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the air, by the light that seemed to lend an opaqueness to things so

that, for a moment, he was sure he had walked from the house

right into a dream . . . . He had a sense of event

something was

happening, had indeed already happened and there was nothing

more to be done” (Rosca, 1988: 174). After learning that they are

at war again, this time with America, Carlos Lucas said to the girls

in the house: “Pray for the men,” “and see that you a get pregnant.

As quickly as possible. We will lose a lot of human beings” (Rosca,

1988: 175). Carlos Lucas interprets the war as a crisis of

population, which requires resolution through everyday efforts on

behalf of the girls to get pregnant as quickly as possible.

While Rosca brings readers’ attention to the historical events

as affective experiences, she simultaneously emphasizes the

impossibility of the formation of history as a form of knowledge

and a record

to be passed down because changing rulers and

national languages are so overwhelming that historical memories

are constantly interrupted. The violent transition from Spanish

Catholic colonialization to American imperial conquest, from

American expeditionary force to Japanese occupation, from war to

revolution, to peasant uprising and guerrilla warfare, all of these

political upheavals seem to engulf the nation in repeated

nightmares of the state of war. One of the consequences of these

head-spinning changes of rulers and languages is the loss of

memories. Rosca expresses this concern through Maya’s mouth

when she witnesses how the American presence in Manila changes

the naming of the streets: “It was a kind of sin, certainly, to


but it was not easy to remember, especially when names

changed, languages changed. A century-old name held that century;

when replaced, a hundred years were wiped out at one stroke.

Amnesia set it; reality itself, being metamorphic, was affected”

(1988: 186). Historical amnesia, ignorance of the past, ruptured

family lineages are responsible for the characters’ repeated patterns

of behavior, duplicated fates and unresolved shames. It is as if the

characters are trapped in a time loop. As Rocio Davis observes: