Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere

The School Symbol Analysis

The School Symbol Icon

Ibarra’s effort to build a school in the town of San Diego is the most tangible manifestation of his political views. The school is a symbol of empowerment, since education is a way to avoid succumbing to the country’s domineering friarocracy. Children like Crispín and Basilio are perfect examples of Filipinos who stand to benefit from a secular education, since their hardship is the direct result of having committed themselves to becoming sextons. If they had been offered the opportunity to attend school instead, they wouldn’t find themselves mired in the harmful lies and accusations of the church. The presence of Ibarra’s school in Noli Me Tangere also reveals the many tensions between church and state in the Philippines, considering that people like Father Dámaso and Father Salví actively interfere with the schoolmaster’s educational pursuits, while the Captain General—the most important government official on the island—adamantly supports Ibarra’s vision. And although Ibarra himself originally gains permission from the priests before building his institution, it is telling that he’s nearly murdered during the school’s benediction ceremony; this clearly illustrates that secular education poses a threat to the corrupt priests, a threat so large they feel they must murder somebody who has—for all intents and purposes—paid them the proper respect. As such, the school becomes a menace to the friars, despite the fact that it is an institution dedicated to helping and improving San Diego.

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The School Symbol Timeline in Noli Me Tangere

The timeline below shows where the symbol The School appears in Noli Me Tangere. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 24: In The Forest
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Ibarra receives a telegram during the party that says his plan to build a school has been approved. A sergeant then emerges and demands that the group of dinner guests... (full context)
Chapter 25: At the Philosopher’s House
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...his plans to reform San Diego, telling Tasio that he intends to build a new school and asking for his advice, since Tasio always helped Ibarra’s father navigate tricky situations. First,... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Revolution and Reform Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...in the borrowed clothes of error?” Still, Tasio insists that Ibarra’s plans to build a school will only be met with scorn unless he gains the approval of the church and... (full context)
Chapter 26: Festival Eve
Education Theme Icon
...before the fiesta, the town prepares itself. One of the more notable preparations involves the school, which is under construction and shaping up to be a magnificent building. The architect oversees... (full context)
Chapter 27: At Nightfall
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 32: The Crane
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
After the church service ends, everybody makes their way to the school because Father Salví is set to deliver a ceremony to bless the structure. The yellow... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
After Father Salví blesses the school, the revered Captain General says a few words before the town’s most influential members descend... (full context)
Chapter 33: Freedom of Thought
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
...said mysterious things, statements that rose Elías’s suspicions, especially because this man previously visited the school’s architect and asked to oversee the setting of the large stone, asking for very little... (full context)
Chapter 34: The Banquet
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
...build four walls and put a thatched roof on top, and then you have a school!” Ibarra tries to ignore this, and Dámaso’s subsequent rant turns more pointedly insulting. “You know... (full context)
Chapter 37: His Excellency
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
...is impressed and pleased by Ibarra’s work to improve the town by selflessly building a school. He assures Ibarra that the “unpleasantness” with Father Dámaso will cease to be a problem,... (full context)
Chapter 43: Plans
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
...he tells Salví that he is the brother of the man who died in the school trenches during the town’s fiesta. Father Salví takes one step back, saying, “And?” before Lucas... (full context)
Chapter 48: An Enigma
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...on his lover’s face. He wanders into the street and winds his way to the school, where construction continues to thrive at a good pace. There, among the workers, he spots... (full context)
Chapter 50: Elías’s Family
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Revolution and Reform Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...means. “I want good for [my country],” he says, “which is why I built a school. I seek it in education, for forward progress. Without light, there is no path.” Elías... (full context)