Who is Francisco Sionel Jose?
Francisco Sionil José (born 3 December 1924) is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers in the English language. His novels and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society. José’s works — written in English — have been translated into 22 languages, including Korean, Indonesian, Czech, Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian, and Dutch.
About “The God Stealer”
“The God Stealer” is a short story by Filipino National Artist F. Sionil José.
It is José’s most anthologized work of fiction. It is not just a tale about an Ifugao stealing a religious idol, but also about the friendship that developed between a Filipino and an American, a representation of the relationship that developed between the “colonized” and the “colonizer”.
The story was a first prize winner during the 1959 Palanca awards in the Philippines. It is included in the book by José with a similar title, The God Stealer and Other Stories.
Who are the main characters in the story “The God Stealer”?
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 about his cultural identity, beliefs, and customs. His name was derived from his country, the 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.
What is “The God Stealer” all about?
Philip, a Filipino boy, and Sam, an American boy went to Baguio City, where Philip was honored during a feast for his return. Unfortunately, both were irritated by the Ifugao people’s unwillingness to sell any of their prized Ifugao statues. In return, Philip planned to steal his grandfather’s god in return for a raise in salary from the Americans.
What does the story “The God Stealer” tell us?
The God Stealer tells us that colonialism, though it brought many benefits to the Philippines, also helped to create an atmosphere of confusion and turmoil.
At one time in history, colonialism brought to the Filipinos a state of confusion, embarrassment, troubled emotions, torment, helplessness, and the inability to embrace the past. Philip’s thievery represented the Filipinos’ rejection of their tribal origins and traditions, to be replaced by an “unnatural” Western culture brought by colonialism.
This was originally published on my previous website at Teacher Anele <iamteacheranele.wordpress.com>
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