When we hear Jose Rizals name, what usually comes into our mind? Maybe for an average people like us, we usually say that hes the one who wrote the El Filibusterismo and the Noli Me Tangere, that he died for our country and that he is our National hero. We can notice that these definitions that we always say about Rizal is only one-dimensional. Most people do not even bother to know more about him, to discover whats beyond his heroic side.
But now that we have a lot of sources in our time, and with the help of those biographers who dedicated their time in trying to dig up about Rizals life, we have been enlightened to know more about our history and his story.
Reading through the two books, we have discovered a lot of things about Rizal, it tells us that there is something more than just memorizing his siblings, the date and time on when he died and other irrelevant things that is not necessary to know.
What is good about these books is that, they have different ways in portraying Rizal. In Coates book, he shared how perfect Rizal is, and how ideal he is being a nationalist. Meanwhile, Leon Guerrero showed the realistic side of Rizal wherein he tells us, that just like any other normal person, Rizal is also a human being who commit mistakes, being deeply flawed and conflicted because of some circumstances and his reactions to some incidents that ascend his emotion in advocating nationalism.
We can notice that the authors have different perspectives about Rizal, adding the fact that the one has foreign blood that runs into his veins, but gave his effort in researching about Rizal, and the one who understand his subject and has an advantage to other biographers because of his experiences and efforts in studying about Rizal. Both books gave us the emotion of wanting to have changes in our society. The people chose Rizal because it was him who lifted the hearts of his generation, and who is enshrined by the Nation and Republic he made.
However, just like other stories it isnt always about his heroism but his flaws. The retraction controversy haunted Rizal up to his grave. It remains alive even today. The retraction that was published in newspaper and pamphlets had brought a lot of discussions and debates. It alleged that Rizal retracted his past deeds such as his personal principles written in his poems and his novel and returned to the Catholic fold on the last day of his life. There’s a lot of questions lie on the document. Up to this day, Rizal’s biographers and historians doubted Fr. Balguer’s account for he is the only source of proof. The authenticity of the document itself has been questioned by various reason, though there are some publications which believed in his retraction. The thought that his body was not given into his family as requested nor was he given a decent Catholic burial tickles the mind of suspicion. However, at the end of the day, it’s our own decision and perspective, if what direction of the sea we will choose to sail. His cliff hanged story leads into different ends. Which story you’ll choose to end it?
What is important in reading these two books, is knowing the impacts of the Life and works of Rizal in our own self and especially in our own society. By initially reflecting on his actions and what he has done to make us inspire to love our nation. In analyzing these books, it gave us an understanding on the reason of his actions in dealing his experiences in life. With his two novels it helps us to use this as an instrument to open our minds especially in the history in our past to relate it in our society and to better improve ourselves to become worthy citizens in our country.