Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Approaches of Literary Criticism

Critical Approaches to Literature

Deconstruction is a school of literary criticism that suggests that language is not a stable entity, and that we can never exactly say what we mean. Therefore, literature cannot give a reader any one single meaning, because the language itself is simply too ambiguous. Deconstructionists value the idea that literature cannot provide any outside meaning; texts cannot represent reality. Thus, a deconstructionist critic will deliberately emphasize the ambiguities of the language that produce a variety of meanings and possible readings of a text.

Feminist criticism tries to correct predominantly male-dominated critical perspective with a feminist consciousness. This form of criticism places literature in a social context and employs a broad range of disciplines, such as history, psychology, sociology, and linguistics, to create a perspective that considers feminist issues. Feminist theories also attempt to understand representation from a woman’s point of view and analyze women’s writing strategies in the context of their social conditions.

Marxist criticism is a strongly politically-oriented criticism, deriving from the theories of the social philosopher Karl Marx. Marxist critics insist that all use of language is influenced by social class and economics. It directs attention to the idea that all language makes ideological statements about things like class, economics, race, and power, and the function of literary output is to either support or criticize the political and economic structures in place. Some Marxist critics use literature to describe the competing socioeconomic interests that advance capitalistic interests such as money and power over socialist interests such as morality and justice. Because of this focus, Marxist criticism focuses on content and theme rather than form.

New criticism evolved out of the same root theoretical system as deconstructionism, called formalist criticism. It was popular between the 1940’s and the 1960’s, but can still be found in some mutated forms today. New criticism suggests that the text is a self-contained entity, and that everything that the reader needs to know to understand it is already in the text. New critics totally discount the importance of historical context, authorial intent, effects on the reader, and social contexts, choosing to focus instead on the layers in the next. This school of criticism works with the elements of a text only – irony, paradox, metaphor, symbol, plot, and so on – by engaging in extremely close textual analysis.

New historicism focuses on the literary text as part of a larger social and historical context, and the modern reader’s interaction with that work. New historicists attempt to describe the culture of a period by reading many different types of texts and paying attention to many different dimensions of a culture, including political, social, economic, and aesthetic concerns. They regard texts as not simply a reflection of the culture that produced them but also as productive of that culture by playing an active role in the social and political conflicts of an age. New historicism acknowledges and then explores various versions of “history,” sensitizing us to the fact that the history on which we choose to focus is colored by being reconstructed by our present perspective.

Psychological criticism uses psychoanalytic theories, especially those of Freud and Jacques Lacan, to understand more fully the text, the reader, and the writer. The basis of this approach is the idea of the existence of a human consciousness – those impulses, desires, and feelings about which a person is unaware but which influence emotions or behavior. Critics use psychological approaches to explore the motivations of characters and the symbolic meanings of events, while biographers speculate about a writer’s own motivations – conscious or unconscious – in a literary work.

Queer theory, or gender studies, is a relatively recent and evolving school of criticism, which questions and problematizes the issues of gender identity and sexual orientation in literary texts. Queer theory overlaps in many respects with feminist theory in its aims and goals, being at once political and practical. To many queer theorists, gender is not a fixed identity that shapes actions and thoughts, but rather a “role” that is “performed.” It also challenges the notion that there is such a thing as “normal,” because that assumes the existence of a category for “deviant.” Queer theorists study and challenge the idea that these categories exist at all, but particularly in terms of sexual activities and identities.

Reader-response criticism removes the focus from the text and places it on the reader instead, by attempting to describe what goes on in the reader’s mind during the reading of a text. Reader-response critics are not interested in a “correct” interpretation of a text or what the author intended. They are interested in the reader’s individual experience with a text. Thus, there is no single definitive reading of a text, because the reader is creating, as opposed to discovering, absolute meanings in texts. This approach is not a rationale for bizarre meanings or mistaken ones, but an exploration of the plurality of texts. This kind of strategy calls attention to how we read and what influences our readings, and what that reveals about ourselves.


  1. Literature is a form of knowledge with intrinsic elements--style, structure, imagery, tone, genre.
  2. What gives a literary work status as art, or as a great work of art, is how all of its elements work together to create the reader's total experience (thought, feeling, gut reactions, etc.)
  3. The appreciation of literature as an art requires close reading--a careful, step-by-step analysis and explication of the text (the language of the work). An analysis may follow from questions like, how do various elements work together to shape the effect on the reader?
  4. Style and theme influence eachother and can't be separated if meaning is to be retained. It's this interdependence in form and content that makes a text "literary." "Extracting" elements in isolation (theme, character, ploy, setting, etc.) may destroy a reader's aesthetic experience of the whole.
  5. Formalist critics don't deny the historical, political situation of a work, they just believe works of art have the power to transcend by being "organic wholes"--akin to a being with a life of its own.
  6. Formalist criticism is evaluative in that it differentiates great works of art from poor works of art. Other kinds of criticism don't necessarily concern themselves with this distinction.
  7. Formalist criticism is decidedly a "scientific" approach to literary analysis, focusiing on "facts amenable to "verification" (evidence in the text).


  1. Real life experience can help shape (either directly or indirectly) an author's work.
  2. Understanding an author's life can help us better understand the work.
  3. Facts from the author's life are used to help the reader better understand the work; the focus is always on the literary work under investigation.


  1. Historical criticism investigates the social, cultural, and intellectual context that produced it. This investigation includes the author's biography and the social milieu.
  2. Historical criticism often seeks to understand the impact of a work in its day, and it may also explore how meanings change over time.
  3. Historical criticism expolores how time and place of creation affect meaning in the work.


  1. These critics hold the belief that great literature truthfully reflects life and is a realistic representation of human motivation and behavior.
  2. Psychological critics may choose to focus on the creative process of the artist, the artist's motivation or behavior, or analyze fictional characters' motivations and behaviors.


  1. Mythological criticism studies recurrent universal patterns underlying most literary works (for example, "the hero's journey").
  2. It combines insights from a variety of academic disciplines--anthropology, psychology, history, comparative concerns itself with demonstrating how the individual imagination shares a common humanity by identifying common symbols, images, plots, etc.
  3. Mythological critics identify "archetypes" (symbols, characters, situations, or images evoking a universal response).


  1. These critics examine literature in its cultural, economic, and political context; they explore the relation between the artist and the soceity--how might the profession of authorship have affected what's been written?
  2. It is concerned with the social content of literary works, pursuing such questions as: What cultural, economic or political values does the text implicitly or explicitly promote? What is the role of the audience in shaping what's been written?
  3. Marxist critics assume that all art is political.
  4. Marxist critics judge a work's "ideology"--giving rise to such terms as "political correctness."


  1. This type of criticism attempts to describe the internal workings of the reader's mental processes. it recognizes reading as a creative act, a creative process.
  2. No text is self-contained, independent of a reader's interpretive design.
  3. The plurality of readings possible are all explored. Critics study how different readers see the same text differently, and how religious, cultural, and social values affect readings.
  4. Instead of focusing only on the values embedded in the text, this type of criticism studies the values embedded in the reader. Intersections between the two are explored.


  1. Deconstructive critics believe that language doesn't accurately reflect reality becuase it's an unstable medium; literary texts therefore have no stable meaning.
  2. Deconstructive criticism resembles formalist criticism in its close attention to the text, its close analysis of individual words and images. There the similarity ends, because their aims are in fact opposite. Whereas formalist criticism is interested in "aesthetic wholes" or constructs, deconstructionists aim to demonstrate irreconcilable positions--they destruct (or deconstruct)--by proving the instability of language, its inability to express anything definte.

How to Analyze Drama

Some questions to help you study and understand Drama


1. What is each character like? Background? Social or Cultural class? Experiences? Thoughts? Any prejudices or biases? Emotions? Psychology? What supporting evidence can you find in the text that supports your opinion or your answer to each question?

2. What does the character look like? Is there any specific evidence in the text that helps establish the character's appearance and physical behavior? If not, why do you imagine the character in the way that you do? What sort of clothes does the character wear? Explain why you chose that particular sort of attire, including even things like color and style. Remember that plays from the historical past can always be staged in "modern" ways, with modern or contemporary settings and costuming. Why might a director choose to use a setting and a "look" that is different from that of the original play? How do different sorts of costumes (and costuming choices) affect the ways in which audiences "see" and react to the play?

3. What sort of gestures do you imagine that the character uses? Gestures -- and even physical postures and movements -- are often just as revealing of character as words (dialogue) are, and they often signal to the audience how the character's words are to be understood. Sometimes gestures are suggested in the stage directions, but most often they are not. So how does an actor (or a director) decide what gestures to use?

4. Is the character sympathetic? Unsympathetic? Some combination of the two? Please explain your answer. Does the character see herself or himself the way that other characters do? If not, why not?

5. Have you known someone like the character? How does this personal experience of your own affect the way in which you respond to the character? How about to the play as a whole?

6. Are the characters in the play generally "true" to life, and to people you have known, and to what you believe is "real life"? If they do not seem to be "true to life," why is that?

7. Has the author presented all the characters in more or less the same way? That is, are they all realistic? all symbolic? all "round" (developed)? all "flat" (undeveloped)? Is each character presented in the same way throughout the play? If not, what are the differences and how can you account for them?


1. What is the stage setting? Has the author indicated what the stage is supposed to look like? If so, how would you imagine carrying out the author's wishes if you were responsible for staging the play? If the author has not specified all the physical details of the setting, how do you imagine that setting? If you were producing this play, would you want a realistic setting (and perhaps a lot of props and "period" costumes), or a relatively bare stage and relatively few "extras"? How does the setting affect the way the audience responds to the play? Can the setting actually become part of the play's meaning for the audience?

2. At what period of time and in what place is the play set? What is the effect of setting a play in the immediate present? in the past? in the future? Most authors tend to choose a historical setting (that is, a setting that identifies a particular time and place) in order to say something about their own times. If this seems to be the case with the play you are reading, what does the historical setting tell us about what the author wants to say about her or his own time?

3. Is the stage setting realistic or symbolic? If symbolic, what does it symbolize? And how do you know?


1. Work out the dramatic structure of the play, including the overall diagram of exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action. Is the play composed of a number of small actions leading up to one big one? Does it consist only of several "big" actions? Is there some other kind of dramatic structure? Is the structure directly related to what is happening to the protagonist? What does the structure of the play suggest about the way the playwright views the world?

2. Is there a major confrontation in the play? If so, what sort of confrontation is it? Who or what is involved? Does the confrontation lead to any recognition or change in awareness on the protagonist's part, either about herself/himself or about the world she/he inhabits?

3. Is the action of the play "realistic"? That is, does the play portray something one might have a fair chance of encountering in "real life"? If so, explain how the action(s) reflect the major intellectual concerns of the play. If not, discuss the effect upon the audience of the play's deliberately unrealistic performance values.

4. What do a character's actions reveal about her or his personality? background? class? assumptions and expectations?


1. Does the dialogue strike you as realistic? Like something you have heard or might hear, even if the language is "old" because the play comes from a much earlier period?

2. Are there any words, phrases, or images that appear repeatedly? If so, what are they? Why are they repeated? Do they seem to reflect some central concern or preoccupation, some major theme, or some pervasive mood within the play?

3. Try to explain why each character speaks as she or he does. What was the playwright trying to accomplish by giving each character that particular dialogue and speech pattern?


1. What is the central intellectual concern (or theme) of the play? State it in a declarative sentence. Is the author trying to make some point about people? about life? about society? about something else?

2. Most dramas involve a central "problem" that is revealed as some sort of conflict. How does the author represent this conflict in the play? How does the author resolve the conflict?

3. What is the point of reading a play that is "old" (Oedipus Rex is 2400 years old, for example, and Hamlet is 400 years old, and A Doll's House is 100 years old). Do "old" plays have anything of value to say to us today, or is performing them simply like keeping them stored in a museum for us to visit occasionally? Are the concerns in "old" plays relevant only to the times in which they were written, or do they remain relevant to us today?

4. Should plays deal with "universal" issues and problems? Or should they concern themselves primarily with issues and problems that are unique to the times in which they are written? What makes a play "relevant" or "out of date"?


What is DRAMA?

Drama comes from Greek words meaning "to do" or "to act." A play is a story acted out. It shows people going through some eventful period in their lives, seriously or humorously. The speech and action of a play recreate the flow of human life. A play comes fully to life only on the stage. On the stage it combines many arts those of the author, director, actor, designer, and others. Dramatic performance involves an intricate process of rehearsal based upon imagery inherent in the dramatic text. A playwright first invents a drama out of mental imagery. The dramatic text presents the drama as a range of verbal imagery. The language of drama can range between great extremes: on the one hand, an intensely theatrical and ritualistic manner; and on the other, an almost exact reproduction of real life. A dramatic monologue is a type of lyrical poem or narrative piece that has a person speaking to a select listener and revealing his character in a dramatic situation.

Classification of Dramatic Plays

In a strict sense, plays are classified as being either tragedies or comedies. The broad difference between the two is in the ending. Comedies end happily. Tragedies end on an unhappy note. The tragedy acts as a purge. It arouses our pity for the stricken one and our terror that we ourselves may be struck down. As the play closes we are washed clean of these emotions and we feel better for the experience. A classical tragedy tells of a high and noble person who falls because of a "tragic flaw," a weakness in his own character. A domestic tragedy concerns the lives of ordinary people brought low by circumstances beyond their control. Domestic tragedy may be realistic seemingly true to life or naturalistic realistic and on the seamy side of life. A romantic comedy is a love story. The main characters are lovers; the secondary characters are comic. In the end the lovers are always united. Farce is comedy at its broadest. Much fun and horseplay enliven the action. The comedy of manners, or artificial comedy, is subtle, witty, and often mocking. Sentimental comedy mixes sentimental emotion with its humor. Melodrama has a plot filled with pathos and menacing threats by a villain, but it does include comic relief and has a happy ending. It depends upon physical action rather than upon character probing. Tragic or comic, the action of the play comes from conflict of characters how the stage people react to each other. These reactions make the play.

What makes a Drama a Drama?

* A dramatist should start with characters. The characters must be full, rich, interesting, and different enough from each other so that in one way or another they conflict. From this conflict comes the story
* Put the characters into dramatic situations with strongly plotted conclusions
* The plot should be able to tell what happens and why
* The beginning, should tell the audience or reader what took place before the story leads into the present action. The middle carries the action forward, amid trouble and complications. In the end, the conflict is resolved, and the story comes to a satisfactory, but not necessarily a happy conclusion.
* It should be filled with characters whom real people admire and envy. The plots must be filled with action. It should penetrate both the heart and mind and shows man as he is, in all his misery and glory.

Elements of Drama

Most successful playwrights follow the theories of playwriting and drama that were established over two thousand years ago by a man named Aristotle. In his works the Poetics Aristotle outlined the six elements of drama in his critical analysis of the classical Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex written by the Greek playwright, Sophocles, in the fifth century B.C. The six elements as they are outlined involve: Thought, Theme, Ideas; Action or Plot; Characters; Language; Music; and Spectacle.

1. Thought/Theme/Ideas

What the play means as opposed to what happens (the plot). Sometimes the theme is clearly stated in the title. It may be stated through dialogue by a character acting as the playwrights voice. Or it may be the theme is less obvious and emerges only after some study or thought. The abstract issues and feelings that grow out of the dramatic action.
2. Action/Plot

The events of a play; the story as opposed to the theme; what happens rather than what it means. The plot must have some sort of unity and clarity by setting up a pattern by which each action initiating the next rather than standing alone without connection to what came before it or what follows. In the plot of a play, characters are involved in conflict that has a pattern of movement. The action and movement in the play begins from the initial entanglement, through rising action, climax, and falling action to resolution.
3. Character

These are the people presented in the play that are involved in the perusing plot. Each character should have their own distinct personality, age, appearance, beliefs, socio economic background, and language.
4. Language

The word choices made by the playwright and the enunciation of the actors of the language. Language and dialog delivered by the characters moves the plot and action along, provides exposition, defines the distinct characters. Each playwright can create their own specific style in relationship to language choices they use in establishing character and dialogue.
5. Music

Music can encompass the rhythm of dialogue and speeches in a play or can also mean the aspects of the melody and music compositions as with musical theatre. Each theatrical presentation delivers music, rhythm and melody in its own distinctive manner. Music is not a part of every play. But, music can be included to mean all sounds in a production. Music can expand to all sound effects, the actor's voices, songs, and instrumental music played as underscore in a play. Music creates patterns and establishes tempo in theatre. In the aspects of the musical the songs are used to push the plot forward and move the story to a higher level of intensity. Composers and lyricist work together with playwrights to strengthen the themes and ideas of the play. Character's wants and desires can be strengthened for the audience through lyrics and music.
6. Spectacle

The spectacle in the theatre can involve all of the aspects of scenery, costumes, and special effects in a production. The visual elements of the play created for theatrical event. The qualities determined by the playwright that create the world and atmosphere of the play for the audience's eye.


Poetry Analysis

Title-- Ponder the title before reading the poem

List words and Phrases-- List the important Nouns, Verbs, Phrases, and Clauses in separate columns.

Paraphrase-- Translate the poem into your own words

Connotation-- Contemplate the poem for meaning beyond the literal

Attitude--Observe both the speaker and the poet attitude (tone).

Shifts-- Note shifts in speaker and in attitudes

Title-- Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level.

Theme --Determine what the poet is saying.

Title: Ponder the title before reading the poem; predict what the poem may be "about."

Paraphrase: Translate the poem into your own words. Focus on one syntactical unit at a time, not necessarily on one line at a time. Or write a sentence or two for each stanza of the poem.

Connotation: Contemplate the poem for meaning beyond the literal. What do the words mean beyond the obvious? What are the implications, the hints, the suggestions of these particular word choices?

Devices: Examine any and all poetic devices, focusing on how such devices contribute to the meaning, the effect, or both, of a poem. (What is important is not that you can identify poetic devices so much as that you can explain how the devices enhance meaning and effect.) Especially note anything that is repeated, either individual words or complete phrases. Anything said more than once may be crucial to interpretation.

Attitude: Observe both the speaker's and the poet's attitude (tone). Diction, images, and details suggest the speaker's attitude and contribute to understanding.

Shifts: Rarely does a poet begin and end the poetic experience in the same place. As is true of most of us, the poet's understanding of an experience is a gradual realization, and the poem is a reflection of that epiphany. Trace the changing feelings of the speaker from the beginning to end, paying particular attention to the conclusion. To discover shifts, watch for the following: key words: but, yet, however, although; punctuation: dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis; stanza and/or line divisions: change in line or stanza length or both; irony: sometimes irony hides shifts; effect of structure on meaning, how the poem is "built"; changes in sound that may indicate changes in meaning; and changes in diction: slang to formal language, for instance, or postive connotation to negative; the crux, the one crucial part of the work that stands out, perhaps presenting the complete idea all by itself.

Title: Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level.

Theme: In identifying theme, recognize the human experience, motivation, or condition suggested by the poem. Use this theme chart:

PLOT: A summary of the "plot" or events of a poem written in a short paragraph form

SUBJECT: Subjects of the poem are listed as words or phrases

THEME: After combining subjects where appropriate, write a complete sentence identifying what idea the poet or speaker (narrator) is conveying about each subject.

Friday, July 18, 2008


The people lived in the heavens and there were yet no human beings on earth. However on earth was glistening water and fresh green plants and trees. Ukinurot, a hunter in heaven, was fed up with the never-changing diet of meat, the brown and bare landscape and the warm clothing made of birds’ feathers

While hunting one day, a large bird swam into his ken. He aimed his bow and arrow at it and shot. The arrow passed clean through the bird’s body and landed on the ground, a distance away, and was deeply embedded in the ground. As he pulled it, a good amount of soil came up with the arrow, leaving a large hole in the ground. Ukinurot peered through the hole and saw below him shining water and green earth. He summoned his companions, men and women, and all were pleased with what they saw.

Then they decided to go down. They plucked the bird’s feathers and twined a rope with them. Then one by one they climbed down. A rather fat woman could not go through the opening.

Ukinurot was the last to descend. As soon as he touched earth, the rope snapped. So they could no longer return. The fat woman who remained in heaven, lights up the stars every night to remind the people below whence they originally came. The hole through below which they descended now shines as the moon.

Misamis Oriental Myth by Francisco Demetrio, SJ

This is a mythological story from the Philippines; accordingly the earth was unmanned till Ukinurot from heaven accidentally discovered that there was a paradise below them. Out of curiosity they then went down from heaven and accidentally settled on earth.

Isn’t it amazing how people think of the beginning of the human race here on Earth? Well, there are lots of beautiful stories through out the world and for me this story is one of them.


Urduja (ca. 1350 C.E - 1400 C.E.), is a legendary warrior-princess who is recognized as a heroine in Pangasinan. The name Urduja appears to be Sanskrit in origin, and a variation of the Sanskrit name "Urja," meaning "Breath." A historical reference to Urduja can be found in the travel account of Ibn Battuta (1304 - possibly 1368 or 1377 C.E.), a Muslim traveler from Morocco.

Ibn Battuta described Urduja as the ruler of Kaylukari in the land of Tawalisi. After reaching Samudra in what is now Sumatra, Ibn Battuta passed by Tawalisi on his way to China. Princess Urduja was described as a daughter of a ruler named Tawalisi of a land that was also called Tawalisi. The ruler of Tawalisi, according to Ibn Battuta, possessed many ships and was a rival of China, which was then ruled by a Mongol dynasty.[1] Ibn Battuta sailed for 17 days to reach China from the land of Tawalisi.[2]

Ibn Battuta made a pilgrimage to Mecca and he traveled to many other parts of the Islamic world. From India and Sumatra, Ibn Battuta reached the land of Tawalisi. Ibn Battuta described Princess Urduja as a warrior princess whose army was composed of men and women. Princess Urduja was a woman warrior who personally took part in the fighting and engaged in duels with other warriors. She was quoted as saying that she will marry no one but him who fights and defeats her in a duel. Other warriors avoided fighting with her for fear of being disgraced.[3]

Princess Urduja impressed Ibn Battuta with her military exploits and her ambition to lead an expedition to India, known to her as the "Pepper Country." But, Princess Urduja also showed her hospitality by preparing a banquet for Ibn Battuta and the crew of his ship. Princess Urduja generously provided Ibn Battuta with gifts that included robes, rice, two buffaloes, and four large jars of ginger, pepper, lemons, and mangoes, all salted, in preparation for Ibn Battuta's sea-voyage to China.[4]


Indarapatra and Sulayman

A long, long time ago, Mindanao waS covered with water, and the sea cover all the lowlands so that nothing could be seen but the mountains jutting from it. There were many people living in the country and all the highlands were dotted with villages and settlements. For many years the people prospered, living in peace and contentment. Suddenly there appeared in the land four horrible monsters which, in short time has devoured every human being they could find.
Kurita, a terrible creature with many limbs, lived partly on the land and partly on sea, but its favorite haunt was the mountain where the rattan palm grew; and here it brought utter destruction on every living thing. The second monster, Tarabusaw, an ugly creature in the form of a man, lived on Mt. Matutum, and far and wide from that place he devoured the people, laying waste the land. The third, an enormous bird called Pah, was so large that, when on the wing, it covered the sun and brought darkness to the earth. Its egg was as large as a house. Mt. Bita was its haunt; and there the only people who escaped its voracity were those whi hid in the mountain caves. The fourth monster was also a dreadful bird, having seven heads and the power to see in all directions at the same time. Mt. Gurayan was its home and like the others, it wrought havoc to its region.

So great was the death and destruction caused by these terrible creatures that at length, the news spread even to the most distant lands - and all nations grieved to hear the sad fate of Mindanao.

Now far across the sea, in the land of the golden sunset, was a city so great that to look at its many people would injure the eyes of men. When tidings of these great disasters reached this distant city, the heart of King Indarapatra was filled with compassion, and he called his brother, Sulayman, and begged hem to save the land of Mindanao from the monsters.

Sulayman listened to the story and as heard it, was moved with pity. "I will go", zeal and enthusiasm adding to his strenght, "and the land shall be avenged," said he.
King Indarapatra, proud of his brother's courage, gave him a ring and a sword as he wished him success and safety. Then he placed a young sapling by his window and said to Sulayman "By this tree I shall know your fate from the hour you depart from here, for if you live, it will live; but if you die, it will die also."

So Sulayman departed for Mindanao, and he neither waded nor used a boat, but went through the air and landed on the mountain where the rattan grew. There he stood on the summit and gazed about on all sides. He looked on the land and the villages, but he could see no living thing. And he was very sorrowful and cried out: "Alas, how pitiful and dreadful is this devastation."

No sooner had Sulayman uttered those words than thw whole mountain began to move and then shook. Suddenly out of the ground came the horrible creature Kurita. It sprng at the man and sank its claws at his flesh. But Sulayman knowing at once that this was the scourage of the land, drew his sword and cut Kurita to pieces.

Encourage by his first success, Sulayman went on to Mt. Matutum, where conditions were even worse. As he stood on the heights viewing the great devastation, there was a noise in the forest and a movement in the trees. With a loud yell, Tarabusaw forth leaped. For the moment they looked at each other, neither showing any sign of fear. Then Tarabusaw used all his powers to try to devour Sulayman, who fought back. For a long time, the battle continued, until at last, the monster fell exhausted to the ground and Sulayman killed him with his sword.

The nest place visited by Sulayman was Mt. Bita. Here havoc was present everywhere, and though he passed by many homes, he saw that not a single soul was left. As he walked, sudden darkness fell over the land, startling him. As he looked toward the sky he beheaded a great bird that swooped upon him. Immediately he struck, and the bird fell dead at his feet; but the wing fell on Sulayman and he was crushed.
Now at this very time King Indarapatra was sitting at his window, and looking out he saw the little tree witcher and dry up.

"Alas!" he cried, "my brother is dead" and he wept bitterly.
Then although he was very sad, he was filled with a desire for revenge. Putting on his sword and belt, he started for Mindanao, in search for his brother.
He, too, traveled through the air with great speed until he came to the mountain where the rattan grew. There he looked about, awed at the great destruction, and when she saw the bones of Kurita he knew that his brother had been there. He went on till he came to Matutum, and when he saw the bones of Tarabusaw, he knew that this, too, was the work of Sulayman.

Still searching for his brother, he arrived at Mt. Bita, where the dead bird lay on the ground, and when he lifted the severed wing he beheld the bones of Sulayman with his sword biy his side. His grief now so overwhelmed Indarapatra that he wept for some time. Upon looking up, he beheld a small jar of water by his side. This, he knew had been sent from the heaven, and he poured the water over the bones, and Sulayman, came to life again. They greeted each other and talked animatedly for great length of time. Sulayman declared that he had not been dead but asleep, and their hearts were full of joy.
After some time Sulayman returned his distant home, but Indarapatra continued his journey to Mt. Gurayan where killed the dreadful bird with the seven heads. After these monsters had all been killed, peace and safety had been restored to the land: Indarapatra began searching everywhere to see if some of the people who hid in the earth were still alive.

One day, in the course of his search, he caugth sight of a beautiful woman at a distance. When he hastened toward her she disappeared through a hole in the ground where she stood. Disappointed and tried, he sat down on a rock to rest when, looking about, he saw near him a pot uncooked rice with a big fire on the ground in front of it. This revived him and he proceeded to cook the rice. As he did so, however, he heared someone laugh near by, and turning he beheld an old woman watching him. As he greeted her, she drew near and talked to him while he ate the rice.
Of all the people in the land, the woman told him, only few were left, and they hid in a cave in the ground from whence they never ventured to come out. As for herself and her old husband, she went on, they had hidden in a hollow tree, and this they had never dared to leave until Sulayman killed the voracious bird Pah.

At Indarapatra's request, the old woman led him to one such cave. There he met the headmen with his family and some people. They all gathered about the stranger, asking many questions, for this was the first time they had heard about the death of the monsters. When they found out what Indarapatra had done for them, the headman gave his daughter to him in marriage, and she proved to be beauiful girl whom Indarapatra had seen at the mouth of the cave.

Then the people all came out of their hiding places and returned to their homes where they lived in peace and happiness. And the sea withdrew from the land and gave the lowlands to the people.


Biag ni Lam-ang

The Biag ni Lam-ang or Life of Lam-ang (complete Iloko title: Historia a Pacasaritaan ti Panagbiag ni Lam-ang iti Ili a Nalbuan nga Asaoa ni D.a Ines Cannoyan iti Ili a Calanutian) is a pre-Hispanic epic of the Ilokano people from the Ilocos region of the Philippines. Recited and originally written in Iloko language, it is believed to be the work of many poets from various generations. At around 1640, a blind Ilokano bard named Pedro Bucaneg put the epic poem into a written language.

[edit] Synopsis

The hero, Lam-ang, could talk immediately after birth. He selected his own name, chose his own sponsor, and asked for his father’s presence. Barely nine months old, Lam-ang fought against the headhunters who killed his father. He was also eaten by a river monster called "Berkakan," but was reborn from his retrieved bones.

Nine months before Lam-ang was born to a noble family, his father Don Juan left for the mountains to defeat an evil tribe of Igorots. Unfortunately, he was beheaded, and his head was displayed at the center of the village as a prize. When Lam-ang's mother Ina Namongan gave birth, she was surprised when the baby grew up instantly. Lam-ang, as he was named, promised to find out what happened to his father by going up the mountains himself. There, helped by a good tribe of Igorots, he encountered the evil tribe and killed every one of them as vengeance, just by using a single spear.

When he returned home, he was so tired that he wanted to bathe. He dipped into the Amburayan River, which was instantly drenched in mud and blood. So filthy was the flow that the fish in the river crawled out and died on its shores.

The following day, he told his mother Ina Namongan that he wanted to marry. Using his supernatural abilities, he predicted he would wed a woman named Ines Kannoyan in a place called Calanutian. Accompanied by his pets, a rooster, a hen, and a dog, he journeyed to get the beautiful Ines Kannoyan. On the way, he encountered a man called Sumarang with very big eyes. They fought and Lam-ang won, killing Sumarang.

Ines Kannoyan had a multitude of suitors, and they crowded her house in Calanutian. So many were they that Lam-ang had to step on their heads and walk through a window just to enter the house. Lam-ang’s rooster flapped its wings, and the long house toppled. This amazed everybody, especially Ines. Then, Lam-ang’s dog barked and the long house rose to its former site.

Ines Kannoyan was so immediately stricken by his strength that she agreed to marry him. Nevertheless, her parents were still skeptical: they needed a dowry from his parents in return for Ines Kannoyan’s hand. Lam-ang agreed to return in a week to bring his mother as well as wealth and goods. Back in his town, Lam-ang prepared a house gilded with gold, filled with fruit, jewels, statues, and other amenities. When he sailed back to Calanutian, Ines Kannoyan’s family was stunned. The wedding was done on the spot.

After the wedding Lam-ang was tasked to catch some fish in the Amburayan River and when he dove into the river he went straight to the mouth of the Berkakan. His wife was deeply anguished. The old diver Lacay Marcos was fetched to get the bones of Lam-ang excreted by the Berkakan. When the bones were retrieved, the pets of Lam-ang performed magics and Lam-ang was again brought to life.