Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal

Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere is a novel written by Filipino political activist and author Jose Rizal, published in 1887. The book is a passionate unmasking of the brutality and corruption of Spanish rule in the Philippines from 1565 to 1898.

The story follows the protagonist, Ibarra, who returns to the Philippines after spending seven years in Europe. Through Ibarra’s experiences, Rizal shows the shocking reality of how the Spaniards and Catholic Church ruled the Philippines and how they exploited the people.

The main themes of the novel are Colonialism, Religion, Power, Revolution, Reform, and Education. Rizal exposes the exploitation committed by the Spanish friars and government officials.

He also shows how colonialism produced tensions that would lead Filipino natives to revolt against Spain’s oppressive religious and governmental bodies in the Philippine Revolution. The novel did not only awaken sleeping Filipino awareness but also established the grounds for aspiring to independence.

Useful takeaways from the book include the promotion of nationalism and the acceptance of change in ourselves for our country.

The novel tells us that we should reflect on our actions and beliefs for our country. It also gives off a societal message that citizens should be the leaders of its governing body and not the other way around.

Lastly, the strength lies in the numbers of people who want to change something inappropriate or give voices to those who suffer injustices.

What I Liked

I grew up in The Philippines and picked this book up just out of curiosity. It’s the “national novel” and Jose Rizal is like The Philippines’ Thomas Paine or Benjamin Franklin. I figured that it would really only resonate for Filipinos. Well, wow did I have the wrong expectations. This novel is amazing – one of my favorites.

Also – I did not realize that it was the Spanish monks that really messed things up. It wasn’t necessarily the monarchy.

What I Did Not Like

It’s a bit niche and requires some background about The Philippines, but nothing otherwise.

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