                Human as we are we love to have many things—we are so materialistic; buying things that are not necessary at all and not even worth buying for. Well, it is only but a few of the whims and caprises of a man. Some people take drugs, and do illegal things, gamblings just to meet their vices. The story “Cat in the Rain” teaches us a lesson that we should not pay so much attention to the things which do not even lasts for eternity. Rather pay attention to things that are worth buying, waiting and having for. So, if I will go and shop I put in my head the words of Benjamin Franklin which states, “don’t give too much for a whistle,” short but definitely right!

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American Literature

Module 8: Ralph Waldo Emerson
Topic: Friendship (Essay)
Sources: Encyclopedia
             World Literature

Objective: At the end of this module the students are expected to:
1.            Identify and learn the unfamiliar words;
2.            Relate the essay within themselves;
3.            Write an essay about Friendship.

Author’s Background

                Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher, moralist and poet was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25, 1803 and died in Concord on April 27, 1882. Educated at Harvard, Emerson holds one of the highest positions among American authors and his influence is worldwide. As an essayist he ranks with Montaigne and Bacon. His essays are thought provoking, almost a layman’s sermons. He excelled in fixing his thoughts in pointed, epigrammatic sentences which have become proverbs. With Franklin, he is probably the most quotable of American writers.

                Emerson followed his father’s career as a Boston Unitarian minister. With his wife’s tragic death in 1831 and his resignation from the ministry because of unsetting doubts, he sailed for Europe, and met some English romanticists. He returned to America imbued with the romantic idealism of German transcendental philosophy, and began his famous career as lecturer and essayist emphasizing religious values that set a characteristic moral tone to the new romanticism of American Transcendentalism. He was called the Father of American Transcendentalism.

                Waldo Emerson is truly the center of the American transcendental movement, setting out most of its ideas and values in a little book, Nature, published in 1836, that represented at least ten years of intense study in philosophy, religion, and literature, and in his First Series of essays.

                `Born in 1803 to a conservative Unitarian minister, from a long line of ministers, and a quietly devout mother, Waldo--who dropped the "Ralph" in college--was a middle son of whom relatively little was expected. His father died when he was eight, the first of many premature deaths which would shape his life--all three brothers, his first wife at 20, and his older son at 5. Perhaps the most powerful personal influence on him for years was his intellectual, eccentric, and death-obsessed Puritanical aunt, Mary Moody Emerson. Yet Emerson often confessed to an innate optimism, even occasional "silliness."

                His undergraduate career at Harvard was not illustrious, and his studies at the Harvard Divinity School were truncated by vision problems, but he was ordained a minister of the Second Church in Boston, shortly before marrying Ellen Tucker in 1829. He resigned in 1832 after her death from tuberculosis, troubled by theological doctrines such as the Lord's Supper, and traveled extensively in Europe, returning to begin a career of lecturing. In 1835 he married Lydia Jackson; they lived in Concord and had four children while he settled into his life of conversations, reading and writing, and lecturing, which furnished a comfortable income.

                The Emerson house was a busy one, with friends like Elizabeth Hoar, Margaret Fuller, and Henry Thoreau, staying for months to help out and talk. He, Bronson Alcott, and George Ripley decided to begin a magazine, The Dial, with Margaret Fuller editing, in 1840; Emerson would edited the final two years, ending in 1844. His Essays (first series) were published in 1841.

                Meanwhile, tragedy struck with the sudden death of his five-year old son Waldo in 1842, soon after the death of John Thoreau from lockjaw, and a darker, tougher strain appears in Emerson's writing, beginning with his memorializing poem, "Threnody." But Emerson pulled himself together to give a series of lectures in New York and in 1844 he had a new volume of essays prepared. He began planning a series of lectures on great men and publication of his poems in 1846, while speaking out against the annexation of Texas and reading deeply in texts of Persian and Indic wisdom.

                In 1845 he began extensive lecturing on "the uses of great men," a series that culminated with the 1850 publication of Representative Men; by that year he was giving as many as 80 lectures a year. Through a career of 40 years, he gave about 1500 public lectures, traveling as far as California and Canada but generally staying in Massachusetts. His audiences were captivated by his speaking style, even if they didn't always follow the subtleties of his arguments.

                In 1847 Emerson travelled to England, noticing in particular the industrialization and the chasm between upper and lower classes. When he returned to Concord nine months later, he had a new approach to English culture, which he expressed in his lectures on the "Natural History of Intellect" and his 1856 book, English Traits.

                In 1851 he began a series of lecture which would become The Conduct of Life, published in 1860. He was vigorous in middle age, traveling frequently, but was increasingly aware of his limits and failing energy. He had become quite famous, a major figure in the American literary landscape, a celebrity which brought both adultation and satire. He had been a profound inspiration for many writers, especially Henry Thoreau and Walt Whitman. He continued his speeches against slavery, but never with the fire of Theodore Parker. In 1857 he wrote an essay on "Memory" but ironically, in his later years, his own memory would falter, especially after his beloved house burned in 1872. He died quietly of pneumonia in 1882.


                I do not wish to treat friendship daintily but with roughest courage.
                When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know. For now, after so many ages of experiences, what do we know of nature or of ourselves? Not one step has man taken toward the solution of the problem of his destiny. In one condemnation of folly stand the whole universe of man. But the sweet sincerity of joy and peace which I draw from the alliance with my brother’s soul is the nut itself whereof all nature and all thought is but the husk and shell. Happy is a house that shelters a friend! It might well be built, like a festal bower or arch, to entertain him a single day. Happier if he knows the solemnity of that relation and honors it as a law!
                There are two elements that go to the composition of friendship, each so sovereign that we can detect no superiority in either, no reason why either should be named first. One is truth. A friend is a person reiterated in a foreign form; so that a friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.
                The other element of friendship is tenderness. We are holden to men by every sort of tie, by blood, by pride, by fear, by hope, by lucre, by lust, by hate, by admiration, by every circumstance and badge and trifle; but we can scarcely believe that so much character can subsist in another as to draw us by love. Can another be so blessed and we so pure that we can offer him tenderness? When a man becomes dear to me I have touched the goal of fortune…I much prefer the company of plowboys and tin peddlers to the silken and perfumed amity which celebrates its days of encounter by frivolous display…The end of friendship is a commerce the most strict and holy that can be joined, more strict than any of which we have experienced. It is for aid and comfort through all the relations and passages graceful gifts and country rambles, but also for rough roads and hard fare, shipwreck, poverty, and persecution. It keeps company with the sallies of the wit and the trances of religion. We are to dignify to each other the daily needs and offices of man’s life and embellish it by courage, wisdom, and unity. It should never fall into something usual and settled but should be alert and inventive and add rhyme and reason to what was drudgery…

Activity: Vocabulary. Supply the meaning of the following words. Some items are already given.

                lucre- money    
                perfumed- the rich
                frivolous- foolish


1.            What qualities do you look for a friend?
2.            What is your concept of friendship?
3.            What other elements of friendship can you add to those of Emerson’s? Why do you think they are needed?
4.            do you honestly think one cannot survive in this world without having friends? Cite situation that will prove your claim.
5.            Are there also risks in making friends? Why? What are these risks?
6.            In the name of friendship, what is so far the best thing that happened to you? How about a negative experience? Relate it to the class.
7.            Have you found a true friend? Why do you consider him/her to be a real friend?

Application:  Write an essay about your dear friend.

Blogger Insight

                Life is so short that we need someone to share our thoughts and feelings. Definitely, a thought would arise in our mind asking who it could be whom we can trust so closely. Answer might be who someone closes to you, but who? Parents, brother, sister…..! Apparently, it hardly comes to anyone’s mind a “true friend”. You are no nearer to true friendship  than if you choose them for commercial reason. Besides who are you that you should be setting a price upon your friendship? It is enough for any man that he has the divine power of making friends, and he must leave it to that power of making friends. In this essay I will try to give my points of view toward friendship.
                Friends are essential in our life just as food is essential for living. Moreover, it is essential to determine their friendship as we analyze the contents of the food before we eat. Friends and their friendship play a great role in everyone’s life. It is a gift that we offer because we must; to give it as the reward of virtue would be to set a price upon it, and those who do that have no friendship to give. We would meet a lot of people in our life, from those we choose friends and among those, we make our best friend.

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