The Chieftest Mourner Summary and Analysis

Vallo, Rodeann Angelica D. May 22, 2012 Section 4N

Who is Chieftest Mourner?

A literary analysis of Aida Rivera-Ford‘s The Chieftest Mourner Who would possibly claim the higher sovereignty, is it the legal wife or the mistress? This is just the question that the author leaves us. The story related on the life of the couple who are separated because of their misunderstanding. There is a tendency that a husband finds another woman to marry who is the one who can understand him, be with him in sorrow or even in happiness and it’s his own choice.Aida Rivera Ford’s piece “The Chieftest Mourner” shows the loyalty and pure love of mistress to the poet, which makes her even more deserving to be the Chieftest Mourner than the legal wife. “…my uncle had not only deserted poor Aunt Sophia but had also been living with another woman these many years and, most horrible of all, he had probably died in her embrace! “(Ford 1) these are the words from the poets niece which basically talks about her uncle’s love and marriage life.

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the chieftest mournerHe married Sophia, and found out that he had mistaken, that he had made a wrong choice and decision is his life; they separated for ten years and found another woman who will fulfill his dreams. Things were too complicated when he was alive, and became more so when he died. Confusions came of who must be the official widow of this man. My sympathy catches first for the legal wife.

It is true, it is really hurts to be deserted and knew that your husband has another woman. It really broke her heart so much being left alone for ten years and still hoping for that man to come back in her arms.But I realized, the wife had made flaws in their relationship that forced her husband to end up his commitment with her, and find another woman who can give what had been searching for; the woman whom the society will call “mistress”. We, the Filipinos are known to be conservatives, we give importance to our dignity and honor. Basically we are strict when it comes to morality, for we hold on to the virtues of life that we have; the virtues that our fore-fathers planted within us. Mistresses are wicked in the eyes of most Filipinos.

They ensnared husbands, they are horrid, they are no good to the society, they ruin families, these is what people used to say and see when they heard off or even see a mistress. Isn’t unfair for the part of these persons to be judged and be degraded without even knowing who they really are and what they have done? Just like what happened to the poet’s mistress. Basically, the ridiculous funeral set up leads us to the point of knowing this mistress deeper. Aida Rivera-Ford used symbolisms for the reason of showing the depths of the wives love for their husband. …Aunt Sophia was sitting in one of the front pews at the right section of the chapel.

She had on a black and white print which managed to display its full yardage over the seat. Across the aisle from her was a very slight woman in her early thirties who was dressed in a dramatic black outfit with a heavy veil coming up to her forehead…”(Ford 2) The style of clothing they wore shows their feelings of compassion for their destroyed husband. Aunt Sophia’s black and white print clothes symbolize her shallow sympathy and love for the poet while for the mistress’ dramatic black outfit pictures out her deepest love and condolence for her husband.The cluster of white flowers that was seen by the poet’s niece near the casket with the note “From the Loyal One” definitely I should say from the mistress, for that ingeniously fashioned-dove shaped flower defines that features of the mistress. That cluster of white flowers symbolizes her pure love and loyalty that she had offered to her husband.

Her love for the poet was cannot be measured and priceless. (qtd in Velasques 21) We can see pain that even the pride of the mistress was swallowed just to be there inside the funeral to see the man of her life for the last time.She didn’t mind sitting there in the aisle with voices that whisper through her ears that simply tell her to get lost in the scene. And compare to that wife who’s during the burial she returned to visit her husband lying in the coffin with a hidden purpose inside her soul; to get the part of the belongings his husband had left. It just only means that the wife went back to claim her inheritance.

The legal wife portrays practicality towards things. I can say that she loves her husband and she wanted to get her part to have something which she can use in her living, and that’s what all she wants.I was able to see the mistress’ sufferings, sacrifices and true love in the end of the story; with her words that I have read; I see that she didn’t deserted the poet when he was in the midst of darkness, she sold her jewels those times that the poet’s pockets were empty, she lend her time to take care of that man when he was ill, she peddled the books and poems of her husband to raise money for all his hospital and doctor’s bills. The poet spent his last breath in the embrace of his mistress, because she never leaved him up to the end.If that mistress just ensnared the poet and all that she wants was only his money, she would definitely desert that man when the time came that he doesn’t have those anymore and let that man die alone, but she didn’t, because there’s love within her, and that love was for real. We can see the pain of being that mistress, that all of her good works was just a piece of trash, no matter what you do and how hard you try to make your man happy still, in the end it’s not you who will receive the honour.

Based on the law, it was the legal wife who should be honored, but based on love the mistress is the one who deserves it more. In the end the mistress let the legal wife to be the chiefest mourner and this is what you call real love that the legal wife doesn’t have. But after all is it still reasonable to commit adultery? ; knowing that the church and society is against this sin. Is it right to be that mistress who blocked the connection of the wife and her husband? What if the mistress was in the shoes of the wife? ; will that poet will desert her too? The answer hangs on you.


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