The air within Celestial Bias’s secluded home was perfumed with the foreign scent of apples. The immigrant had been living in Kalamazoo for more than 20 years when he met a speaker from his native land who had come to the US to lecture; he drove out to the city hear this man. The crowd’s questions during the open forum centered on Bias’s home country. To this AIBO stands and asks if the women now were the same 20 years ago and the lecturer responds that they were. Thereafter AIBO invites the lecturer to dinner with his American wife, Ruth, and his son, Roger.
The next day AIBO picks the speaker up from the hotel and drives him to a farm east of the city into a rugged road that led into an isolated farm. It held a crumbling and shanty home. AIBO reminisces about his time in the Philippines and the speaker has dinner with the hospitable family. As the dinner ends, so does the Bias’s time with his only link back home. The lecturer bids goodbye and offers to pass on Bias’s sentiments to his family in the Philippines, which AIBO politely declines saying that nobody would remember him anyway and lets the lecturer go.
Ovenbird Canton’s “The Scent of Apples” centers on the absence of the familiarity of home or the characteristics of what makes a place so, for example: for a Filipino Collections AIBO there is abundance of apple trees, while for the American men who went out to war there is the absence of great icy winds and the promise of winter; additionally the way Santos describes the setting further exemplifies this nostalgia and isolation from home. The absence of home is introduced by Canton’s description of the, which creates a somber tone by describing the memory their son who had gone away to war.
He uses that setting, the boy being away for war, to establish exile or loneliness; additionally he adds the boys absence from the familiar icy winds, changing golden leaves, and the fragrance of apples to further isolate the parent’s from their son. This description when Juxtaposed to Bias’s situation, being an immigrant surrounded by apple trees in an isolated farm in the US, intensifies the concept of exile in a foreign place. During the lecture, the narrator receives a lot of questions about his home country, which he describes had become a lost country to his American audience.
Here his audience was composed of mostly women who had lost contact with the men deployed in the Philippines. Their situation is parallel to Bias’s, with his family closing their gates after him and his loss of contact with any Filipino for the past years, which emphasizes his isolation. Juxtaposing Ruth with the narrator’s commentary on the differences of Filipino and American women, and Bias’s description of Filipino women entails that there may be no differences between these groups of women at all.
To emphasize Remarking on Ruth being described like a Filipino, she stays with AIBO even on the brink of death, while she herself was pregnant. The she maybe home that he finds in the US. In relation to the setting, his link to the Philippines no longer persists and the dinner with narrator was the Bias’s soiree with his old home, but his being released back into the cold and dark at the end implies that AIBO still Bias’s shanty home emphasizes this isolation in exile as well, since the house is located alone amidst an apple orchard miles away from the city.
The narrator described the trip from Kalamazoo to the farm to be interminable; they disappeared wrought thickets, passed narrow lanes with unattractive, barren land covered in weeds, dead leaves and dry earth. Santos meaner to represent Bias’s distance from home through the interminable trip; furthermore the barren land, narrow lanes and weeds represent Bias’s affiliations in the Philippines – he no longer had any contact with his family and he has not talked to other Filipinos in years.
The apple trees in the distance emphasize his being in a foreign place. The reader is reminded of this when AIBO comments on the beauty of autumn to which the narrator replies, “No such thing in our own country’ and the narrator reflects on the unkind comment and how AIBO must have avoided this fact for fear of being reminded of his exile. Once they arrive at the house the narrator notices how the house was ready to crumble.
The inside was barren and decked with second-hand furniture and, the scent of apples pervaded he air – describing how even in his own home there is the reminder that he is a foreigner. In contrast to his home in the Philippine, biggest one in the Visalia town, which shunned him. Santos also uses autumn to influence the tone of the story. He opens the first paragraph with the old couple; he uses the description of icy winds, ghostly feet of fallen leaves and coming of down of the cold to nuance the theme of loneliness and abandonment.
The autumn, being a season of fallen leaves and cold weather imposes transitory feeling brought by being away from someone. He also this when AIBO brings the narrator home for dinner the setting is described to be ineffectual and not too cold, which implicates a more positive mood in the text. Santos uses the coming winter, the cold and the dark to further highlight the feeling of abandonment hen the narrator finally says goodbye to AIBO, remarking that they would probably never see each other again.
Ovenbird Santos brings to his audience the sentiments of nostalgia. The well-crafted short, “the Scent of Apples” very well articulates the loneliness of an immigrant. He does this through how he establishes the setting, through how he sets up the stage for the characters to move around and for the audience to get better feel of what Santos intended to impart. The loneliness is palpable in the setting and his use of it gives subtlety to the theme isolation in exile.
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