The Philippines is known as the only English-speaking country in Asia. This reputation makes the country assume to be close to the English-speaking world, most especially the United States. The close cultural and familial ties with the US have perhaps made other people expect that the Filipino culture and society be highly associated with American culture and literature. A fairly well-known American short story writer is Flannery O’Connor. Her stories have been mainstream fodder for the literature classroom and it is no surprise that in some English literature courses in the Philippines, a selection of her short stories have been studied. It is expected that Filipino students can easily understand her stories since there is a common culture shared with the US. Aside from this, since O’Connor is Catholic, many of her themes are of a religious, and even more so, Catholic nature. However, the experience of this study shows that the assumption of connectedness can be placed in question. The study describes the teaching approach and methodology used in the classroom. Discussion experiences are enumerated while responses to her stories are collected. The feedback gained from student responses reveal that in the classroom where her works are exclusively taught, there is a wide gap in understanding the deeper meaning of her stories. The question that can be asked here is if there is true connectedness or alienation between Filipino and American culture since a canonical American writer’s works seem to be disjointed from the Filipino student’s experiences. Further research can compare the experiences between a literature classroom devoted to a Western writer and one of a local writer.
Jose Marcelino Nicdao, University of Asia & the Pacific, Philippines
Stream: Arts & Humanities
This paper is part of the ACAH2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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