Manuel Arguila’s short story “Arroz” (1938) presents readers with a meander of events that reflects two literary approaches. One is from a psychoanalytic perspective in which the three divisions of the psyche are the ones that dominate or interact in the evolution of the story. One division is the id, which is part of the psyche that is completely unconscious and is the source of psychic energy derived from instinctual needs and drives. The second division is the ego, which is the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality, especially by functioning both in perception and in adaptation to reality. Finally, there is the superego, which is the part of the psyche that is only partially conscious, which represents the internalization of parental consciousness and the rules of society, and which functions to reward and punish through a system of moral attitudes, conscience and a sense of responsibility. fault. The other literary approach could be a Marxist perspective that states that a literary work can comprise a lesson about the impact on our lives of the common immorality and indecency of the wealthy classes who are given the right to manage and control our system. economic.

The story begins with Mang Pablo, an elderly farmer from Hacienda Consuelo who is on his way home in search of his family to report their antics for that day’s harvest. Osiang, the wife of his good friend Andrés, finds him when he leaves his hut. Mang Pablo, due to his old age, struggles to inform Osiang of that day’s harvest because she is caught hitting her mortar. Meanwhile, Osiang rants about the immorality of the people of Hacienda Consuelo so that the lower class people living there pay a fine of five 1caves of rice for a handful of snails that they found in the stream. Mang Pablo once again struggles to inform Osiang that there is no rice for that day.

The story switches to a flashback of what happened in the morning when he, Mang Pablo, along with the other tenants of Hacienda Consuelo, went to the lady’s house to borrow grain. Unfortunately for him and his fellow farmers, an announcement arrives from 2loaded of the bags of rice. The ad says that five sacks of rice to be loaned that day will become ten at harvest time. This news shocks Mang Pablo and the other farmers terribly, ranting that they have always lent 3tersiohan i.e. oven caves of rice for six. After which, the Mrs he comes out with his cane hitting the polished floor while threatening the peasants with the news that every sack of rice harvested that day will be loaded onto trucks and delivered to the city; so the tenants will definitely starve.

The story flashes back to the present with Osiang still unaware that there is no rice for that day and offers Mang Pablo coals from his stove. Mang Pablo tries once more to inform Osiang of the terrible news, but she hits her small stone mortar again.

After some time, Osiang’s husband arrives and meets Mang Pablo. Mang Pablo insists on stopping the plan of Andrés and his fellow farmers to steal rice and kill the truck loaders, but Andrés is determined. They discuss the consequences of his plan. Mang Pablo comments on going to 4Bilibid if they continue with his plan. Andrés responds by saying that there will be rice in the Bilibid. Mang Pablo insists again on what they would gain if they carried out his plan. Andrés responds by saying that the rice is for his wives and his children.

After Andrés and Osiang’s departure, their family arrives along with a security guard. The guard approaches Mang Pablo and informs him of the infraction – collecting snails from the stream – that his family committed and the fine they must pay. Then they walk home. Sabel, Mang Pablo’s daughter, cries repeatedly to her father out of hunger for her. After contemplating what to do about his desperate situation, Mang Pablo grabs the cake from him, leaves his shack and walks over to Andrés, who is waiting silently for him by the broken fence.

As mentioned above, the “Rice” story could be viewed from two literary perspectives. One is from a Marxist perspective. In the story, the Mrs at Hacienda Consuelo represents the rich people who oppressed the powerless represented by Mang Pablo, his family and his fellow farmers. Tea MrsThe portrayal of a well-to-do oppressor is implied as she steps out of her mansion with her cane thumping on the porch floor. A staff has both a positive and a negative connotation. However, in history, the staff symbolizes negativity: it was a tool used to strike or inflict pain.

The lady had left his cane thumping a quick tattoo on the polished porch floor

The story also reflects a situation of repression and manipulation of workers by their owners. It’s evident when the announcement comes in that five sacks of borrowed rice turn into ten at harvest time. Mang Pablo and his fellow farmers repeated over and over again that they had always borrowed tersiohan that is, four sacks of rice become six. They insisted that 5takipan – five bags for ten – is too much.

“Five becomes ten,” said the attendant, “Either that or you don’t have rice.”

“See those trucks?” she had finished, pointing to three big red trucks under the mango tree in the yard. “If you don’t take the rice today, tonight the trucks will take every sack in sight to the city.. So I hope everyone starvesungrateful beasts!

The story also describes the value of things for their usefulness in society. For the oppressed (Mang Pablo and the other farmers), rice is something that they, the humble people, value and use to satisfy their hunger for food. For the oppressors (lady and authority), they value rice because it symbolizes that they are of high social status and have the power to dominate lower class people. The context of this literary work remains consistent with the ideology that rice is a staple food for all to satisfy hunger and to symbolize one’s social status and power in society.

A literary approach superimposed on this story, in addition to a Marxist approach, would be a psychoanalytic perspective. As discussed, the psychoanalytic approach involves the roles of the three divisions of the psyche – id, ego and superego – in a literary work. In Arguilla’s “Arroz”, an interplay of these three divisions is implied in how he narrates each event in the story. It begins with Mang Pablo submitting to his ego as he accepts the fact that he will always be a humble man destined to serve the people in power.

Although not stated, Osiang’s continued and unconscious contempt for Mang Pablo’s news that there will be no rice could suggest Mang Pablo’s acceptance of his current situation of living in a place dominated by people of superiority, that is, the complete ignorance of the upper social class for People of lower social class like them.

“Andrés is talking to some of the men at Elis’s house. Osiang, do you know where Sebia and the children are?”

Why don’t you come home? He knows that I have been waiting all day for the rice that he brings home! I am very hungry. I can’t even drag my bones away from the stove. What is he doing at Elis’s, the shameless and useless son of a bitch?

Pablo moved away from the fence, stumbling a little, because the long blades of grass got in his way. “No rice, Osiang,” he yelled over his shoulder. but evidently the woman did not listen to him as she continued speaking: “Mang Pablo, how many caves of rice did you borrow?”..”

“There is no rice, Osiang,” he whispered. He felt too tired and weak to raise his voice…

The next sentence taken from the selection implies that Mang Pablo succumbs to being a humble servant of the people of Hacienda Consuelo when he no longer dared to tell Osiang about the bad announcement.

Pablo looked at her and wanted to tell her again that there was no rice, but he didn’t dare to do it…

In the middle of the story, Mang Pablo is being dominated by his superego to contradict his fellow farmers’ plan to steal the sacks of rice they carefully harvested and possibly kill the truck loaders. It is evident in the story when his fellow farmer, Andres, comes home with his wife, Osiang.

“Are you coming with us?” she asked Pablo, her voice hoarse in his throat as he forced himself to keep his voice low. There was a fierce and desperate look in his small eyes that Pablo found it hard to find.

Don’t be silly Andrew.he said, coughing to clear his throat and trying to appear calm…

“What can you do, Andrew?” he said. “You say you will stop the trucks that bring the rice to the city. That will be a robbery.

In the end, what dominated Mang Pablo’s psyche is his id. After the watchman, along with his wife and children, approach him and tell him about the rape of his family, Mang Pablo ponders how to find payment for the rape of his family and how to find food to feed his family. . His daughter, Sabel, comes over repeatedly and murmurs to him about her hunger for food. Until that night, he decides to succumb to his identity: he decides to follow the plan of Andrés and his fellow farmers to rob and kill the truckloaders of the rice they harvested in the morning.

The piece of wood finally broke and Pablo was left with a small stump in his hands. He glared at him, sobbing with rage and weakness, then ran towards the hut shouting: “Give me my skittle, Sebia, give me my skittle. We will have food tonight.

After this scene, Sebia tries to prevent Mang Pablo from succumbing to his plan. Mang Pablo’s superego at some point, interacts with his id, leading to his indecision.

“God save me,” Pablo said, broken. He raised his knees and letting his face fall between them, he cried like a child.

Outside the darkness had thickened. Pablo made his way through the tall grass in the yard. He stopped to look back at his house.

Mang Pablo’s latest action shows that he has finally let his id dominate him.

She tightened the belt of the heavy bolo around her waist.. Pulling the old buri hat firmly on her head, she joined Andres, who was waiting by the crumbling fence. silent, they walked together

“Arroz” is a narrative, written by Manuel Arguilla, that describes the way of life of farmers who are under the authority of superiors at Hacienda Consuelo. It narrates how rice marks the difference between the two classes, since having rice means having a high social status and power. The oppressors (represented by Mrs) use their authority (to claim rice harvested by farmers) to win over humble people (the oppressed, Mang Pablo and his fellow farmers). It also narrates how a problem can lead a person to commit a heinous crime caused by desperation that becomes evident when Mang Pablo joined his fellow farmers in committing the crime for the survival of himself and his families.

1cavanes – a cavanes of rice is equal to a sack of rice (fifty kilos of rice)

twoforeman – one who carries loads or sacks of rice from sleds to trucks

3tersiohan: a loan system among Filipinos in which four sacks of rice are paid for six

4Bilibid – a Filipino term for “jail” or “jail”

5takipan: a loan system among Filipinos in which five sacks of rice are paid for ten (the amount borrowed doubles at harvest time)


Arguilla, ME 1998. How my brother León brought home a wife and other stories. Manila: De La Salle University Press, Inc.

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