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KU ENGL 102 - “My Father Goes To Court” Formalistic Approach

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Julie Ann F. Alemios BAEL 2C“My Father Goes To Court” Formalistic Approach“My Father Goes To Court” was written by Carlos Sampayan Bulosan, an English-language Filipino novelist and poet who spent most of his life in the United States. It was about the two families and how their lives were lived. The poor family was living happily and healthy while on the other hand, the rich family who was living without social life. It was narrated by a boy whose age was 4 years old at that time. The story was set in a city in the Philippines. His father’s farm became a total wreckage due to the sudden Philippine flood which made him and his family live in town even though he preferred to live in the country. They had a next door neighbor who was definitely a rich man with sons and daughters that barely comes out of their house. While the boy and his siblings play and laugh under the sun, the rich man’s children stayed inside and kept the windows closed. Everything went well not until this rich man filed a complaint against the narrator’s family saying that they had been stealing the rich man’s family’s wealth and food. The case went to the court. While they were in court, the narrator’s father said that he would pay back the rich neighbor. He does so by collecting coins from all his friends present. Then he shook the hat full of coins. Being charged to pay for the spirit of food which his family got from its smell, he maintained that the jingling of the coins was a fair equivalent. The judge ruled the case in the poor father’s favor, and the rich man is forced to depart with no other payment than the “spirit” of the money that the poor man collected.“My Father Goes to Court” points to the economic divide between the rich and poor. The rich man in thestory grew envious of the narrator’s family and his family’s ability to procure a healthy life despite struggling in poverty by enjoying spending time under the sun sharing laughter. The story also serves as the beginning parable on how the author learned to stand up for what he believed in, in the same way the narrator’s father defended himself in court. Bulosan, the author, as an adult would use his voice to advocate for labor rights and bring Filipino American visibility through his writings. The story became famous not just here in the Philippines but also in other countries internationally. It is because of its humorous way of showing us the problems that the Filipino families are currently experiencing. Poverty is very rampant most especially in the Philippines and how it is to live in poverty was greatly emphasized in the story. The author made a creative way of showing the readers of his story the content of it through using the “spirit of the food” and the “coin” to show the poor family’s hidden voice and plea. The author uses characters that are known in real life such as the rich man that represents the people that criticizes the poor and the father of the boy who represents the needy and financially challenged people who uses their brain and knowledge to survive. Carlos Bulosan used eventsthat really happened in the setting such as the wreckage of the poor family’s farm because of the Philippine flood that destroyed their properties. Last 2009, the typhoon Ondoy was the second most devastating tropical cyclones that happened in the Philippines that destroyed a lot of properties in the near provinces and cities which is very similar to the event that happened in the story. The extreme emotion while reading the part where the rich man was keeping an eye to the family while enjoying the aroma of his food as if he was condemning them was very inconsiderate. The rich man’s personality can be easily derived using this action he gave, he’s being condescend. A lot of people hate that personality because people like such are boasting their wealth knowing that the poor ones cannot achieve that kind of material things.The story shows us that being rich and wealthy isn’t measured by how much money and assets you got but true wealth is seen in manners and contentment. Rich people in reality are (not all) very boastful towards their properties but nonetheless, poor families such as the family in the story are striving to get 3 meals a day and fits in to the smell of the food of rich people to feed their hungry stomach. It makes me sad to imagine that people like these experience accusations and criticisms for something they did not intend to


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