What Is the Theme of “Midsummer” by Manuel Arguilla?

The themes of “Midsummer” by Manuel Arguilla are love and sexuality. The story was published in the “Philippine Magazine” in 1933. “Midsummer” recounts a chance meeting between a young man and a young women in the Philippines countryside.

The heat is sweltering on the day that the man and the woman meet one another. Arguilla uses the heat to symbolize the love that is arising between the young couple. Just as the young man is unable to escape the heat of the day, he is also unable to keep himself from admiring and thinking about the women. By the end of the story, Arguilla reveals to the reader that the young woman had been thinking about the young man the whole time as well. She tells the man that she already told her mother about him after the woman and the man had briefly encountered one another at the well the first time. Other instances of the story are highly sexualized including when the man notices that water has spilled on the young woman’s “bosom,” and when the young women watches the muscles of the young man ripple as he draws water from the well for her. Finally, Arguilla alludes to the future relationship between the young couple when the man thinks to himself that he could follow the young woman to the end of the world.