“May Day Eve” by Nick Joaquin: Novel Review

1 January 2018

Today’s special short novel review is all about the May Day Eve written by the one and only Nick Joaquin. The short story, May Day Eve, carefully and brilliantly depicted the status Filipino women had during in the past. In this still seemingly patriarchal world, we are somehow forced to believe that men are superior and that women are just subordinate to men. This ideology was even more highlighted in the past, where women were totally deprived of the necessary rights that men had always enjoyed. In the story, the vital issue of marriage, wherein women are forced to marry men, was particularly portrayed.

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Women had lost the capacity to decide and fulfill their own desires, making their lives almost meaningless. Agueda in the story had died miserably because her life was molded into something she didn’t wish. She was forced to marry don badoy montiya because the latter had a tremendous desire for her. Her whole life was spent grieving for the situation she can’t escape.
Perhaps this was because the premise of their love was based only on raging passion and nothing more. Passion, after all, is evanescent and transitory. Love cannot be based on passion alone. Their contrasting attributes perhaps were what brought them together. But it could also have been the root of the bitterness that concluded their time together.

That short story “May Day Eve” was all about hasty decisions, most specifically on trusting in superstitions. Superstitions can lead to many kinds of paths. It can be harmful or not. They can lead to big mistakes such as marriage like what Badoy and Agueda had. Nick Joaquin was able to teach his readers a lesson on superstitions. Superstitions are not always necessarily true. I admire him because through a simple story he was able to say a lot. He also made a two-fold ending. For Voltaire, it was not difficult since he stopped believing in the superstition. For Badoy, it wasn’t easy for he grieved and regretted for his marriage with Agueda.

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