Mang Minno

8 August 2016

In “Mang Minno”, a short story within ‘Where The Elephants Dance’ by Tess U Holthe , a young boy named Roman encounters a man named Mang Minno, who is believed by the island people to be Jonah from the Bible. When Roman meets him, he wishes to learn how to catch fish, so that he can show them to his father. He thinks that all he is getting himself involved in is a method with which to gain large amounts of fish, very quickly. However, he soon finds that he is getting involved in something far more sinister. As the story progresses, it becomes clear the Mang Minno is some sort of evil entity.

However, without looking for clues as to who and what Mang Minno is, this story cannot be fully comprehended. In this short story, the antagonist, Mang Minno, displays similarities to vampires, and these similarities are important in clarifying different pieces of the story. The first information revealed about Mang Minno in the book is through rumors that are about him. One such rumor is: “that he worshiped the devil” (74). While this by itself does not really suggest that he is a devil, it does indicate that he is evil.

Mang Minno Essay Example

Another rumor is: “He had bargained his soul in exchange for money for his family” (74). This possible lack of a soul is very similar to vampires, who are also commonly described as soulless. These rumors, while not conclusive, provide evidence to build upon the case that Mang Minno might be a vampire. In Roman’s first actual meeting of Mang Minno, Mang immediately gives subtle clues as to what he is. When he talks about meeting with Roman again, he says: “Begin at the edge of the forest where the rays of the sun do not touch the ground, then call out my name” .

This is suspicious because vampires are sunlight averse. It is also one of the most straightforward clues to Mang Minno being a vampire. Another hint about Mang Minno’s true identity is what he wears on his necklace: “It was a fishbone, as big as my hand. The bone itself was thick and smooth, resembling ivory” (81). This amulet or symbol of power, combined with other clues, contributes to the possibility of his being a vampire. These clues are the most direct in the story, they take traits directly from vampire folk lore and superimpose them on Mang Minno.

Mang Minno’s attitude and aura are both also similar to that of a vampires; rather vile and dark. His aura is well illustrated with the following examples: His voice is described as having an unsettling effect on Roman: “The bitterness of his voice touched me like fingers of the dead” (81). This simile, referring to the dead, shows that Roman may subconsciously be aware of what Mang Minno is. After all, vampires are regarded as not being truly alive, but being life forces of the deceased.

Mang Minno’s eyes are described as “glowing” (90), when Roman sees him from the boat he is riding with Aurora (Mang Minno’s daughter). Mang Minno’s attitude is also illustrated by way of the disdainful comments he makes about church: In church, does it ever seem to you a kind of game? Hypocritical. Be humble, they say, yet people come in their best clothes. Give penance, yet as they close their eyes and kneel, they compare who is better dressed, the beauty of someone else’s wife, the sway of her hips, they think of anything but prayers. (96)

This attitude is vile and dark, which Roman sees. It also fits in with the accounts of Mang Minno being a devil worshiper, he would obviously be against God and churches. All of the above demonstrates Mang Minno’s striking similarities to vampires. The final “nails in the coffin” so to speak, are Mang Minno’s attempt to make Roman join him, and the method in which Roman’s grandfather and brother vanquish Mang Minno. Mang Minno wants Roman to take his amulet and replace him, which he talks about: “The darkening comes once every twenty years.

This is the only time the amulet can be transferred to the successor” (98). This relates to vampires because vampires also want to make more vampires. They don’t simply act evil, they spread evil. Near the end of the story, Mang Minno almost succeeds in transferring his amulet to Roman (103). The only thing preventing him is Roger, Roman’s brother. His actions are detailed in the story: “He was holding a crucifix and saying a different prayer, in the ancient language of the Morro people, the people of the mountains” (103-104).

It is hinted throughout the story that Roman’s grandfather knows who Mang Minno is and how dangerous he is. He collaborates with Roger to save Roman. Roger was holding the crucifix because his grandfather instructed him to, which all but guarantees that Mang Minno is indeed a vampire. These obvious references at the end of the story are important because they help the reader know that Mang Minno is a vampire, and help the reader also know what his motivations are like.

In conclusion, “Mang Minno” makes a number of allusions to vampires, which hint that the antagonist is a vampire and help define what the evil in the story is. These allusions also help clarify the reasons for events in the story: Why Mang Minno does not want to be in the sun, why he is rumored to have bargained his soul with the devil, why he invokes images such as fingers of the dead, and why he criticizes the church. Most importantly, these allusions show Mang Minno’s motivation to spread his evil, as well as explain why he was vanquished the way he was.

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