Week #9 – Dream Jungle

Like Pierce, I’ve only read a bit into Dream Jungle, but already there are some interesting things to point out.  First, the issue of the Taobo tribe’s authenticity, which I have a feeling the author is not going to reveal definitively.  It’s not clear who is narrating during the descriptions of Zamora (I keep wanting to call him Zampano) in the jungle with Duan and in the cave with Bodabil and his tribal family.  Zampano brings people into the tribe’s environment to capture their unique primitive lifestyle using cameras, tape recorders, and other such devices of representation.  The likely-inadequate representation of the cameras, the ambiguous authenticity of the tribes…these are all postmodern topics we’ve already explored in other works we’ve read in the class.

Another issue is the shifting narrators and the slightly shifting chronology-which seems straightforward compared to some of the other books we’ve read (House of Leaves, The Female Man).  The first person sections I’ve read, the one with Rizalina for example, attempts to capture the flavor of the speaker’s language (though the language gradually gets more and more sophisticated, I’ve noticed).  The third-person chapter, “The Cave: 1971,” tries to mimic Bodabil’s childlike thoughts.

There is also a wealth of cultures and languages in this book, which makes sense if we consider the history of the Philippines.  One question that might be raised is:  What is authentically Filipino?  The references to imperialism are everywhere in this book.  The Zamora family’s history, the names of Zamora’s dogs (Caesar and Brutus), Zamora’s displays of power against women (especially the servants).  What has the Philippines lost with the arrival of these Western powers?  What have they gained?  I expect that Jessica Hagedown has more to say about that later.