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Born Paz Latorena
19 January 1908
Died October 19, 1953 (aged 45)
Alma mater University of Santo Tomas
(January 19, 1908 – October 19, 1953)
She received her elementary education in at the
St.Scholastica's College and her secondary education
at the Manila South (now Araullo) High School. She
earned her bachelor of science degree in education at
the University of the Philippines College of Education
and took a graduate course at the University of Santo
Tomas (UST). She taught English at the UST.
was a poet, editor, author, and teacher.
one of the foremost writers of the first generation of
Filipino English writers, in both literary writing and
In 1934, her doctoral dissertation, “Philippine Literature
in English: Old Voices and New,” received the highest
rating of sobresaliente.
also wrote poetry under the pseudonym, Mina Lys.
While still a freshman in college, Latorena started
writing in earnest as Paz Marquez-Benitez. The
editor of Herald Midweek Magazine encouraged her to
write and publish her works in the magazine. She
became nationally known when Jose Garcia
Villa included her story, “Sunset”, in his anthology
Philippine Short Stories in 1929. It was considered the
best published that year.
In 1943, Latorena authored her last story, “Miguel
Comes Home.” She died a decade later, on October
19, 1953, of cerebral hemorrhage.
Latorena's stories have a wistfulness which tells of a
gentle disillusionment with life. Many of her stories
chronicle the unexpressed heartaches of women.
There is bitterness, however, but sadness over certain
dreams left unfulfilled.
A short story won third place in Jose
Garcia Villa’s Roll of Honor for the
Best Stories of 1927
THE SMALL KEY
Pedro Buhay- husband of Soledad,
also known as Indo.
Soledad- wife of Pedro Buhay, also
known as Choleng.
Tia Maria- housemaid of Indo and
Dr. Santos- doctor of Soledad.
S U M M A R
Soledad knows that the small key is a key to a different trunk. She tries to busy herself so that she will not think about
what the smaller trunk contains, but she cannot stop thinking about it and reveals that the small trunk contains clothing
that belonged to Pedro's first wife. She wonders why it is that he keeps her old clothing and why he seems to have a special
feeling about them. She obviously fears that Pedro still loves his first wife even though she has been dead for many years by
now. She reveals that she hates the things in the small trunk and worries that they will destroy the relationship between
her and her husband. Despite her attempts to not think about the contents of the small trunk, Soledad opens it. At this
point, Pedro returns home to find Soledad in bed supposedly with a fever. It turns out she does not. The next morning
Pedro discovers a pile of ashes and half burnt clothing in the backyard. He realizes what Soledad has done and rushes to
look in the trunk to confirm it. Soledad has indeed, burned his first wife's clothing.
Pedro is angry and bitter that this has happened and he expects that Soledad will explain things later. He thinks to himself
that he will forgive her because he loves her but that even if she did it out of love for him, it will always remain a matter of
some resentment toward her for doing it.
It is about a woman named Soledad who is married to a man named Pedro Buhay. They live on a farm. One morning
Soledad finds herself knowing that the farm will produce plenty but that she still had some inner feeling of discontent. She
planned to mend some of her husband's shirts, which were in a locked trunk. Pedro took out from his pocket a string which
held two keys, one large and shiny and one small and rusty. He gave Soledad the large key to his trunk and put the small key
back in his jacket pocket. Since it was hot that morning, he removed his coat before leaving to work in the field. When he
was gone, Soledad began to fold the jacket and the small key fell to the floor. It is obvious that Pedro values the small key
while Soledad fears it.
SETTING: In the Farm
THEME: " In life people do something to satisfy themselves even when they are fully aware
of what the consequences of their actions will be.“
Small Key: a small rusty key, has a big meaning in the story because it served as the
object that reminds him of his first wife
Large Key: It represents to Soledad because she has a power to burnt the clothes of
the first wife of Pedro
Trunk: symbolized how Pedro tried to hide his memories of his dead wife
Dead Wife’s Clothes: the remains served as the main memories of his past wife
Farm: it represents the feelings of Soledad to the first wife of Pedro.