Authors: RHODORA G. MAGAN
Women of modernist propensity have become tremendously invaded by the spotlight. Their comings and goings remain the endearing aspects of their existence so that the world finds itself either glorifying or frowning upon any quality associated with them. In the Philippines women continue to be tailored fit for the traditions that society has built which makes them highly vulnerable to changing paradigms such as the linguistic phenomenon.
Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard’s language is ravishingly sophisticated yet elegant ; artistically liberated but sincere. Plunging herself into the intricate thoughts that connect three powerful women in this war novel, Brainard exposes her brilliant prowess of wielding language structures in recreating the classic embodiment of independence and controversy in three generations of women. The varying tones and degrees of their experiences are all weaved into a distinctive fabric that redefines woman such that from the biblical archetype it proceeds to have taken the role of a “real” character accessorized by the whims of the dawning of another civilization.
This study assumes that the linguistic repertoire that has always been seen as erratically evolving in the course of time breeds the novel’s oriental symbol and style. The employment of linguistic and literary theories, Sapir-Whorf and New Historicism respectively, delineates the inextricable facets of language and literature. Both seek to establish the necessary ground for proving the vital role of codes or signifiers in reinventing a dimension ---a simulacrum--- that transcends the original.
Baudrillard (qtd. in Cole 1) banks on reality as but a “concept” sustained by the continuous flow of rationality to support Heidegger’s claim (qtd. in Arfken 34) on the “multiple interpretations” as inevitable being the fundamental condition of human existence. Thus, the simulacrum has all the characteristics that one assigns to it by virtue of his own perceptions, interpretations and logical processes. Cecilia’s attempt in her narrative can be understood as coming from her own navigation of social reality. This, as Hoffmann (16) asserts, is the means of attaining liberation from oppressive traditions and ideologies. This is where Sapir and Whorf’s tenet come into play. Linguistic relativity not only becomes the means to acquiring the desire to be free but is in itself the best way out. Reinventing being tantamount to innovating makes a vivid representation of how language operates on a personal level.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis capitalizes on culture in understanding one’s language. The arbitrary condition that surrounds the speaker-receiver or agent-patient transaction is contingent to many factors included in the set of beliefs, practices, and traditions. Unilateral talks are now held inconsistent with what the theory calls for.
Therefore, analyzing the narrative in this study, likewise, demands for a semi-objective approach which can only be fulfilled through the lens of New Historicism. Linguistic structures are subjected in such a way that outside factors may largely influence the meaning of the text itself. It is not ultimately the text that interprets itself as opposed to formalism. And since the text is the product of a particular culture, then in itself is the set of ideologies that are no way similar to that of the reader’s.
In the process the plurality of simulacrum establishes different waves of transcendence with which particular characters gain and regain decisive roles . In the grand scheme of life, language is the gateway through which literature can be perceived as either the inimical or innocuous incarnation of codes which Guerin et al. (106) believes to have an integral purpose of engaging the world of value outside the text.
Keywords: Women liberation, Linguistic bias, Segmented reality, Linguistic implacability