Formalism And Feminism In Tabula Rasa By Gabriela Lee


Women today can no longer be considered as dependent on man. Especially now in the 21st century, women are slowly empowering themselves to prove a certain statement, that women are equal to men. If not, even greater than them. Females today can no longer be deemed as under or can be controlled by a man. Also, how females now can stand on their own. Women are definitely proving this seeing how it is now common for girls to work, provide for their families, and even lead companies.

In this critique, the writers analyze how a certain woman reacts to being controlled by a man and how she responds to being handled. The writers also study how giving independence to a woman is very important and see how the lack of it can have negative effects in a relationship.

The story Tabula Rasa, tells the tale of Sophie and her boyfriend Lawrence. The story shows how Sophie, a woman who has the ability to erase her boyfriend’s memories uses her unique powers on her boyfriend and how the tale ends with an unexpected event. The writers argue that women today can be deemed as independent and should not be bound to men and how being in a controlling relationship will only end terribly.


The story “Tabula Rasa” is about a girl named Sophie and how she is subconsciously capable of taking the memories of her boyfriend away. At first, this only occured during intercourse in where memories of Lawrence flashes before her eyes and only stops when they came. A few months into the relationship, Sophie started to become annoyed and angry at Lawrence at the smallest things due to all the information she has been receiving. She then was now able to take away memories on cue such as the recollection of Lawrence’s past girlfriends. The memories Sophie had been receiving had started coming faster and faster to the point where she couldn’t take all the memories going through her head and collapsed from all the stress. As their relationship progressed, Sophie had began to hate how controlling Lawrence was. She hated how her boyfriend had put a cage around her and how he took control of his life. Their relationship continued to the point where too much of Lawrence’s memories were erased already. Sophie had already gotten too much in where Lawrence’s body had began to take a toll. Until the day of their anniversary where Lawrence himself was erased from this world and how even Sophie had no recollection of him in the end.

The characters of the story “Tabula Rasa” are Lawrence, the boyfriend of Sophie who is unaware that her girlfriend is the one who is slowly consuming his memories from the past. Sophie, a girl who has the power to slowly consume the memories of his boyfriend. As well as Patrick, who is the best friend of Lawrence since college. The setting of the story is modern day Metro Manila in where the characters venture into places such as the Academic Oval in UP as well as East Avenue Medical Center Hospital. The theme of the story is power in where both a man and a woman should have equal control in a relationship and where no one person is dominant and how one should not abuse the power they have.

The despedida party where both Sophie and Lawrence attended symbolizes the normal way how people get acquainted. Parties, bars, and other social gatherings are were many people develop relationships. Intercourse in the story symbolizes power. In where the more and more both Sophie and Lawrence have intercourse, the more Sophie knows about Lawrence’s past and how she eventually took him out of existence. Sophie’s power symbolizes independence. In where she on some level, didn’t want to be with Lawrence anymore because of the way he controlled her life which prompted her to erase him from this world and forget about him in the end. How Sophie had forgotten Lawrence and in way killed him also proves that being in a somewhat toxic relationship is bad for both parties and shows how it’s better to just move on from it and forget everything.


Feminism can also be seen in the story seeing how the tale was mostly about Sophie and how she handles her relationship. Feminism here mostly relates to Sophie’s power. As the story progresses, Sophie subtlety shows how she is not fond of Lawrence anymore. Sophie was proclaiming how she had gotten annoyed so much by every little thing that Lawrence was doing and how she didn’t feel comfortable by the cage that was put around her. There relationship was purely physical in the end seeing how Lawrence was constantly touching her and how they were having sex everyday. Sophie’s power was a unique way for her to retaliate by not complaining out loud and in a way, get rid of Lawrence internally. Her ability to erase his boyfriend’s memories was a way for to fight back or show her discontent in the relationship. She loved her boyfriend seeing how she rushed to his aid at once upon knowing that he was in the hospital. However, she couldn’t stand the way she was treating her and enjoyed the fact that she was free for a moment before finding out about the situation of Lawrence.


Back in the day, women are somewhat treated as slaves to pleasure or satisfy men. In the story “Tabula Rasa”, we see how Lawrence controls Sophie in their relationship and how their relationship has turned out to be purely physical in the end. We however witness how Sophie uses her powers to slowly take control of Lawrence’s memories to the point where she eradicates him from this world. In the present day, we see now how women are no longer slaves to men seeing how women can stand and do things on their own. We see in the story how Sophie is independent when finding out how Sophie is a single woman living on her own apartment and has her own job.

The lesson the writers learned is how women should not let men control them. For the writers, Tabula Rasa was a unique way to show how women should not submit to men and stay quiet, but voice out their discontent and not be afraid to take action. Those women should not be afraid to leave in a toxic relationship seeing how in the end, they would be free and forget about things the next day. 

16 August 2021
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