The Blossoming of Bongbong

Bong-Bong's Degeneration College

In the short story “The Blossoming of Bongbong,” the main character, Bongbong, moves to America with big hopes to reshape his life and achieve success. This vague notion of the American dream leads to Bongbong’s desire for the quintessential, yet seemingly paradoxical American life: a movie star career, and a simple, non-contradictory lifestyle— everything he can’t achieve in the Philippines. Yet for some reason, he seems unable to secure them and loses himself in the process. Through the analysis of Bongbong’s wishy-washy attitude toward defining a cultural identity,along with his pursuit of different recreational activities and more generally, his dabbling in the arts, one can trace the degeneration of Bongbong’s self-identity and how he morphs into the exact person he does not want to be. His skewed and idealized image of the American Dream makes him passive, filling his spare time with cooking, books, music, and astrology, while waiting for success to finally hit him. Combined with his lack of commitment to a single cultural identity and a retreat from his interpersonal relationships, Bongbong becomes an isolated, hypocritical, and delusional hermit. By the end of the story, Bongbong can no longer relate to the world...

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