A Literary Paper On Blind By Asterio Gutierrez

Blind is a short story written by Asterio Gutierrez. It is mainly set in Mario’s, the restaurant where the main character of the story works. The story revolves around Ramon, a blind man working as the Saturday pianist at Mario’s. Ramon comes off as more than just a blind pianist, it lets us peek into his personality as well. Ramon is seen as a talented pianist despite his condition but at the same time he is also an arrogant and apprehensive man who keeps longing for the life that he used to have. The story lets us to know Ramon as someone who is talented in playing the piano. In the paragraphs that recount his past life, it can already be seen that he possesses the talent in piano. He was in a solfeggio1 class before. Ramon has dreams of him playing pieces from Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Liszt. It is said that he also won first prize at a biennial national music competition when he was just a freshman and again when he was a junior. In the same paragraph, it was also mentioned that “… the faculty baptized him as the next great Philippine concert pianist. ” and that he was offered scholarships, fellowships, and more possibilities through phone calls and letters from Germany and Japan. He claims that his specialty is Liszt. Taking all of these into account, it can be concluded that Ramon has an extensive knowledge and is able to utilize this in playing classical music on a piano.

Throughout the story, it is seen that despite Ramon being blind, it didn’t completely stop him from playing the piano. He was working as a Saturday night pianist at a restaurant called Mario’s, and he actually introduces himself as such. While working, he usually plays the same set of songs. He can also play piano classics that the people seem to get wrong like “Somewhere in Time” or “Fur Elise”. One of the pieces he played while he worked was a Handel aria without the vocal part. However, he doesn’t play the piano in his apartment that has gotten old and out of tune. Ramon from the story is not humbled by his disability because it seems that he is arrogant and apprehensive; both before and after he became blind. In a phone call with Fe, a waitress who works at Mario’s as well, he admitted that he never wished to play at restaurants because those were jobs for “petty and talentless performers”. His arrogance went as far as hurting Angela, his former lover, when she suggested for him to work as such. Before working at Mario’s, Ramon worked at a café but he got fired when he refused to play a pop song requested by the daughter of the owner. He is arrogant in the sense that he uses the term “bastardization” to describe the restaurant’s own version of ‘Happy Birthday’ and describes their ‘December customers’ as having “falsely accented tagalog”. He told Fe that he didn’t really need her help and implied that he didn’t like it when people showed him pity or when they try to help him. He also said that he is not fond of engagements and that he was apprehensive every time Fe would call.

Ramon can clearly be seen as someone who clearly misses his past life. He keeps mentioning his achievements when he was still in college like winning the biennial national music competition and the opportunities he was offered. His anchor to his past life was mostly his dreams, though, which is enough indication that he misses it. He says that “There was nothing that could be more precious than his dreams” which is why he doesn’t like interacting with others; he would dedicate that time to sleeping. He keeps dreaming of when he can still see and all the art that became his lifelong obsession. He keeps dreaming that he was back playing at the concert hall and the glory he felt after he finishes playing a concern. This affirms that he deeply longs for that life he once had. One big part of his past life was his former lover, Angela. He keeps longing for her even though she seems to have left him a long time ago. She left him was he slapped her because she suggested that Ramon should play at restaurants, something that Ramon swore he would never do.

Although she left him, he still remembers her vividly. He remembers her face with so much detail as well as Angela’s figure. He dreams about her and how they spent their time together including how intimate they used to be. He considers it lucky when he dreams of her. His longing for Angela can also be seen when he immediately thought that he found Angela when he heard Fe’s voice because of how similar their voices are. He played a Handel aria during one of his sets and found it beautiful but he wishes that someone was there to sing along when he did. He wondered about Fe but his thoughts keep drifting to Angela. When Fe and Ramon almost got ‘intimate’ he immediately had thoughts that were still centered on Angela. One of them was the sentence “He thought he had found her. ” despite actually knowing some parts of Fe’s life, he still believed that Fe is Angela.

Asterio Gutierrez’ Blind allows us to look at Ramon as more than just a blind pianist working in a restaurant. The story presents him to as someone who is a blind and talented pianist who is arrogant and apprehensive towards others and at the same time longs for what he had before he lost his eyesight.

15 April 2020
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