Characters Connie Escobar- the lead female character, was described by literary critic Epifanio San Juan as a sufferer of her mother’s estrangement from a world where unconfident males take advantage of women by violating them or by venerating them. Macho Escobar- a man who had an affair with Connie’s mother, a past incident that serves as an “umbilical cord” or "umbilicus", a remnant connected to her present and future because of her refusal to leave the issue in the past.
Manolo Vidal- is the embodiment of the Filipino nationalistic bourgeois who were once critical of the theocracy of the Spaniards but became transformed puppets and servants of these colonialists. Paco Texeira- was a survivor between the behaviors of the Monson and Vidal families, and also acted as Nick Joaquin’s “conscience”, an observer who could have penetrated the existing rituals and ruses. Concha Borromeo- she is the mother of Connie Escobar. Esteban Borromeo- he is the husband of Concha Borromeo. Father Tony- A priest, and the brother of Pepe Monson.
Pepe Monson- A horse Doctor and the brother of Father Tony. Doctor Monson- A former rebel hiding in Hong Kong to avoid postwar trials. Rita Lopez – The future wife of Paco Texeria and Business partner of Hellen Silva's painting shop. Hellen Silva- A owner of a painting shop. Author Nicomedes Marquez Joaquin A Filipino writer, historian and journalist, best known for his short stories and novels in the English language. He also wrote using the pen name Quijano de Manila. Joaquin was conferred the rank and title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature.
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He is considered most important Filipino writer in English, and the third most important overall, after Jose Rizal and Claro M. Recto. Joaquin was born in Paco, Manila, one of ten children of Leocadio Joaquin, a colonel under General Emilio Aguinaldo in the 1896 Revolution, and Salome Marquez, a teacher of English and Spanish. After being read poems and stories by his mother, the boy Joaquin read widely in his father's library and at the National Library of the Philippines. By then, his father had become a successful lawyer after the revolution. From reading, Joaquin became interested in writing.
At age 17, Joaquin had his first piece published, in the literary section of the pre-World War II Tribune, where he worked as a proofreader. It was accepted by the writer and editor Serafin Lanot. After Joaquin won a nationwide essay competition to honor La Naval de Manila, sponsored by the Dominican Order, the University of Santo Tomas awarded him an honorary Associate in Arts (A. A. ). They also awarded him a scholarship to St. Albert's Convent, the Dominican monastery in Hong Kong. Some of his awards are: Ten Most Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), Awardee for Literature (1955)
National Artist Award (1976). Stonehill Award for the Novel (1960) Jose Garcia Villa's Honor Roll (1940) S. E. A. Write Award (1980) Joaquin died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004, at his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. He was then editor of Philippine Graphic magazine where he worked with Juan P. Dayang, who was the magazine's first publisher. Joaquin was also publisher of its sister publication, Mirror Weekly, a women’s magazine. He also wrote the column (“Small Beer”) for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Isyu, an opinion tabloid. Nick Joaquin Summary
In the of the story, it started when Connie went to Pepe's place for consultation. The problem of Connie is how to remove her other navel. Because if she (if ever) give birth, where would the other umbilical cord be connected. Connie told Pepe the story about her child hood times. Pepe talked to Seniora de Vidal, and everything that Seniora de Vidal told Pepe exactly the opposite of what Connie told Pepe. Some things that Seniora de Vidal told Pepe, was that Connie only have a navel, her navel was not really two. Also the age, which Seniora de Vidal said that Connie was just 18 years old.
And she was not just got married that day, but she was married almost a year already. Pepe know that Connie hide from her after hearing that Seniora de Vidal ordinary that her father was in news and that controversies often comes when her father is in the government. Connie's mom told her not to be affected with the controversies. After that, Seniora de Vidal also told Pepe that her daughter likes Paco. Pepe knows Paco because they were classmates during they are in Grade School. After talking with Seniora de Vidal, Pepe went to Texeria's after.
They talked and Pepe discovered that Paco was in Manila, he writes Mary a lot of letters about Connie's Mother. Paco was in manila with his band to play and sing in two different clubs, they had already signed contracts. Paco became interested with Manila, while Seniora de Vidal became interested with Hong Kong. The even talked an said, they would meet often and know each others countries. One time, Connie's mom was not around their house, and Paco met Connie. Starting that time, Connie started watching Paco and his band playing for the club. Until one they, there were few people fighting and one of them got shot.
Connie was there and she was shocked. Paco with Connie went together to a Chinese Temple. Connie told Paco that she can talk to somebody else, Connie left him. After some weeks past by, Paco exited the club that he was playing for, and suddenly saw Connie's car in dark. They drove till they reach Paco's hotel. Paco went out of his hotel room and go away. After that happening, 2 days to be exact, Paco left Manila alone and went back to Hong Kong. Mary, Pepe, Paco went to the park and talked. After few hours, Mary went home ahead with her children.
The two gentleman’s talk about Connie's two navel. They where wondering if it is true or not. After talking about it, Pepe went home while Paco was left in the park. When we came home, he saw his father who was supposed to be in Manila. His father was very unusual that time and cannot answer most of Paco's questions. Tony his brother and Rita, who he is engage to, went to Paco's house because their father was their. They ate together and his father went to his room earlier that other. They were all thinking what happened to their father when he was still in Manila.
He wasn't able to answer their questions and he went to Hong kong earlier than what is expected. The only this he saw in the room was the dirty run that was full of dust. Pepe gave up of figuring up things and went away. in In the next chapter, Rita Lopez and Hellen Silva's painting shop. The phone rang and the person on the phone was Pepe and ask Rita to go to a dinner with Mary and Paco. Hellen told Rita it was sweet but Rita said, it was all Mary's idea. Rita wanted to go home and change clothes but Pepe told him that they will be going straight to Rita's shop.
So Rita has to just stay in her shop and not to change clothes. So they went to ride a ferry going to a Disco club in Tovarich. They went there to see one good band playing in Tovarich. Pete Alfonso went near them in the bar and talk to them. And ask a drink with them, Paco ask Pete Alfonso why there where no singer and pianist. So he answer and said they ran away and need a replacement. So Paco applied and was accepted to start the next day. Next, Rita asked Pepe to dance with her but Pepe told him he was too full to dance. Pepe ask someone who was siting across them awhile ago and said it was Vidal.
After talking, Pepe ask permission to Rita if she can go to the balcony, Pepe went to the balcony to talk with Connie Escobar. Pepe went back to Rita and told them to go home first because he is going to talk to someone. So Connie Escobar drive Pepe very fast but Pepe said stop and went away. But after minutes pass by, Pepe went back to the car. Then Connie told Pepe stories and at last, the arrived at the hotel. Connie kissed Pepe on his cheeks and go to her room. But, Connie went back to Pepe and ask him to bring her to other places. Pepe ask her why and she said, because his husband is up their.
Pepe told her, why should you get worried. Connie told him that Macho has other girls, the worst thing about it was, her own mother Concha de Vidal was the girl of his husband. Connie saw the letters of her mother to Macho. So Pepe help her and brought her to his wife's place. Connie ask Pepe to tell Macho that she was just sick, she don't like to go there. Pepe told that to Macho, Macho ask Pepe if Connie is alright, and ask him if he is a doctor, Pepe told him he was not a doctor. So Macho ask him to get Connie one, Macho was asking and asking Pepe where Connie is but Pepe didn't tell him because it was what Connie ask him to do.
When Pepe was to leave Macho's room, Macho stop him and told the story of how he and Connie got married. Macho became emotional, while the story was on going. Macho's father was stroke and after a few days, Macho's father died. So Macho has to take care of their business and their "hacienda". As Pepe went home, just daylight before Rita awoke. Rita didn't saw Connie in the sofa. The next chapter started when it was New Year in Hong Kong. Paco and his band perform in Tovarich. Everybody there was having a lot of fun. In the convent of St Andrew, Father Tony was planning to teach novices different languages.
But he had a visitor, it was Seniora de Vidal. She told Father Tony that Connie was starting to invent stories. She knows that Connie hated her because she as Father Tony to convince her to go back to his husband Macho. After hearing the story, Father Tony was confused and felt very uncomfortable. After that, Father Tony when to the club to talk to Pepe, Rita, Paco & Mary. He told them everything that Seniora de Vidal told him, there Paco hated them more. Later that night, Concha remembers when she first met his husband Esteban Borromeo. A Handsome boy, a good painter, and an activist she fell n love with and who she married. After Esteban died, she met and married her latest husband, Mr. Vidal. That night, Concha ask Father Tony to go to her car. They talk everything about Concha's past and about Connie. Then Tony and Pepe went home and they saw Connie standing infront of their door. They try to talk with her, to forgive whatever her mother did to her. And try to start a new life, and told her she only have one navel. And it was just her imagination. Then Connie started to tease Father Tony and Pepe to look if she really has two navels.
The next chapter is about what happen to the Connie's life. How she want to destroy her parents. How she hated her husband Macho and can't forgive him. How she sees the world as an evil world, trying to live in a make believe world. Connie can't accept to accept the really world. While Connie was on the top of the peak. She recalled everything that happened and felt hated that is inside her heart, her mothers and his fathers. She remember the times when she always says that her father and mother are bad, and not her. She felt soared but still, cannot accept the truth.
After a while, she went to the Monastery. When she was in the Monastery and got inside, she wanted to talk to Father Tony but is was an older father who approach her. They had confrontation of what Connie really felt. The father showed her that she was bad. But whatever the Father told her, she always believe that she is not bad. V. Setting Nick Joaquin's "The Woman Who Had Two Navels" revolved around the upper middle class expatriates' consciousness during the American period of colonization. It portrayed every character's struggle to maintain their "selves" in a foreign setting like Hongkong.
It can also be defined as coming to terms with the political consciousness during that period. The novel also contained mixtures of hatred, love, anger, insecurities, and sufferings that manifest in the realities of life making the flow of the story more provocative and appealing to the audience. The title of the novel excited my curiosity; that's why it took me a long time to analyze and think the interpretations that I have to use to show its significance. The story started with Connie, a daughter of a wealthy politician. Connie portrayed herself as a person with two navels.
Literally, when a woman has two navels, this means that she has two umbilical cords. The navel is the shortened umbilical cord - usually removed when a person is born. But it is not possible because if a person has two umbilical cords, he is a preternatural being - a mutant. Connie, pretending that she has two navels may refer to the "rebirths" that she underwent. The first rebirth was escaping from her mother's evil clutches since she was an unwanted child - always ostracized and continuously suffered from the ghosts of the past that haunted her.
Let us not also forget her inability to deal with her life due to parental constrictions and the love affair of her husband Macho and her mother that made her feel miserable at some points in her life. The second rebirth refers to her awakening, herself realization and emancipation as a woman. She learned to face reality and accepted the truth. In my point of view, her reason why she pretended to have two navels is that she wanted to forget everything about her, to be different so that another personality will reside and dwell on her.
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