by Paz Marquez Benitez
Gerardo Luna, a jewelry store salesman in his 30’s, has always dreamed to go to the forest which he regards as a beautiful place. One day, when Ambo, an orchid gatherer who buys some jewelry for his wife’s store, tells Gerardo about living in the forest for weeks at a time, the latter gets more interested, and tells his wife about it. However, his wife is eyeing only the business aspect of such idea. Hence, he never mentions his dream again.
Then Gerardo’s wife dies. At last, he can fulfill his long-time dream, especially that Ambo has come again, with stories regarding newly opened public land on a forest plateau. So, the two of them plan to go to the forest.
Before actually going to the planned trip, Gerardo’s Ate Tere is not so keen on the idea. She wants him to marry Peregrina who will surely take him the minute he proposes.
Ambo and Gerardo go to the hills, and it is among the foothills where they spend noontime. Gerardo is tired and sweaty, and he asks for water, which, according to Ambo is ten minutes away. They walk and walk, and along the way Gerardo experiences nature in a manner that is not that wonderful for him.
Finally they enter the dim forest. Gerardo is uncomfortable on his bed of small branches and twigs. He cannot sleep that night; he thinks of his wife, not fondly, though. He also thinks of God. He is oppressed by nostalgia.
There is an eerie light in the forest, and Gerardo hears strange sounds that are caused by tree worms. Then he hears water from afar. All in all, he feels that he will never understand the forest.
Gerardo goes home, first getting his house’s key from his Ate Tere. There he meets Peregrina whom he tells “Pereg, as soon as I get these clothes off I shall come to ask you a question that is very—very important to me.”
As she smiled eagerly but uncertainly into his face, he heard a jangling in his hand. He felt, queerly, that something was closing above his hand, and that whoever was closing it, was rattling the keys.
III. SHORT STORY ELEMENTS
1. Gerardo Luna - a jewelry store salesman in his 30’s, Protagonist, Developing
2. His wife – Antagonist, Flat, Static
3. Ambo - an orchid gatherer who buys some jewelry for his wife’s store, Flat, Static
4. Ate Tere or Sotera – Gerardo was a younger brother to the former mistress of her also younger brother, Flat, Static
5. Peregrina – Flat, Static
B. PLOT - Linear
Gerardo Luna is being introduced, with the mention of his secret long-time dream of going to the forest.
b) Rising Action
He tells her wife about such dream, but she brushes it off; thus, he forgets about that dream. Then she dies.
The peak of this short story is when Gerardo is finally in the forest, and he experiences things that he has never though the forest has.
d) Falling action
Things start to “fall” when Gerardo realizes that the forest is not exactly what he has always dreamed.
When he goes back home, Gerardo feels he should get back to reality.
a) place – in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
b) time- a long time ago
c) weather conditions- fine
d) social conditions- Gerardo has a nice job
e) mood or atmosphere- light
D. POINT OF VIEW
The Point of View used in this short story is the Omniscient Limited - The author tells the story in third person (using pronouns they, she, he, it, etc). We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us.
E. LITERARY DEVICES
For me, the literary devices used in this story are Symbolism and Irony. Gerardo’s dream of going to the forest symbolizes the freedom he has always longed for. Meanwhile, this dream is ironic because the forest is not what he thinks it is.
In my opinion, the theme things are not always as they appear to be is applicable to this story.
The conflict here is Internal, that of Man vs. Himself. Gerardo has always dreamed of going to the forest, and he has kept this within himself. --ARV