Monday, March 24, 2014

Reader's Diary #1104- Roxanne Felix: The Debut

(This is a pre-scheduled post, to appear while I am road tripping around Alberta.)

Newfoundland has a strong, noticeable culture. But from my perspective, I don't think it has a lot of traditions, certainly not a lot of formal ones. I'm sure there are plenty there who would disagree with me, and I certainly wouldn't want to speak on behalf of all Newfoundlanders, nor do I often think about the difference between culture and tradition, but all of these thoughts were running through my head while reading Roxanne Felix's "The Debut."

It is a story about a young woman named Sabina who is "struggling with her identity as a Filipina-Canadian." She is attending a debut ceremony (for her cousin), which I took to be a rather formal Filipino event which basically welcomes a young woman into adulthood or age of eligibility (of marriage). Of course, debutante parties aren't unique to the Philippines, but they certainly weren't something done in my hometown. I'd heard of them on TV as a kid, but they seemed to be a thing rich folks did in the southern U.S. In any case, I think the Filipino debut has its very own customs, and none of the formalizing seems to sit very comfortably with Sabina. As one not greatly used to formal tradition myself, I think Felix did a great job of capturing how it feels for people such as us being amongst those that are more accustomed to it. Granted, Sabina's discomfort is compounded even more because the formality is actually a part of her Filipino culture and she feels more pressure to conform than I ever have.

This is exactly the sort of Short Story I love; when I can relate to someone with such a different life context than I (this sounds sort of Oprahy,,, my apologies!), it makes me feel closer to humanity. 

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, feel free to leave a link in the comments.)


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