As the town prepares for the fiesta, Captain Tiago also gears up for celebration. He speaks with Ibarra—his future son-in-law—about the school’s name, urging the young man to call it the Saint Francis School instead of the School of Primary Instruction, the name on which Ibarra has already settled. “If you call it the School of Primary Instruction,” he says, “you get nothing out of it. Who is ‘primary instruction?’”
When Tiago says that Ibarra will “get nothing out of” naming the school the School of Primary Instruction, he reveals his real reason for devoting himself to the church: to “get” something out of his affiliations. With this mentality, he completely overlooks the fact that Ibarra is trying to give rather than get. Unlike Tiago and other socialites, Ibarra wants to improve his community regardless of whether or not doing so will benefit him.
Later, as María Clara and her friends walk through town at dusk, they see a leper collecting donations from people by putting a basket down, retreating until they fill it up with money or trinkets, and retrieving it when they’re gone. Moved by the scene, María Clara steps forward and gives the leper a reliquary—a container for holy relics—and the leper bows to the ground, putting his face in her footprints to show his gratitude. As he kneels this way, Sisa approaches and touches him. She is then taken away by a soldier, chanting insane things about her lost children.
In this scene, two social outcasts come together. Estranged from her own community—and separated from her sons—Sisa’s only opportunity to engage in human connection is to make contact with a leper. In this way, Rizal again frames isolation as dangerous, since to touch a leper is to risk contracting a horrible disease.