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The Bread of Salt By: NVM Gonzales

“Life is not easy, Sometimes it seems to be so unfair and awful” “Too ironic because to be happy, one must feel pain .”

by : bochins.

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by : bochins.




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Bread of Salt: A masterpiece

This literary masterpiece was written in 1958.

Published by the University of Washington Press & the University of the Philippines Press both in the same year 1993.

This is a powerful collection, both for the unity and universality of the author's subjects and themes and for the distinctive character of N.V.M’s prose style .

The stories in this book collection explore this rich vein at several levels, exiled from the old ways without the guidance of new traditions.

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The story is about a teenage boy who buys pandesal or “bread of salt” because of its wonderful flavor. Every day he walks by the house of the old Spaniard’s niece Aida whom the boy liked. He could follow her everyday to school. He would also think about how he would confess his feelings for her during classes. He joins Pete S aez ’ private band Minviluz Orchestra. One of the reasons he joined was to save money to buy a brooch for Aida. Also it was his dream to be a violinist. Though his aunt did not want him to pursue his passion. One night when the band was performing the boy did something embarrassing that Aida saw. Embarrassed he walked out in shame. He was probably thinking that because of what he had done. There is no chance for Aida to like him back. Pete led him home and passes by baker’s on the way. They ordered pandesal but the bread was still not ready.


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Main Idea of the Story

Why the story revolves in the title itself? Because it all started when he was buying pandesal every morning in the bakery near the great Spanish house where his mestiza classmate Aida lived and where he begun to fall in love with Aida , also it was somehow like an awakening for the boy to go back to the real world. Where families of his class mostly buy the bread of salt or more commonly known as the pandesal , for breakfast. What is the one general idea? The general idea in the story is face the reality because in the last line of the story the author said " the bread was not yet ready " so it means that the bread symbolizes the boy . He was not yet ready to face the real world because he was still young to understand life's challenges. One of the example is his dream of being together with Aida and being professional Violinist but would not be happen in the future. He accepts the things that may not be happen but that he did not realize that God has a better plan for him because he was still young.

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Moral Lessons

What are the moral lessons of the story? - While it is alright to dream, a person should still at least weigh the circumstances and the possibilities set upon the foundation of that dream. In other words, reality should be in constant check, whether a person is just fantasizing improbable future events or not . - Face the reality and accept the fact that not all dreams will come true, because God already planned our life and we could do NOTHING to change that . - People shouldn’t be afraid to be judged, because that’s just how it is. Being judged is normal and yes it hurts. Society slaps people with judgment, but that’s okay, as long as you don’t change who you are for the society .

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Key Points

What are the key points of the story? - The Bread of Salt shows how society or situations open to a realization beyond purity and innocence of intentions. Life, in its purest and most significant form should be regarded as an experience of waking up from one’s untold, internal realities to face what lies ahead – what really lies ahead. Social, intellectual, and physical differences may be bitter setbacks against an individual’s ambition or dreams yet reality has always been this harsh . - The starring Filipino element of the story was the pandesal . This is an illusion that portrays the violinist doing the errands – a tradition of young Filipinos sent each morning to the bakery to buy pandesal for the family's breakfast. The Bread of salt is about coming to real life – waking up from a long night's fantasy (his love for Aida). - Just like other “coming of age” literature, The Bread of Salt shows how society or situations open the gate of realization to a young soul whose innocence was guarded by purity and naïveté.

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Elements of Fiction

Setting (Time and Place) Characters Theme Point of View and Conflict 1930's Philippines Fourteen year-old boy Simple routine in life First person narrator Bakeshop Grandmother Love between Social status Man vs. Society Don Esteban's House Aida Acceptance and Perseverance Man vs. Circumstances School Mr. Custodio Street Josefina Alicia Pete Saez

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Elements of Fiction

Plot Rising Action: When the fourteen year old boy started to learn and master playing violin. Conflict: (Man vs. Society, Man vs. Circumstances) When his aunt doesn’t support him to perform in public or parties because the musicians are the last to eat during parties. Climax: When Aida caught him packing some of the food in the party. Falling action: When the fourteen year old throw away the food that he packed. Resolution: The boy realized that like a pandesal he is still not yet ready to face reality.

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A bout the Author

"Literature is an affair of letters ,” – N.V.M Gonzales BIOGRAPHY September 8, 1915 (Romblon, Romblon ) Teacher , Author, Journalist and an Essayist studied at NU, Manila his forte depicts the life of the Filipinos wrote 14 books & received 35 awards . WORKS & CAREER wrote for the Philippine Graphic & later edited for the Evening News Magazine & Manila Chronicle. taught in UST, PWU and UP

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A bout the Author

Among the many recognitions he is known for, he won the First Commonwealth Literary Contest in 1940, received the Republic Cultural Heritage Award in 1960 and the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining in 1990. The awards attest to his triumph in appropriating the English language to express, reflect and shape Philippine culture and Philippine sensibility. He became U.P.’s International-Writer-In-Residence and a member of the Board of Advisers of the U.P. Creative Writing Center. In 1987, U.P. conferred on him the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, its highest academic recognition . The works of Gonzalez have been published in Filipino, English, Chinese, German, Russian and Indonesian. Gonzalez's fiction stories often follow simplistic plot lines, which can contribute to his reputation for "formless" writing. It is not often that his long fiction works have complex subplots or heavily detailed backstories. Known to fans and scholars alike simply as “NVM,” Gonzalez was revered for preserving Filipinos’ cultural roots through his short stories and other writings, which were translated into several languages. Gonzalez “appreciated his land, his people, his language, his culture, and mostly wrote about the simplicity of life .”

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