Dichotomizing Narratives on Women’s Re/Presentation: A Textual Inference from Nick Juaquin and Estrella Alfon’s Fiction

Author: Joseph P. Casibual Jr. (Western Mindanao State University)
Speaker: Joseph P. Casibual Jr.
Topic: Language, Gender, Sexuality
The GLOCAL CALA 2022 General Session


This paper examines texts written by Nick Juaquin and Estrella Alfon in the guise of motifs and forms of representations created by a male and female writer associated to post-colonial Filipina women. Dichotomizing styles of narrative, this textual exploration aims to delineate feminist consciousness in Philippine literature as a way of broadening the definition and perception of feminism and to re-empower and re-establish the Filipina woman. Specifically, it aims to answer the following questions: (1) How are the female characters re/presented by two authors in terms of virtue, vices, passion and struggles? (2) What images were used in underpinning the societal roles of the female characters?, (3) What level of re/presentation used by each author in the re/presenting the women protagonists? It utilizes three (3) stories by a male writer by Nick Juaquin – Mayday Eve, Summer Solstice, and Three Generations; and three (3) stories by a female writer by Estrella Alfon –Servant Girl, Magnificence, and Low Wall. Furthermore, the study attempts to compare representations of women by a male and female author whether unintentionally or unwittingly amidst the period were women are faced with the problem of adapting to their identities as women brought about by colonization. Clearly, Juaquin’s narratives greatly lean on a less-feminist depiction which is in contrast with Alfon’s representation. Images of being weak, frail, submissive and dependent are dominant in Juaquin’s characters while Alfon possess the opposite. Undeniably, there is a clear dichotomy of representation between the authors resulting to a regulated level of representation on the male’s narratives while respected representation on the female. Thus, it suggests that such difference exists and gender in authorship could be a factor in the aspect portrayal and re/presentation in literature.

Keywords: Dichotomy, Representation, Motifs, Narrative, Post-colonial, Feminism