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Noli Me Tangere: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 63 (Christmas Eve)

Basilio returns to San Diego to look for his mother, Sisa.  This search ends in the forest of the Ibarras, where Sisa dies shortly after recognizing her son.  Minutes later, a weak and wounded Elias arrives and orders Basilio to cremate the two bodies (Elias's and Sisa's).

Points of Note:
In this chapter the readers catch a glimpse of the characters that will be leading the El Filibusterismo, sequel to Rizal's Noli.

The town of San Diego now has a new parish priest and a new alferez.

This is one of the saddest chapters in the entire novel.  Basilio reunites with his mother but the two of them do not even get a chance to speak with each other.  And it was Christmas Eve.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Who killed the head sacristan?
Answer: Elias.

Question: So is the man who arrives at the forest and tells Basilio to cremate his body and that of the boy's mother?
Answer: Elias.

Question: Explain Elias's statement: "I shall die without seeing the dawn break upon my motherland.   You, who shall see it, salute it!  Do not forget those who have fallen during the night."
Answer: When Elias says he does not see the dawn, he means that he shall leave the world without seeing his motherland change for the better, or grasp her long-aspired freedom.  However, for those who do taste that freedom, it would only be right for them to remember those who died to make sure that the sun did rise over the nation.


  1. Why do you think Jose Rizal killed Elias(a noble, a patriot) instead of Crisostomo Ibarra?

  2. It appears that although Elias was no doubt a more noble character than Ibarra, who started a revolution for selfish intentions, Rizal considered the latter to be a more important personality in the book. Thus, he killed off Elias instead of Crisostomo Ibarra. We must note, however, that Rizal eventually repented this turn of events in the story, saying, "I'm sorry I have killed Elias instead of Crisostomo Ibarra. But when I wrote the Noli my health was very bad and I never believe I could write the continuation and talk about the revolution. Otherwise, I would have preserved the life of Elias, a noble character, a patriot, unselfish and self-sacrificing, the necessary qualities for a man to lead a revolution, while Crisostomo Ibarra was an egoist who decided to provoke a rebellion only when he was injured through his property, his person, his love and all that he held sacred. Success cannot be expected for the enterprise of a man like that."

    ... Then again, if Ibarra had died, Rizal wouldn't have had a Simoun for his second novel.


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