The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa
In this post, we will go over the short story The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa. Let’s get this ball rolling:
About the Author
Jose Garcia Villa was a poet, literary critic, short storey writer, and painter from the Philippines. In 1973, he was named National Artist of the Philippines for literature, and Conrad Aiken granted him a Guggenheim Fellowship in creative writing. He is credited with popularising the “reversed consonance rhyme scheme” in poetry, as well as the frequent use of punctuation marks, particularly commas, earning him the moniker “Comma Poet.” He wrote under the pen name Doveglion, which was derived from “Dove, Eagle, Lion” which was based on the characters he created. Another poet, E. E. Cummings, explored these animals in Doveglion, Adventures in Value, a poem dedicated to Villa.
Villa’s sardonic poetry style was deemed too violent at the time. In 1929, he wrote Man Songs, a collection of sensual poetry that the administrators at UP thought were too daring, and he was even penalised a Philippine peso for obscenity by the Manila Court of First Instance. In the same year, Villa received the Philippine Free Press magazine’s Best Story of the Year award for Mir-I-Nisa. He was also awarded P1,000 in prize money, which he utilised to travel to the United States.
He enrolled at the University of New Mexico, where he was a founding member of Clay, a mimeograph literary journal. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to do post-graduate work at Columbia University. Villa, one of the few Asians to do so at the time, had steadily gained the attention of the country’s literary circles.
Villa moved from writing prose to poetry after the publication of Footnote to Youth in 1933, and released only a few works until 1942. During the 1942 release of Have Come, Am Here, he created a new rhyming system known as “Villa defines reversed consonance as “the last sounded consonants of the last syllable, or the last main consonant of a word, are reversed for the appropriate rhyme.” Thus, a near rhyme might be run; or rain, green, reign.”
Villa introduced a literary style he coined “comma poems” in 1949, in which commas are added after each word. “The commas are an integral and essential part of the medium: regulating the poem’s verbal density and time movement: enabling each word to attain a fuller tonal value, and the line movement to become more measured.” he stated in the prologue to Volume Two.
Villa worked in New York as an associate editor for New Directions Publishing.
From 1949 to 1951, he was the director of the City College of New York’s poetry workshop, and from 1952 to 1960, he was the director of the City College of New York’s poetry workshop. He therefore quit the literary world to focus on education, first lecturing at The New School|The New School for Social Research from 1964 to 1973, and later giving poetry classes in his flat. Villa also served as a cultural attaché to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations from 1952 to 1963, and as a cultural adviser to the President of the Philippines beginning in 1968.
Jose was discovered in a coma at his New York apartment on February 5, 1997, at the age of 88, and was transported to St. Vincent Hospital in the Greenwich Village area. His death was attributed to “cerebral stroke and multilobar pneumonia” two days later, on February 7. On February 10, he was buried in St. John’s Cemetery in New York, wearing a Barong Tagalog.
Summary of The Fence
The story takes place in a desolate region where only two nipa huts can be seen from a long way away. The people who live in both houses do not get along with each other very well. They act in ways that show how far away and empty their place is. A fence keeps them from getting too close to each other.
The setting tells us what kind of people and what kind of situation they would be in. The nipa huts look desolate and empty, symbolic of how their occupants act and feel for each other.
They do not have neighbours but their need for each other seems far away and remote. Hatred rules. They are most afraid that one of them would give way. They seem to think that they need to build a fence to keep each other safe.
Hatred comes from a betrayal – when Aling Biang caught her husband with Aling Sebia, the childless widow.
Aling Biang built the fence out of rage after catching her husband with Aling Sebia and now wishes to safeguard her “properties” from the “thief”. Aling Sebia, on the other hand, built the other half of the fence as a result of the pain she felt as a result of Aling Biang’s disrespectful and frigid words toward her. The author used the fence to symbolise their mutual anger, which is why it was built by both of them, because in addition to the fence they literally built, there is also the great hatred exerted by both of their hearts, acting as a barrier that prevents them from forgiving one another.
Aling Biang couldn’t forgive. Aling Sebia, too, does not seem to be sorry as she shows the same anger and hatred as Aling Biang. The husband flees silently and never returns.He is part of the mess, but he did not solve it.
Some of the vegetable rows that used to separate the huts are dying. Because the owners are afraid that if they watered the vegetables, they would also water and care for plants from the other garden. This seems to show that they do not want to forgive and start over.
Aling Sebia is going to give birth to a child. Aling Biang is the only person who could help her. She needs to speak with her immediately. This could have been an opportunity for them to reconcile. However, even after Aling Biang assisted her, the bitterness continued unabated.
The hate is like a curse. The children of the two women get fat and ugly. The children’s qualities were influenced by their conflict. As their children grew ill and unattractive, the hatred festered like a curse. The author even employed ironies such as “the fence his mother had built and strengthened—to crush his soul. ” and the barrier’s “crushing sternness”. These ironies were used to illustrate how Iking felt about his mother’s wrath, which had been crushing him, his soul, for years. He may have been pleased if there had been no animosity between the two women. Aling Biang makes Iking hate himself, even though Iking thinks the opposite.
Iking, AlingBiang’s son, and Aling Sebia’s daughter grow up unaware of each other’s existence. They are the unwitting victims of their family strife. They, too, are condemned to a life of desolation on either side of the brutal bamboo fence. They are both physically ungifted, yet in their loneliness, they yearn for company and even friendship.
Iking takes a glance at the girl through the decaying fence one day, and his heart is captured by her. Even though she appears to be more attractive than him, his need for companionship leads him to fall for the only girl he has ever seen.
Then he notices her playing the guitar. She does not finish her notes, and Iking is impatient to hear her finish. Aling Biang tries to instil enmity in Iking’s heart, but he exhibits calm resistance.
Slowly but steadily, he becomes captivated to the music emanating from the house next door. His mother no longer sleeps next to him when he is 15. This is what he wants. He wants to be able to see and hear the guitar being played through the door. There are signs that he is getting angry, but he is still very weak.
He even begins sleeping beside the door, where he can hear the girl playing the guitar. He feels compelled to dismantle the fence, but his mother reinforces it, and finally, the guitar stops playing.
The plot then jumps forward three years to Christmas Day. Iking has become malnourished and feeble as a result of being deprived of the girl’s sight and music. Aling Biang, his mother, requests that he rest while she prays to God.
It is Christmas time. There are times when they pray, but Iking is not sure if his mother could really pray at all.
If the fence gets to her heart, he is afraid. There is no fence in his heart, though.
But Iking is only interested in hearing the guitar and goes to the fence. He speaks to the girl through the openings in the fence. He asks her to play the guitar, and she nods, as though she agrees.
He waits for the girl to respond to his subdued appeal. However, there is no music. He is concerned that the girl may harbour a grudge against him, despite the fact that he does not. Unfortunately, the boy dies at 2 a.m. before the girl can fulfil his wishes.
This time, he knows that the girl who plays the guitar is the one who does it. If he can not get the fence down, he does not want to do it. His mother, on the other hand, keeps up with the decaying stakes that had been worn down by time.
A situational irony occurred between Iking and Aling Sebia’s daughter when Iking spoke to Aling Sebia’s daughter for the first time; it was also the final time, While Iking waits for the music, he begins to lose hope and considers the possibility that, unlike him, the girl harboured no ill will or hatred. This means that you have the option of living a life of hatred or not. And “as the moon descended” alluded to his heartbeat steadily diminishing. He died without a trace of fury in his heart, with an ear anticipating but never receiving music.
The guitar played as though in lament for Iking’s demise, but Aling Buang viewed it as a joke. She stood and gazed accusingly to the other side, but saw nothing except the stately white fence that symbolises her hatred. When she stares at her neighbour, she is overcome with hatred.
Iking death does not make her heart any kinder. The fence is still strong.
Thus, the author asks us to comprehend the ramifications of creating hatred in our hearts. I believe that the author of this storey is speaking omnisciently in the third person. He was well aware of every detail that should have been reserved for the two women alone.
Theme of The Fence
The author demonstrates the implications of hatred in our daily lives. The story’s primary theme is hatred. Hatred is a strong hatred or malice. While the author was able to convey to us the intensity of the two characters’ animosity for one another, he also wishes to convey to us that hatred should not be something we grow and nourish in our hearts. This is something that would devastate us, our life, and those around us. Why would you waste your time hating someone to death when you could have gone on and lived a happy life? As the proverb goes, we only have one life, and hatred is not anything worth wasting a lifetime on.
Questions and Answers
Q. What is the subject in the fence by Jose Garcia Villa?
Answer: The moral of Jose Garcia Villa’s storey The Fence is that it is important to forget the past and forgive other people. If you do not forgive, you can not make things right. When you are angry or revengeful, you keep the flames going by being angry or sad.
Q. What does the fence represent in the story the fence by Jose Garcia Villa?
Answer: The nipa huts appear dismal and abandoned, which reflects their occupants’ behaviour and feelings for one another. They have no neighbours, but their dependence on one another appears remote and distant. The fence represents the barriers that separate even the closest friends, family, and relatives.
Q. What kind of woman is Aling Biang in the story the fence?
Answer: Aling Sebia was a childless widow who exhibited no remorse or shame for her acts. Aling Biang’s spouse fled after his misdemeanour was discovered, and his wife did not attempt to stop him.
Q. What was the story about the fence?
Answer: Once upon a time, there was a small child who possessed an uncontrollable temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and instructed him to pound a nail into the back of the fence if he lost his temper. After a few days, the young boy was finally able to inform his father that all the nails had been removed.
Q. How does the story the fence ended?
Answer: The storey concludes on a terrible note. Iking is frail and emaciated as a result of being deprived of the girl’s sight and music. Aling Biang, his mother, requests that he rest while she prays to God. Iking, on the other hand, is just interested in hearing the guitar and proceeds to the fence. He whispers to the girl through the fence’s slits.
Q. What is the summary of the fence?
Answer: The storey takes place in a deserted area where only two nipa huts can be seen from a long way away. The people who live in both houses do not get along with each other very well. They act in ways that show how remote and empty their place is. A fence keeps them from getting too close to each other.
Q. Can you infer what does Aling Sebia feels about Aling Biang?
Answer: Aling Sebia does not seem to be sorry as she shows the same anger and hatred as Aling Biang. The husband did not flee without saying anything and never came back. He is part of the mess, but he did not fix it.