The Scent of Apples

Bienvenido Santos' short story 'The Smell of Apples' concentrates around the lives of Filipinos in the past and today. The story revolves around two individuals, Santos and Celestino Fabia, a Filipino farmer from Indiana. One was a typical Filipino, while the other was an Asian American. The book is a cultural heritage narrative since it is primarily about the changes that may have occurred over a long period of time that influenced Filipinos, particularly women. Fabia is reminded about his past life in the Philippines when he attended the lecture delivered by Santos, who as talking to the Americans about life in the Philippines. The story seeks to examine how first generation immigrants experience a sense of loss and seek connection to their past life even if they had created a life for them in the new world.

Fabia is an immigrant in America who feels loneliness in his life because for so many years he has not been able to see and interact with the people from his own heritage. The lecture by Santos gave him a chance to have a sense of reconnection to his past life and origin. The subject of the talk about difference between Filipino women and American women also reminded him of his past life regarding the `characters of the Filipino women. Santos was very much aware about the life in the Philippines because he came from Islands. It was easy for him to talk about the life that his people had except that he did not like making the comparisons between the American and Filipino women because it might bring issues. Fabia used the moment to ask about the changes in Filipino women for the past twenty years that he had left his home country. It was a time for him to reconnect to his past by remembering how good their women were right before he left.

The short story ‘The Scent of Apples’ is a cultural heritage story because it provides the information about the life in the past and life in the present as it has been passed from one generation to the next. The meeting up of Santos and Fabia was a reconnection in itself because the two represented lives in both present and in the past respectively. Fabia was fully aware of the life in the Philippines in the past whereas Santos had full information about the life in the present. Santos lived in his home country and he only visited America for his usual speaking engagements. Therefore, he was able to tell Fabia about the Filipino women in the present life. On the other hand, Fabia lived there in the past and had full information about Filipino women twenty years ago. The exchanges between the two were a complete reconnection as each one of them was educated about the changes that the life has brought except that their culture and heritage has been preserved. It was therefore, a perfect moment for them, especially for Fabia who had difficult experiences as an immigrant due to his isolated life. This short text is, therefore, a perfect example of a cultural heritage story because it completely talks about the life in the past and the life in the present considering the heritage being passed from one generation to the next.

Santos was asked by Fabia to talk about the Filipino women twenty years later after he left his home for America. He was very keen on answering the question because he did not want to disappoint hence wanted to know about them first about twenty years ago. Fabia was happy to remember about the past life and he said that women were modest, God-fearing, faithful, natural, nice and decent. The answer provided to him by Santos that women in Philippines had never changed their innate qualities that included being modest, nice, God-fearing and faithful and that the change was only on the outside. He was very pleased to know that their culture is still preserved and that made him happy despite the fact that he had no plans of going back or even sending them regards. This made him feel proud of his roots because it indicated that people still preserved culture and heritage.

The story also gives a little regard to the immigrant experience as viewed by Fabia. He was a farmer and he described the experience as an immigrant as to be surrounded by that scent of apples because he was a pure farmer. He lived an isolated life because it was even hard for him and his family to go to town. He has built his life in America with a wife and a son despite race and ethnicity playing a role in the daily life. He was considered to be an Asian Pacific American because of his origin.

The events reflected in the story conform to the conventions of the narrative genre. Their reconnection started at the lecture but it did not end there. They went ahead and organized a dinner with the family of Fabia. He was so happy having met another Filipino after he had not seen them for so many years and wanted to introduce him to his family who had not met the current Filipinos, especially his son Roger. It was all about reconnection with his past life and letting his family know about the life of Filipinos.

Santo accepted to have a dinner with his family indicating the same kindness that Filipinos had on each other. It was evidence about their culture and heritage in Philippines. Santos met with his family and his wife reminded him of the women that Fabia had talked about twenty years ago. This is because she was devoted and decent just like the Filipino women earlier mentioned. It was such a wonderful moment for Fabia’s family because they had a chance to interact with a Filipino man in the present life. Their lives were only revolving around the farm of apples which they used to earn a living. They did not know much of the outside life because they considered themselves isolated in a foreign land. However, Fabia never forgot his past life and he had a feeling of reconnecting with it and that was why he found it necessary to attend the lecture being delivered by a Filipino. This shows that culture and heritage are important aspects of life that every individual has to experience it so as to understand their sense of lives. The story, therefore, is revolving around the lives of Filipinos in the past and in the present and has conformed to it all through the text considering the unfolding of events.

Their lives in America were full of fulfillment despite earning a little from the farm. This is because he had built a new life in a new world. Due to this, their home was always full of scent of apples as they grew them in their farm. They lived a much different life from that of the Americans. They were strict about their culture and heritage and hence preferred to live a poor but fulfilled life in America. Asian Pacific Americans was a name labeled Asians who lived in America and were from Pacific Islands. This was used to indicate the race and ethnicity that was prevailing in America at the time. The conformity to the culture and heritage in the story has helped in the understanding of the lives of Asian Americans. Most of them lived a life that much reflected their culture and traditions even if it was in a foreign land. However, they had no intentions of going back to their homelands as is evident with Fabia who was sure that he would never go back maybe due to painful past experiences. He told Santo that may be even the people from his town did not even remember him.

In conclusion, culture and heritage is what holds everybody’s life. It is what every individual look up to so as to better understand their current ways of lives. Santo was able to connect the present life with the past and hold to it that it is the culture and heritage that keeps people so as to never totally change. On the other hand Fabia kept on holding to his past and believed that it was what shaped his life and that of his wife. Therefore, culture and heritage helps in relating well with people with the same origin.

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