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The God Stealer Essay

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The God Stealer by Francisco Sionil Jose
Character description

The main characters in “The God Stealer” are Philip Latak and Sam Cristie. Philip, also known as Ip-pig, is an Ifugao who became a Christian and lived in Manila. By becoming a city dweller, Philip became less sentimental with his cultural identity, beliefs, and customs. His name was derived from the word Philippines. On the other hand, Sam Christie was an American who wanted to view the rice terraces of the Mountain Province (also known as the Cordilleras). He was also interested in purchasing an original figurine of an Ifugao god. His name was derived from Uncle Sam, a representation of the United States. Philip and Sam were co-workers.[4].[4]

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Interpretation

Philip’s act of thievery represented the Filipinos’ giving up of their past tribal origins and traditions, only to be replaced by an “unnatural” culture brought by colonialism. At one time in history, colonialism brought to the Filipinos a state of confusion, troubled emotions, helplessness, torment, embarrassment and the inability to embrace the past.[4]

Symbolism
Philip- Philippines
Sam- American (Uncle Sam)
It is significant that Philip steals the God for Sam out of gratitude. Thus is it the Filipino gave up his most precious symbol of his past traditions to the Americans as an expression of gratitude? And by giving this symbol away, the Filipino murders his own roots. Again, we see Jose’s thesis: The colonial culture has been a negative force in the Philippine History and hence, the true Filipino is the tribal Filipino, or the poor Filipino least touched by colonial culture. Jose presents the Filipino as confused, emotionally disturbed and helpless, plagued by the fact that he repudiated his past, or that he could not do anything to help the suffering.

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