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Courage by Bienvenido N.

A story that portrays how easy it is to pass judgment about other people without first trying to understand
them; while some find strength in their courage to endure all.
The class of Section A did not like their new adviser, Mr. Arsenio L. Torres. He was quiet, distant and he
never smiled. When he said that the students looked intelligent but that remains to be proved' they took it
as a challenge. Their excellent performance, however, went unacknowledged. Much the students did not
understand about Mr. Torres. He had to be different from the more pleasant teachers. He knew his lessons
by heart, mastered them yet he showed no passion. It was like reading a great story or reciting a lovely
poem detachedly, lacking vivacity. He was too impersonal, too aloof, like a proud god forced to walk
among the mortals'. There were days that Mr. Torres was absent but the students never bothered to ask
why. They even wished he would stay away a little longer. Unpopular as he was, no one noted any change
in his appearance that was out of the ordinary. Section A was in-charge with the morning program. The
theme was Courage'. Mr. Torres decided a common song for the duet that was not about courage. He
wanted them also to wear white because he liked white. They voiced their protests, which he ignored. The
girls for the duet wanted another song. Mr. Torres relented but they would never forget his strange voice
and the look on his face. For Mr. Torres' death came shockingly unexpected. Apparently, he had been sick
but had kept it a secret. At the program, Section A's class president gave a speech. He spoke in a broken
voice about how Mr. Torres was misunderstood and misjudged because of his seeming indifference and
his inability to laugh or smile. Courage drove him to teach, to live each day through pain as if nothing
was wrong. With courage, he chose to be misunderstood rather than admit defeat'. If only they knew or
made an effort to know... but it was painfully too late for regrets. The two girls sang Mr. Torres' song but
they could not finish it. The students in white were quiet as they proceeded to their empty classroom.

Bienvenido N. Santos was born March 22, 1911, in Tondo, Manila, the Philippines, the son of Tomas and
Vicenta (Nuqui) Santos. At the time, the Philip pines was a colony of the United States, and the language
of instruction at the school Santos attended was English.
Santos graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1932 and became an elementary and high
school teacher. He began publishing his short stories in English at this time. When he left for America in
September 1941 as a scholar of the Philippine Commonwealth government, Santos was an established
writer in the Philippines. He enrolled at the University of Illinois in the masters program in English,
graduating in 1942. Meanwhile, the United States had entered World War II, and Santos was unable to
return to the Philippines, where his wife Beatriz, whom he had married in 1933, and their three daughters
lived (they later had a son).
In the summer of 1942, Santos studied at Columbia University. From 1942 to 1945, Santos was a public
relations officer at the Embassy of the Philippines in Washington, D.C. In 1945, Santos had his first
fiction published in America, the short story Early Harvest, which appeared in the magazine Story.
After studying at Harvard in 1945 and 1946, Santos returned home to the Philippines, where he became
professor and vice-president at Legazpi College (now Aquinas University) in Legazpi City.

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