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Mapanglaw Ang Mukha Ng Buwan: A Review of Efren R. Abueg's Classic Short Story
Mapanglaw Ang Mukha Ng Buwan (The Moon's Sad Face) is a short story written by Efren R. Abueg, one of the most prolific and influential Filipino writers of the 20th century. The story was first published in 1972 and has since been included in several anthologies of Philippine literature.
The story is set during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II. It follows the plight of Mang Itoy, a poor farmer who struggles to provide for his family, especially his wife Maring who is suffering from a mysterious illness. Mang Itoy resorts to selling his blood to a Japanese doctor in exchange for medicine, but he soon discovers that his wife is actually an aswang, a mythical creature that feeds on human flesh and blood.
The story explores the themes of poverty, oppression, betrayal, and survival in a time of war and chaos. It also depicts the clash of cultures and beliefs between the Filipinos and the Japanese, as well as the moral dilemma of Mang Itoy who has to choose between his love for his wife and his duty to his fellowmen.
Mapanglaw Ang Mukha Ng Buwan is a masterpiece of Filipino fiction that showcases Abueg's skillful use of language, imagery, symbolism, and irony. The story is both realistic and fantastical, tragic and humorous, horrifying and touching. It is a story that reflects the Filipino spirit of resilience and hope in the face of adversity.
The story also challenges the reader to question the nature of good and evil, human and monster, and reality and illusion. Is Maring really an aswang or is she a victim of superstition and prejudice? Is Mang Itoy a hero or a traitor for sacrificing his blood and his countrymen for his wife? Is the Japanese doctor a friend or a foe for providing medicine and money to Mang Itoy? The story does not offer easy answers, but rather invites the reader to reflect on their own values and choices.
Mapanglaw Ang Mukha Ng Buwan is not only a historical and cultural document, but also a literary and artistic achievement. Abueg's style is simple yet powerful, using vivid descriptions, dialogues, and flashbacks to create a compelling narrative. He also employs various literary devices such as symbolism, irony, foreshadowing, and contrast to enhance the meaning and impact of the story. For example, he uses the moon as a symbol of Maring's condition, as it changes from bright and full to dark and waning. He also uses irony to show how Mang Itoy's love for his wife leads him to his downfall, as he unknowingly feeds her with his own blood. He also foreshadows the tragic ending of the story by mentioning the sound of gunfire and the smell of blood in the beginning. He also contrasts the innocence and optimism of Clemencia, Mang Itoy's daughter, with the despair and hopelessness of her father.
Mapanglaw Ang Mukha Ng Buwan is a classic short story that deserves to be read and appreciated by Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. It is a story that captures the essence of Filipino culture, history, and identity. It is a story that speaks of the human condition in times of war and peace. It is a story that reminds us of the power of love and the cost of survival. 061ffe29dd