Noli Me Tangere / The Social Cancer
by Dr. José Rizal
(Book notes / Summary in English)
This novel has been a rich source of insights into the history and culture not only of 19th-century Philippines but, as importantly, of the 20th-century as well. Its generally realistic perspective offers the reader a panoramic view of a conflicted and deeply divided colonial society. The characters in the novel stand out as recognizable types of individuals, both from the ruling class and the oppressed, and the struggles they undergo are indices to the turbulent conflicts in the 19th century. The novel is also significant for the specific ways in which it has shaped the trajectory of realistic novels in English and Filipino. Such Filipino writers as Iñigo Ed. Regalado, Faustino Agiular, Juan C. Laya, Stevan Javellana, Nick Joaquin, among others, have been influenced by the themes, motifs, and characters of this novel.
At present, Noli Me Tangere is an important Filipino literary classic that is being studied in secondary school (in the third year) in the Philippines, in accordance with the curriculum set by the Commission on Higher Education.