Cecilia Manguerra Bainard’s Oriental Oriental “Magdalena”: A Linguistic Reinvention

Rhodora G. Magan


Critical at this point in the postmodern society is ‘an idea’ nuanced in myriad voices. This paper contends that in the Philippine context there may be very little room for this type of linguistic exploration but is enough to exhibit the existing engagement of writers with the never-ending phenomenon of interpretation, that is, a particular meaning is contingent to one’s “situational frame”. Simply put, two similar structures/codes/words are associated with multiple meanings. More so, these modes of interpretation will eventually affect one’s capacity to assign an array of codes to build upon the very image one intends to create. In this paper Magdalena in Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard’s Magdalena is thought to be the embodiment of the Biblical Magdalena sought to be determined by linguistic limitations in the context of the author herself. She is exactly the very image of a woman that the author, in her capacity, would wish to create given her own situational frame----her milieu. Likewise, as the reader engages himself with the text, another frame is recreated so that the meaning becomes ultimately unstable in a continuous regression. Meaning-making incidence is primordially seen in this study as the crux of the matter by which different ‘situational frames’ can be understood as such. The character, Magdalena, is seen in that respect as it largely depends on how such relations are created between the signifier and the signified. Dwelling much on Saussure’s perspective, the meaning that is evidently explored which gives Magdalena ‘the identity’ is not only drawn from the characteristics nor from her inner sensibility as a person but from the intricate connections that surround the perceived object of woman through which binary oppositions are thought to emerge.


simulacra, Eastern situational frame, hyperreality, simeosis, synchronic, diachronic

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