Hunger, Desire and Migratory Souls: Interethnic Relations in Three Short Stories by Satur P. Apoyon
AbstractModern Cebuano fiction comes from an oral tradition that goes back to pre-colonial Philippines. An important shift in the direction of Cebuano literature took place after the Pacific War when Visayan communities had been firmly established in Mindanao. Migration created an audience outside of Cebu and, consequently, encouraged writing that depicted the migrant's life. In turn, realities that spring from the history and cultures of Mindanao came to be represented in Cebuano fiction with relative care and integrity. Satur P. Apoyon was among the Visayan writers who consciously sought to describe realities in Mindanao using a Cebuano literary tradition.
Â Â This essay examines three short stories from Apoyon'sÂ Ang Gakit Ni Noebong Ug Ubang Mga SugilanonÂ (Noebong's Raft and Other Stories). These stories feature interethnic relations between a Visayan and a Bagobo in â€œDili Alang Kang David Ang Baboy Ihalasâ€ (The Wild Boar is Not for David) and a Maguindanao and a Teduray in â€œAng Jihad ni Hadji Aribaniâ€ (Hadji Aribani's Jihad). â€œMga Gutomâ€ (The Hungry Ones) describes a symbolic relationship between human and animal that portrays an analogous dynamic found in the stories about settlers and the indigenous.
Â Â This essay will employ Resil B. Mojares's concept of the Filipino writer's wandering soul (â€œThe Haunting of the Filipino Writerâ€ 300) to describe a trauma that Apoyon's fiction repeatedly re-enacts in the form of encounters between characters from different ethnic groups. Using Mojares's lens, the three stories will be read as being â€œhauntedâ€ by the spectre of the Lumad: the indigenous peoples of Mindanao whom migrants from Luzon and the Visayas had displaced after waves of migration that occurred during the American colonial period.
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