El Fili Chapter 19: The Fuse

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If the revolution is the bomb, then the fuse that will get things started is the rescue of Maria Clara. Here you will see that Simoun’s primary objective is revenge and the rescue of Maria Clara. The country and the revolution are only secondary interests of Simoun.

This chapter also features the student Placido Penitente. He is the son of Cabesang Andang, an ignorant mother who sent her son to school just so that she can proudly tell others that she has a schooled son.

Now on to the chapter questions…

Why did Placido lose the chance to ever study again? There was only one university at that time: the University of Santo Tomas. Since he got sent away from UST, where else will he go?

Why was the former professor exiled? He wanted to teach well, and thus became the target of the church and government which wanted to keep the indios ignorant.

Why did the arthritic Spaniard join forces with Simoun? He wanted to seek revenge on the frailes who sent him to jail so that they could have his beautiful wife.

Why was the revolution timetable advanced? Simoun found out that Maria Clara was dying. All the preparation and planning went down the drain because Simoun became emotional. How emotional? Here’s a clue: Simoun likened Maria Clara to the phoenix.

The phoenix is one of a kind, just as Maria Clara is the only woman for Simoun. Told you he was getting emotional. No wonder the revolution went to heck.

Why did Simoun imagine seeing the angry faces of Don Rafael and Elias? Those two were not in favor of Simoun’s methods. Don Rafael always went for doing what’s good for the country; Simoun purposely helped corrupt the very government he was trying to overthrow.

Elias was for revolution, but only if the motivation behind it involved nationalism and justice; Simoun’s motivation was revenge, dark and syrupy.

Also, Simoun was feverish. He was probably hallucinating.

What accounts for Placido’s sudden change of heart, after his mom spoke with him the following day? He was aware of the coming revolution, and he wanted to quickly send his mother back to the province. That’s why he acted as if he readily agreed with what she said; otherwise, there’ll just be a long discussion and that will keep his mom in the city longer.

Now let’s go meet Don Custodio…

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