HomeFEU English and Literature Journalvol. 6 no. 1 (2012)

The Man Who [Thought He (Had) to] Look(ed) Like Robert Taylor On Bienvenido Santos’ The Man Who (Thought He) Looked Like Robert Taylor: Subjection and Self-Re/construction

Karen C. Padilla

Discipline: Literature



This paper is a critical study of Bienvenido N. Santos’ novel, “The Man Who

[Thought He] Looked Like Robert Taylor,” probing into the witting self-re/formation

and re/construction of the subject as a necessary attempt in reterritorializing/

negotiating his position in an unreceptive space of the ‘dominant.’ In exploring the

aforesaid idea, it is argued that the protagonist’s (Solomon King) insistence and

thought of resemblance with the Hollywood icon, Robert Taylor, is never an innocent

assumption on his part but a conscious falsification and misrecognition of the self,

instigated by his afflictive experiences as othered/alienated ethnic and Filipino old

timer/manong in the idealized, yet in reality, illusive and hostile American land.

Furthermore, this paper discusses the subject’s other ‘performances,’ and their ironic

implications--all the accumulated pretences, faking and mimicking of the way of

living, the culture, and the language of the colonizer-- corroborating conjunctively

with his ‘performance’ as Taylor’s double. These performances and self-reconstruction

are thus conceived as engendered by/against/for the subject’s tormenting condition

and frustration to belong.