Soledad, a poem about a woman who covet a sin against the church...
Angela Manalang-Gloria’s sonnet entitled Soledad basically tells us how the Filipinos evaluate and see their own direct and personal experiences. Her Soledad shows us two aspects of the Philippine society--conservative and religious. The poem depicts how the society reacts on a trying and disturbing event. In the poem, the customs and norms are followed using a cognizant mind (even unconsciously) with the Catholic teachings and religion in the backdrop. Religion is the basis of their actions. More often than not, the Filipinos deep sense of religiosity is reflected in their decisions and ways of seeing the events that happen in their lives. In the poem, the townspeople learn about a scandalous situation that involves a girl from their town. The girl is described to be a well bred person with this line “one so carved from pride and glassed in dream.” With this observation, the people in the town are surprised to find out that the girl engages in a pre-marital sex. As the poem says, “…she dared profane the bread and wine of life for one insane moment with him.” She seriously defies a norm that has some religious underpinnings. Contextually, “profane” and “bread and wine” are terms widely used to discuss religion and philosophies of God and Man. Towards the end of the poem, the town condemns the girl. It is interesting to know why such people resort to condemning the girl rather than giving her clemency and sympathy instead. What happened to the so-called Christian compassion and mercy if they are religious? With the contention above, this analysis shall focus on the last two lines of Gloria’s romantic sonnet to answer the contention. The town condemned this girl who loved too well And found her heaven in the depths of hell. These last two lines reveal the outlook of the poet about the townspeople outlook. The people of that town have a sense of destiny revealed in the last line, “And found her heaven in the depths of hell.” The poet believes through the people of that town or vice versa that defiance of the social customs and norms of such kind is unpardonable and thus, deserving hell. With this attitude towards the “scandal”, the townspeople express their unconscious fear of the Biblical Hell as the final point of destination present in the Catholic teachings and even in the famous literatures of Christian countries. Their condemnation of the girl is there way of teaching and reminding themselves of what is the consequence of their present action. They are concerned with their future. Aside from condemning they are also grieving for the destination of the girl’s soul. The immorality the girl commits as said in the poem, “Her soul’s cathedral burned by his desires.” The girl’s morality has been destroyed by the man she sleeps with or on the time she sleeps with that man. Here, we are reminded of Dante Alighieri’s Francesca da Rimini whose lust sends her to the Second Circle of Dante’s Inferno. The poem started with the word “sacrilege,” which means “gross irreverence toward a hallowed person, place, or thing.” With the poet’s usage of that influential word, the reader is directed to a certain understanding that suggests the magnitude of the central matter in the story---the scandal. Furthermore, the word gives us an image of worried people. Such is suggested by this part of the poem, “…the neighbors cried…” Such immense emotion expressed by the townspeople implies further the gravity of the situation. This worrying manifests their worrying for their destination and more for the girl’s destination. The traits, conducts, attitude and traditions of every society are guided by something. In this case, fear of Hell is what guides the whole framework of this society. Moreover, these social and religious outlooks manifest Filipinos being religious persons. They look at the profane world to be hints in discovering the sacred and thus their God. They are religious as they choose to proceed on seeing the
spiritual dimension of the profane cosmos they belong to. A noted philosopher once said that the sacred is to be approached only with fitting seriousness. This explains the town’s condemning the girl. It is to show that the situation (scandal) is never a matter to be taken lightly as it involves the soul’s salvation and above all the Sacred. With this, Soledad is successful in telling people that some mistakes, errors and sins deserve forgiveness, but, not all. Sin separates man from God. It detaches man from the social mainstream. Look at the rapist and murderers. Soledad as a poem and art tell you that sin and defiance from set customs have a consequence---loneliness or solitude (soledad in Spanish).
Manalang-Gloria’s Soledad tells the situation of the poem’s namesake in which she engages in a sexual affair that condemns her not just in hell, but also in the place where she lives in. Based on the year in which the poem was written or published, Manalang-Gloria tackles the issue of the sacredness of a woman’s virginity. Since around the 1930s, the Catholic faith continued to influence its community with its strict faith regarding the sexual act before marriage, a woman who is at least assumed to have had a sexual affair with a man who is not her husband is immediately shun by the community. However, in this poem, Manalang-Gloria humanizes the situation of Soledad and shows the frailty of human beings when tempted, and the irony that occurs when a person does not think twice about what he or she is about to do. The irony in the poem is revealed in the first three lines of the last stanza: But no one guessed that loveliness would claim / Her soul’s cathedral burned by his desires, / Or that he left her aureoled in flame. . . – which is that there are men who only desire the physical and sexual features of a woman, and after when he has gotten what he had longed for, leaves her to suffer alone in the consequences of their action (still pertaining within the context of the Catholic faith towards premarital sex). The name, “Soledad,” is actually means solitude or loneliness in the Spanish language. Because of this name choice, it should be taken note that Manalang-Gloria did not simply pick out a name to write as the poem’s subject matter, rather, she had carefully thought about it in relation to the message she is trying to convey in this piece. Condemned by those who advocate the strict dogma of the Catholic faith, and left alone by the man whom she had given her entire being to, but had left her right after accomplishing his goal, Soledad faces her fate alone “in the depths of hell”. Note: This interpretation of the Manalang-Gloria’s “Soledad” was inspired by this blog page. ---\
"In the first line three lines of the poem, it mentioned of the breaking of a window. That act was considered by the people as a sacrilege, a violation of a sacred building, or stealing, misuse or destruction of a sacred object, then, giving us the imagery of a sacred ground being forcefully broken into by the woman with the man. This was described as "some insane moments with him." This is something improper for a woman to do, especially of her personality because she was "a woman carved from pride."
By the lines "why she dared profane the bread and wine of life for some insane moments with him," further gave justification of the prior assumption that she is doing something that she can't possibly do before and now she was able to commit such an act because of a man, a firebrand. This also shows that the people were curious of what had become of her, why she has done it and what caused her to change. Also, by the line "bread and wine of life," the poem is telling of place where these sacred objects were kept. "
Isang sakrilehiyo, sigaw ng mga kapitbahay, Kung paano niya binasag ang bawat liníb Upang papasukin ang suwail. Hindi nila maarok Kung paanong ang babaeng hinubog ng dangal At nakasilid sa kristal na pangarap ay iwinaksi Ang kapita-pitagang panahon, o kung bakit Tinalikdan ang buhay na hitik sa alak at tinapay Para sa sandaling kabaliwan sa piling ng lalaki. Hindi naupos ang alingawngaw ng eskandalo. Ngunit walang nakakutob sa kariktang matatamo Ng katedral ng kaniyang kaluluwa na pinaliliyab Ng pagnanasa ng binata, o iniwan siya ng lalaking Nakasilid sa awreola ng apoy . . . Nang walang makita kundi ang mga aguhang sunog, Isinumpa ng bayan ang dalagang umibig nang lubos At nabatid ang kaniyang langit sa pusod ng dilim.
The Philippine Perspective on Catholicism: A Critical Essay on "Soledad" Angela Manalang-Gloria's "Soledad" exhibits how the Filipino society abides by the doctrine of the Catholic religion. Filipinos' reactions and views are indications of their being religiose. Based on the year that the sonnet was written or issued, it is evident that Manalang-Gloria discusses the case of the "sacredness of the woman's virginity". Around 1930's, due to its stringency, the Catholic religion persisted to govern over the people (Braceros, 2011). In the sonnet, the society's views and traditions are gauged by their fear of purgatory, their fear of the Biblical hell, which reflects that Filipinos are much influenced by the customs of their religion. When a Catholic woman is presumed to have had a sexual affair with someone not her husband, the public will shun her forthwith. The community finds out about a scandal where a girl from their town is involved. To have discovered that the girl had engaged in premarital sex shocked the people in the town for she is described to be well brought up, to be "so carved from pride and glassed in dream". In the last two
lines of the poem, it is seen that the town condemns the girl. The town, being Catholics believes that this act is immoral and thus, deserves the punishment of hell. With their reaction and view towards the issue, it discloses their insensible fear in the hell that the Bible speaks of. Manalang-Gloria started the poem with "sacrilege", which means "unholiness" or "blasphemy", making it clear that the scandal or the act was indeed serious. Manalang-Gloria showed in the sonnet that the said immoral act should never be taken leniently since it takes into account the deliverance of the Catholics; it reflects that the religion must be taken seriously. This explains why the town condemned the girl. Basically, the tones of Angela Manalang-Gloria's account, bearing in mind the background during her times, clearly enhances upon readers the very rigid and doctrinal times of the Philippines. From the disdain over premarital affairs and the fear of a Biblical hell, the piece affirms our facets of our society that still manifest itself to this day.
The poem “Soledad” speaks about a woman from a high class society (based from the words carved from pride and glassed in dream meaning she is taken raised carefully with big dreams form the parents and much expectation from the daughter) who gets to lose her chastity / virginity from a trouble maker from a lower class man (can be inferred from the words to let a firebrand in, she dared profane the bread and wine of life for some insane moment with him). A lot of words from the poem was taken from the Christian context to symbolize the “holiness” of virginity and how unholy of the woman when she dared to lose it especially since the poem was written a long time ago during those times, virginity was a sacred thing to take care of and was not widely accepted in the society. Everyone condemned the woman.
Like most of the poems Angela Manalang-Gloria writes, “Soledad” is able to tackle a social challenge that a woman would face for defying the customs of the society. The persona narrates the story of a girl who is condemned for violating a sacred idea of the culture. She gives-up her virginity to a man does not compare to her social status, suggested by the second and third line. The shattered pane representing her virginity and the firebrand is used as a falic symbol, and also represent the working class of the society. The second part of the sonnet is where the twist comes in. The girl starts to talk about her feelings toward her actions. In the latter part of the poem she is said to cherish what she did. The poem is successful in stagger the social class in that time. The girl finding heaven in solitude is outrageous.
The sonnet "Soledad" tells us about a lady in a high class (considering the lines "To understand how one so carved from pride And glassed in dream could have so flung aside") who has committed a sin. This is because she lost her virginity or chastity with a lower class man (The way she shattered every mullioned pane To let a firebrand in.). The poem describes the Filipino Society before which is being religious and conservative. During the old times, to preserve one's self is considered to be sacred. That's why when the lady, did the sin, the town condemned her. It serves as disrespect for the religion. This shows how religion is important for the Filipinos then. The persona then realizes that she
doesn't care about it and finds it happiness for her -this is shown in the line “and found her heaven in the depths of hell.”
Sacrilege-Blasphemous behaviour; the act of depriving something of its sacred character Mullioned-Of windows; divided by vertical bars or piers usually of stone Firebrand-Someone who deliberately foments trouble Flung-Throw with force or recklessness Graven-Cut or impressed into a surface Profane-Not concerned with or devoted to religion Aureoled- An indication of radiant light drawn around the head of a saint Spires- A tall tower that forms the superstructure of a building (usually a church or temple) and that tapers to a point at the top
Interpretation: Angela Manalang-Gloria’s Solidad is a sonnet and I think it actually show us the people in our community, like human behaviour that we see and observed in our daily life. Maybe during the time of Manalang the people were conservative and religious. Base on my own experience my grandmother who was already 85 years old at the present time was very strict when it regards to the interaction with the people. She always told me that never joined the company of the boys because other people might think you don’t have delicadeza and then when I got annoyed I answered her “sauna raman to la uy! Okay raman makipag amigo ug lalaki, amigo ra bitaw nah…..” then when I was youngthere were times that she always brought me to church always wearing longs saya or bistida and I got sad because I have to obey here and so I was different among the children of my time. So now maybe I can see the scenario of here time. The first stanza was talking directly about sacrilege like they pointing her to be a sinner. It might be her neighbour warning her. Doing things against the will of God, something like that
In the poem the townspeople discovered scandalous deeds that include a girl from their place. The girl is described to be in a well state in life like she might be come from a noble family proved by the line “one so carved from pride and glassed in dream.” In the 7th line it seemed that her sin was being said but not directly, possibly it might be because she never concerned with her religious belief that is why she sacrificed maybe the sacredness of marriage to a one insane moment(which might be engaging some wrong actions with the man which was
addressed in the poem as “him”. I think due too that scandal, the people around in her community judge her and looked at her as a dirty woman, and might be thinking how she did everything even she all had the richness. In the last two line “The town condemned this girl who loved too well and found her heaven in the depths of hell.” Even she has all the pride and richness maybe she still seek for love. But then it only brought her to condemnation and though she fulfils her desires she might have only the temporary happiness, because its not true love and it was just bodily pleasure they had attained. So it was just a little heaven here on earth but it brought her soul to spiritual depth.
Abad reports that this poem was written by Manalang-Gloria for her best friend in college, Soledad Lacson (sister of the then would-be Manila major, Arsenio). Soledad was said to have been smitten with her teacher in Spanish Poetry, Manuel Bernabe. Learning of Soledad's infatuation, her mother forced her to quit school and brought her back to their hometown of Silay, Negros Occidental (389). The poem is a variation of the sonnet form with iambic pentameter lines following an abba abba cdcd ee rhyme scheme and the octet-sestet proposition-resolution structure. The poem's subject matter is a presumably unmarried woman who becomes the town's social pariah because she invited a man unchaperoned into her house. The opening octet presents the situation from the neighbors' perspective: "It was a sacrilege, the neighbors cried." Her action was considered by her neighbors as scandalous: "[the] way she shattered every mullioned pane / [to] let a firebrand in." While the octet begins with the neighbors' judgment, the last part of line 3 also shows how they "[they] tried in vain / [to] understand" how such a woman from such a social stratum--presumably rich and cultured--could allow herself to be brought down by some indiscretion. The succeeding sestet is divided into two parts, marked off by the rhyming pattern. The quatrain of cdcd presents the volta or turn in the 9th line, connecting the octet with the sestet by way of explanation: "But no one guessed that loveliness would claim...." It is also in the sestet that the poem presents the paradox of "soul" with "desire" (usually associated with the carnal body) by pairing this binary with the spiritual metaphors of "cathedral," "aureoled in flame." By the last two lines of the poem, the couplet, the argument is resolved with the idea that the woman after all is innocent: "The town condemned this girl who loved too well / And found her heaven in the depths of hell." Indeed, she could be considered a martyr--a victim by neighbors who, "seeing nothing but her blackened spires," convicted her in their sordid imaginings.