21st Century Literature from the Philippines and the World
Close Reading Poem: Words by Angela Manalang Gloria
Angela Manalang Gloria is known for her works that are centered in the point of view of women since she was a feminist back then. She published a book named Poems in 1940, which contains more than 100 poems written on it. Some of her famous poems are Soledad, Revolt from Hymen, Querida, To a Lost One, and her last work Old Maid Walking on a City Street in 1950.
I never meant the words I said
But come and kiss me now a goodnight.
Going through the poem Words which was also written by Angela Manalang Gloria, we all know that words have their own meanings and how powerful it can affect a person. Not only by our mouth but also our hands and body movements can show what we want to convey to others.
This is why they say that we must choose carefully what we will say before we actually let it all out, for it will be a great impact to the people that surrounds us.
In the first stanza, the persona conveys that she never intend to blurt out the words she said to the receiver. She doesnt want the other to take it in and be affected by what she just said, because she never meant to say it in the first place.
Her mind was clouded by her emotions, not being able to assess the words before it all came out. Confessing to someone takes a lot of courage and effort to do so. Knowing the sudden change that have been done, the last line indicates that she wanted to turn the things back as it was before, just when everything is still normal.
The words I said break with the thunder
Now on the second and the last stanza of the poem, the first line adds the fact that the personas emotion during that time is so sudden like a lightning, making her voice surprising like the thunder with the words she said. With her confession, it gave a huge impact to the person, and even their treatment to each other slowly fades. A single confession can suddenly change the course of life of a person or two.
The personas deep feelings for the other, the courage to express her feelings held back the doubts lingering inside her. She took the risk, even though there is no assurance that her feelings can be returned.
A Critical Analysis Using Psychological Approach: Armor by John BenganJohn Bengan is a professor and teaches literature at the Department of Humanities in University of the Philippines Mindanao. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2011 from The New School in New York, USA. His short story, Armor, published in Likhaan 6: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature in 2012 won first prize in the 63rd Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 2013.
According to his interview by Matthew Choate on October 2013, he wrote the story out of a dare. A friend suggested that he write about a person who prepares for a beauty pageant.
In his story, the antagonist Death Squad is a group of hired gunners who goes after drug pushers, especially the shabu users or crystal meth users. We can see from the story that the suspicious bald man, who thought that Ronnie was following him, is one of the members of the said group.
This is a recurring subject on his stories, and gave it a thought of combining the two different components which are the beauty pageants and the death squad into one. Therefore, is the creation of the story Armor.
Going through the characters, the main character named Ronnie, a gay and an anti-hero who was planning to die but decided to join the beauty pageant before doing so. He is one of those people who are hunted by the Death Squad because of using shabu. Knowing that he was being chased, he already made a decision, and that is: first, to postpone his death and risk his life joining for the last time and second, for them to chase him to the very event.
Ronnie is also a symbol for the LGBT Community, especially how he portrays most of the occupation of gays here in our country and how active they are when it comes to beauty pageants. Oliver, one of the characters of the story described him as an open person where he never pretends to be like someone else. He stays true to himself and to the others. We can observe how the gays in our society simply okray other people, which is mostly for entertainment and social purposes..Biboy, was a former drug runner, under Tiago, who was killed by the famous Death Squad. The author described Biboy as a tall, handsome young man who possess a firm, agile body with long arms. He helped Ronnie to create the armor costume for the pageant. From the story, we can get the information that Biboy helped Ronnie build up his own protection and confidence, from how the society sees the LGBT Community in our time.
Oliver is the neighbor of Ronnie. From the very start, Oliver knows that Ronnie was involved in the field of drugs, but it is unknown if he is also involved in the same drug field like the main character. Since they were in college, he never fit on the group of Ronnie where they are known for their harsh bantering. Nevertheless, he warned him about his name being on the wanted list. Later on, it was revealed before the pageant that the reason why he warned Ronnie is that he saw him as a rival, hoping that it will make him afraid and leave Mintal before the pageant and win the crown.
Choate, M. (2013, November 07). Interview with John Bengan, MFA ’11, Author of “Armor”. Retrieved January 24, 2019, from