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As dictated by the society, in order to gain respect and dignity, a woman must be

pure and virgin because it is said that a woman's virginity is equated to her dignity.
The society dictates that woman must preserve her virginity until she gets married,
like what Miss Mijares did to herself. She wasn't able to state her feelings to men
because she had to protect her virginity/dignity. Hence, the story presents Miss
Mijares' struggles caused by the social dictates on her individuality that hindered
her to find her own identity as a person and as a woman through the feminist type
of perspective.
Miss Mijares, the main character of the short story titled The Virgin, as a writer and
as a woman revealed her desires through her metaphors and symbols in her writing.
Despite her being a responsible daughter of her family, she also wished to be loved
by others, especially, she has always been dreaming to have a man in her life. But
her duties as a daughter and as a member of the society hindered her in fulfilling
her dreams. The following lines show her desire to have a man:
"But neither love nor glory stood behind her, only the lurking, empty shadows, and
nine years gone, nine years. In the room of her unburied dead, she held up her
hands to the light, noting the thick, durable fingers, thinking in a mixture of shame
and bitterness and guilt that they had never touched a man."
All of Miss Mijares' life was spent in accomplishing her responsibilities like finishing
college, sending her niece to school, and taking care of her mother. That was her
duty as a woman, to unconditionally nurture her family. This role that was dictated
by the society and perhaps her own family shaped her to be a woman for other
people and not a woman with her own self. The society dictates that women should
protect their virginity that is equated to their dignity which Miss Mijares respectfully
accepted. Miss Mijares was portrayed not only as a woman who wanted to go
beyond her roles but also as a woman who wanted to build her own life.
Miss Mijares' struggle to stick to the societal expectations of a woman and to hide
her own self was exposed and reiterated. Her struggle was symbolically shown by
her encounter with unfamiliar places and the jeepney's diversion. It symbolizes her
own lost because she cannot be herself and she has to be a woman that the society
dictates her to be.
In the society, women are the ones responsible of taking care of the people in the
family. This was the case of Miss Mijares, when she was the only one left to take
care of her sick and old mother. She did all the responsibility that she forgot her own
life. Miss Mijares in the story can be characterized as the old maid. At an age of 34,
she hasn't still touch a man. Her description in the story and her life really fits her
as the old maid archetype who is still untouched. Indeed, Miss Mijares at the very
beginning has gone through this stage wherein she allows the dictates of the
society to rule her life. She responsibly took care of her mother and she had
protected her virginity for a long time
The proceeding lines really imply that she was freed from the societal roles being
dictated around her:
"In her secret heart, Miss Mijares' young dreams fluttered faintly to life, seeming
monstrous in the rain, near this man - seeming monstrous but also sweet and
overwhelming. I must get away, she thought wildly, but he had moved and brushed
against her, and where his touch had fallen, her flesh leaped, and she recalled how
his hands had looked that first day, lain tenderly at the edge of her desk and about
the wooden bird (that had looked like a moving, shining, dove) and she turned to
him: with her ruffles wet and wilted, in the dark she turned to him."
she's able to express her own self, her own feelings, and her own desires. It shows
that she is now capable of going beyond her social roles as she reveals that she is
ready to surrender her virginity. Her virginity is indeed a symbol of dignity; however,
it is part of the woman's purpose is to have a man who will be able to consume that
long preserved virginity. The short story depicts the success of woman in
overcoming the men's stereotypical world. The main character was able to defy the
dictates of the society and was able to establish her own self in the quest of being a
woman.