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El Filibusterismo: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 38 (Fatality)

Summary:
The soldiers escort a group of prisoners.  Suddenly, they are ambushed.  Carolino, one of the civil guards, is the long-lost son of Cabesang Tales.  He fights the bandits bravely and fiercely, finishing off the leader of the thieves with a spear, and killing an old man who is part of the group.  He surveys the dead, and realizes that the old man he had killed is in fact Tandang Selo, his grandfather.

Points of Note:
Siberia in Russia hand long been the place where convicted felons were thrown out and punished.  According to Rizal, the cold Russian climate is an even more effective punishment than what is given to those captured by the civil guards – walking around the searing hot ground chained and without footwear, enduring the mockery thrown at them by passers-by.

In this chapter Rizal describes not only the dimwittedness of the civil guards, but also their cruelty towards their fellowmen.

The civil guards, apart from their leaders, are mere Filipinos.  (The people who shot Rizal are a group of Filipino soldiers).

Tano, like many others, had become one of the civil guards.  After serving in Carolinas, he joined the guardia civil.  That’s how he got his name – Carolino – which means “from Carolinas.”

This chapter is similar to the chapter “Noche Buena” in Noli Me Tangere, in terms of its underlying and predominant emotion – that of reunion after a long separation of two family members, which meets a tragic end.  This chapter is a manifestation of the irony of fate.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why did Matanglawin kill the judge in Tiyani?
Answer: This was the judge who gave away his lands to the Dominican order.

Question: Why did the civil guards subject the farmers they captured to great suffering?
Answer: According to Mautang, so that they would try to escape or fight their way out when gunshots are fired at them.

Question: Why do you suppose Rizal named this guard Mautang?
Answer: He probably has so many debts to pay.

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