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Noli Me Tangere: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 18 (Souls in Torment)


Summary:
The day sparks up with rumors that Friar Salvi is ill.  It is All Souls' Day, and the streets are filled with people talking about plenary indulgence and all other religious practices and beliefs relating to the holiday.  Sisa makes her way to the convent to fetch her son Crispin.  She is told that the boy is not there; that the little thief had stolen even more from them, and then made a run for it.  Sisa breaks down in tears.

Points of Note:
In this chapter, Rizal points out yet again all of the many irrational and superstitious practices that consume as if devouring the event of All Souls.  It can be sensed in the writing that the author keeps a tenuous thread of indignation while describing all of it in detail.

That morning, almost everyone notices Friar Salvi's bizarre behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: What are some of the some of the practices described by Rizal with a tone of amusement and indignation?
Answer: Rizal wonders how the friars are able to count and determine the number of plenary indulgences needed by the suffering souls in purgatory in order to earn forgiveness.  And if it is true that confession, offering, holding mass, and prayers are all that is needed to save those poor souls, then it would mean that only the departed who have well-off relatives will be able to earn salvation since in every movement within the church, money is involved.  This is the exact opposite of what is said in the Holy Bible, "It is difficult for a rich man to enter heaven."

Question: What happened to Crispin?
Answer: It is not clearly stated in the chapter what exactly happened to the boy.  However, Rizal builds up the story by leaving hints suggesting that Crispin was already dead.

Question: What could have entered Sisa's mind that made her change her pace and walk briskly away from the convent?
Answer: She might have been planning to go back home, hoping that Crispin was there waiting for her.

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