(The Summary of “Noli Me Tangere”)
The first of two canonical 19th-century novels, Noli Me Tangere revolves around Crisostomo Ibarra who, after a seven-year stay in Europe to study, comes home to his town of San Diego, brimming with the desire to contribute to the development of the townspeople. More specifically, as a reformist, he aims to make education accessible to more people. His idealism, however, cannot bear fruit because of insidious forces bent on destroying him. Ibarra learns that his father, Don Rafael, had been embroiled in a conflict with Padre Damaso, who eventually causes his humiliation and death. It is not only political power that the friar wields; he has also used power to seduce the mother of Maria Clara, Ibarra' s sweetheart. Ibarra has another enemy in the person of Padre Salvi, who lusts after Maria Clara. It is also Padre Salvi who almost causes Ibarra ' s death at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the school. Things come to a head when Ibarra is implicated in a failed uprising instigated by Padre Salvi. The young man is imprisoned but is eventually rescued by Elias, whose life Ibarra has saved in the past. As the novel ends, the thoroughly disillusioned Ibarra sees a bleak future.
Executive Summary and Introductory Note in English written by Soledad S. Reyes, Ph.D.; Chapter summaries written by Wesley June P. Inay