An older blog that I never posted on the topic of Dogeaters. It is mainly analysing the quote below:
"Isabel disagrees, vehemently. 'Disgusting! An army man. Those uniforms…He’s ugly, besides. One of the ugliest men in Manila. How can you do this to me?' she asks her daughter. 'Between the two of you, I see nothing but more ugly children.' She shudders. 'Dwaves! Hydrocephalics! Harelips! A legacy of bad blood and bad skin…' (Hagedorn, 24)
Isabel Alacran, mother of Baby, states this when she finds out that Baby is asked to marry Pepe Carreon, who has a mild case of eczema. Baby, on the other hand, has a chronic case eczema and seborrhea. Therefore, the mother is stating that her children will have many deformities and shunned by society. However, dwarfism, hydrocephalus, and cleft lips (known as harelips) are not caused from skin conditions. Thus, the mother has already accepted her daughter’s condition as being life threatening.
Also, Isabel asks her daughter: “How can you do this to me?” She views Baby’s proposal as a disrespectful action to intentionally hurt her. This statement also reflects her instability and fear of society’s judgment on her. She does not want to be an outcast because of her daughter. Instead, she believes that her ‘legacy’ is tainted because of her daughter.
Isabel believes that “bad blood and bad skin” will be produced from this marriage. She seems to react illogically and have a very negative perception of her daughter. Isabel seems to make a large emphasis on the importance of skin and blood. Therefore, this suggests that the Filipino culture is traditionally not accepting of those with disorders or health conditions; although the condition may be minor, it is seen as major and deadly.
Another objection that Isabel has is that Pepe is one of the ugliest men in Manila. Thus, she is indicating that it is not only his skin condition that worries her, but instead his appearance. Therefore, this reflects Filipino culture and its importance of appearance. This can be seen in the cultures obsession with Western actors.