The Summer Solstice by Nick Joaquin
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Donya Lupeng Moreta- long-married woman with three children
Don Paeng Moreta- the highly moral husband of Donya Lupeng
Guido- young cousin to the Moretas who studied and came back from Spain Amada- the family cook and Entoy’s wife
Entoy- the family carriage driver
The story “Summer Solstice” is set during the three days of the St. John’s festival. Lupeng, a Filipino woman who feels closed to her womanhood, is married to Paeng, who is no very loyal to her. They have three small boys and live a wealthy life as they have a carriage driver named Entoy and a maid and cook named Amada.
Guido is a cousin of Paeng’s who comes back to the Philippines after studying in Europe. The story starts when the family is enjoying the days of the St. John’s festival until Guido makes suggestive comments to Lupeng, and even bending down to kiss her feet. This makes her leave abruptly and have a discussion with her husband that night.
Lupeng found herself intrigued by the attention of Guido; she felt that he was right in saying that women should be ravished and men should adore them. This causes her to participate in the last night of the festival, which is the Tadtarin ritual. Paeng goes with her and tries to drag her back once the dancing begun, but she runs from him to the women. He tries to take her back but the women in the crowd beat him out, leaving him helpless. As the two returns home, Paeng says he must whip his wife because he loves her and feels that she needs to be put in her place. To this, she shouts and says she wants to be adored, not respected and orders him to kiss her feet.
When: the story takes place in the 1850s (the story happened in a short period of time) Where: It happened in two different locations – Moreta’s residence and the town’s plaza
St. John’s and Tadtarin Festivals – The St. John’s festival is about men and their fertility, which seems quite offensive to Lupeng and made her realize how she wishes women could be seen in the same way. While the Tadtarin festival is the exact opposite, it shows women as leaders of fertility since they are the ones who carry the children. This festival made Lupeng feel as though she is stronger than a man and deserves adoration.
The theme is that men and women during that time have superiority when it comes to gender and fertility. That men and women should just be equal individuals.
The story was narrated by a third person who acts as an observer throughout the story
Amada – When Lupeng rushes to find Amada, she sees her in a compromising position on the bed which makes Lupeng blush and feel restrained about her own sexuality. This is the first trigger for Lupeng before she announces she wants admiration.
Guido’s Speech – Guido’s speech about Lupeng’s womanhood – this was the last straw for Lupeng to finally admit to herself that she wants to be adored.