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Story Review: The Mats by Francisco Arcellana

One fine day, Miling receives a letter from her husband Jaime. Jaime came
from an inspection trip around the country. During his stay on the place, he met an
artistic craftsman. He then asked the craftsman to make mats for his family. Miling
and their children were excited knowing that their father brought with him mats. As
soon as Mr. Angeles arrived home, he had dinner with his family. Then all of them
stayed on their living room, waiting for Mr. Angeles to unpack his pack and give
them their mats. Mr. Angeles then open the bag where the mats are. Each one of
them receives a mat with their names in it. Each of the mats was designed
according to their own personality. After receiving their mats, they realize that there
are still three remaining mats inside the bag. They asked Mr. Angeles for whom the
mats are. Mr. Angeles then unfolded the mats slowly while telling them that the
mats are for their lost children. After this scene, there was a deep silent on the
lighted part of the house. All of them want to turn their back and to avoid the
conversation, because for them the conversation is too sensitive and too emotional.
Upon reading the title, many thoughts come to my mind about what is the story all
about, but the first thing that came up to me is that the story is all about fiction. But
as I read the story Ive realized that it is a story about family. The storys setting was
on Nana Emilias House, this is where the Angeles family lived. The story was
characterized by Mr. Jaime Angles which is the father of the family who came from
an inspection trip somewhere in the country. Mr. Angles has a wife named
Miling(Emilia Angeles), and has seven children namely Marcelina, Jose, Antonio,
Juan, Jesus, Susanna, and Alfonso. But a surprising revelation came up as the story
progress. The storys expositions is when Mr. Angeles arrived from his inspection
trip. On his way home, he send a letter to Miling(his wife), telling her that he had
met an artistic craftsman and he ordered it to make mats for him. This is the
exposition of the story because it opens the readers mind to what will be the story
would be. It tells about who are the characters of the story. So in this case, we now
know that Mr. Angeles is far from his family, and Miling was his wife. The rising
action is when Mr. Angeles arrives home, his children and wife were all eager to see
the mats that was made for them. Because for them mats are only used during
special occasion. They were all excited to have their mats, each mats have different
color that suits their own personalities. And one by one Mr. Angeles gave the
children their own mats, and the lighted part of the house was filled with excitement
and joy because of the gift given to him. In this part of the story shows the storys
great interest, and the bridge towards the climax, which is Mr. Angeles letting out 3
more mats. The climax of the story is when all of them receive their own mats, and
there are still three remaining mats that are left unfolded. Mr. Angeles soon unfold
it, and he announced that the three remaining mats are for his three other siblings
named Josefina, Victoria and Concepcion. This is the climax of the story because it
shows that the characters clash with each other. All of them are in deep silence
because they cant with stand the topic. Miling and Mr. Angeles argue that the topic
is too sensitive for them to talk about. But Mr. Angeles is too stubborn to listen to
his wife. He even told his children that they should not forget their siblings that
were gone. This part is the falling action because it happens after the climax. It
resolves the climax; it is not the usual resolution of the climax because it doesnt
resolve the problem. The lighted part of the house was in silence for about a couple
of minutes, all of them were eager to turn their faces just to avoid to see the face of
their father and mother. Miling also bowed her head and gripped her clasped hand

on her thighs. Ive came up with a conclusion that the conflict of the story is Man vs.
Self because Mr. Angeles wants to give the three remaining mats to the three
siblings who died; he was so emotional that moment. He doesnt care if the topic is
too emotional for them. It is seen in his face that he is too emotional, and the only
way to burst out his hidden emotion is to share it to his family. The story was uses
omniscient point of view is used since a third person narrator who knows everything
about all the characters is all-knowing. The reader knows about the thoughts and
feelings of all the characters in the story. The story has a beautiful theme which is
the love of a parent for his children. We can see that Mr. Angeles loves all his
children. He doesnt care if they are still alive or not, whats important is that they
have been a part of him, and they will always be in his heart. Along the story we can
see many things that symbolizes many things in real life the mats in the story
symbolize the characters of the story. It also shows the unconditional love of Mr.
Angeles to his children. It also symbolizes the tradition of their family that the mats
are passing on through generation. The silence brought about by the topic also
symbolizes respect for their lost siblings. The slow unfolding of the mats symbolizes
that Mr. Angeles is treasuring the moment. After reading the story I came up with
this interpretation. The mats is one of those stories that themed about family. We
all know that love is the easiest thing to write but the unconditional love that a
parent has for his children is a tough one. Writers need a lot of experience for them
to relate and to clearly describe the feelings of this lost. The mats is trying to tell
us that the value of a person doesnt measure on how long it stayed in our side, but
it is measured on what impact they had made on us. This is what Mr. Angeles feels,
even though the topic is so emotional, he still pursues the topic.