Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere


José Rizal

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Noli Me Tangere: Chapter 29 Summary & Analysis

On the last day of San Diego’s festival, Don Filipo and Old Tasio discuss how absurd it is that the town has spent so much money on celebrations. Tasio urges Filipo to resign from his post as deputy mayor because the mayor is controlled too much by Father Salví. Meanwhile, the church fills up for the festival’s concluding high mass. Unfortunately, it seems as if Father Dámaso, the featured speaker, may be unable to preach due to a slight congestive illness. As people flood the streets on their way to the church, a young woman carries a baby that, upon seeing Father Salví, says, “Pa…pá! Papá! Papá!” Onlookers witness this and snicker to one another, winking, and Salví blushes. Rizal notes: “But the people were mistaken. The priest didn’t even know the woman, who was a stranger.”
Although Rizal refutes the otherwise very strong implications that Father Salví rapes or otherwise engages sexually with the townspeople, the mere inclusion of this scene—in which a baby calls him Papá—is certainly intended to raise suspicions regarding how Salví might abuse his power. Combined with the knowledge that Salví inappropriately lusts after María Clara, this moment solidifies the notion that he is an unsavory man. Indeed, the fact that he blushes when the baby calls him Papá indicates that, even if he’s not this child’s father, he clearly has a guilty conscience.
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