Noli Me Tangere & the Departure from Europe

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Noli Me Tangere & the Departure from Europe

Noli Me Tangere:

The Title

The title, in Latin meaning Touch me not, refers to John 20:17 in the Bible(King James Version) as Mary Magdalene tried to touch the newly risen Jesus, He said "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.“ He chose Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene as his title because it implies that the book contained things that nobody in our country has spoken of till now. They are so delicate that they cannot be touched by anyone. But in the way the cover was designed, the title also reads as a warning against picking up an explosive. The preface, addressed To My Country, reads:

“Recorded in the catalogue of human suffering is an ulcer so malignant that

It has also been noted by French writer D. Blumentritt that "Noli Me Tangere” was a name used by ophthalmologists for cancer of the eyelids.

The Cover

The cover of Noli Me Tangere was designed by Rizal. It is a sketch of explicit symbols. A woman’s head atop as Maria Clara bodice represents the nation and the women, victims of the social cancer. One of the causes of the cancer is symbolized in the friar’s feet, outsized in relation to the woman’s head. The other aggravating causes of oppression and discrimination are shown in the guard’s helmet and the iron chains, the teacher’s whip and the alferez’s scourge. A slight cluster of bamboo stands at the backdrop; these are the people, forever in the background of their own country’s history. There is a cross, a maze, flowers and thorny plants, a flame; these are indicative of the religious policy, the misdirected ardor, the people strangled as a result of these all.

The Plot

The story concerns a returned student, Ibarra, who, filled with generous feelings towards his people and to the authorities, decides to found a school. The book shows how Ibarra’s goodwill leads him in the direction least expected, eventually to his being imprisoned, an enemy of society , & to his being saved...