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Noli Me Tangere is a novel by Filipino author and national hero Jose Rizal, written in Spanish and published in 1887, which details the situation of the Philippines during the last part of Spanish rule.
Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, the son of a wealthy Creole landlord, has returned to the Spanish-controlled Philippines after seven years of studying in Europe. After realizing not much has changed thanks to The Government and learning that his wealthy father died in jail for being labeled a heretic, he is understandably upset.
Nevertheless, revenge on the person who got his father that fate is not in Ibarra's plans, and all he wants to do is to settle down with his beautiful childhood fiancee Maria Clara and to finance a schoolhouse for the less fortunate with his father's money. Unfortunately, things most definitely do not work out as planned, and a Rant-Inducing Slight at the opening luncheon for the aforementioned school sets in motion a chain of events that will change Ibarra, and subsequently the country, forever.
It has a sequel, El Filibusterismo, which is set thirteen years later.
This novel contains the following tropes:
- Author Avatar: Rizal is both Ibarra and Elias.
- San Diego, the town where the story is set, is very much inspired after Calamba, Laguna, the author's hometown.
- Author Filibuster: Philosopher Tacio often serves as the mouthpiece of Rizal's beliefs and ideals. Though it never goes into an Author Tract or become outright Anvilicious.
- Arranged Marriage: Maria Clara to Linares.
- Originally, Ibarra is Maria Clara's fiance, but Father Damaso meddled with their arrangement and chose Linares instead for Maria Clara.
- Banned in China: Being labeled as subversive, the book was banned in the colonial Philippines. The Corrupt Church at that time did everything in their power to suppress it's publication and distribution. Naturally, the ban made more Filipinos much more interested about the book. Nice job fixing it, Clergymen!
- Subverted in the current times, as the book and its sequel are required reading for High School students, and a course about the Author's life and works is a prerequisite in College.
- Big Damn Heroes: Ibarra, during a fishing trip in the lake, saved the boatman from being devoured by a crocodile. The boatman turns out to be Elias, and he returns the favor by saving Ibarra's life many, many times.
- Bilingual Bonus: The title is Latin for "Touch me not."
- Break the Cutie: Maria Clara. Sisa, and Ibarra in El Filibusterismo has become quite the cynic.
- Chekhov's Gun: Ibarra's letter of farewell to Maria Clara just before he studied abroad 7 years ago is the same letter used to convict him.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Various characters. An example would be the boatman Ibarra saves from a crocodile during the lake trip who turns out to be Elias, and the lady whose gown Lieutenant Guevarra steps on in the 1st chapter turns out to be Donya Victorina 42 chapters later.
- Corrupt Church: One of the issues raised by the book. Father Damaso is a bully, while Father Salvi is a Covert Pervert secretly harboring lust for Maria Clara.
- Dead Fraternal Twin: Elias has a female twin who died before the course of the novel.
- Disney Death: Ibarra.
- Downer Ending: Ibarra's on the run, Elias is dead, Maria Clara thinks Ibarra is dead, and so on.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Basilio has a dream that Crispin is being beaten by the Sacristan Mayor and Father Salvi.
- Face Heel Turn: An apparent Face Heel Turn is done by Ibarra when he comes back as Simoun in El Filibusterismo.
- Fallen Hero: Crisostomo Ibarra becomes Simoun in El Filibusterismo.
- Go Mad From the Revelation: Sisa, after learning about her son Crispin's fate.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Ibarra after seeing Maria Clara with Linares. Also, Padre Salvi towards Ibarra.
- The Heretic: According to Father Damaso, Don Rafael.
- Henpecked Husband: Don Tiburcio.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Elias.
- Ho Yay: Ibarra and Elias. You know Elias is that devoted to Ibarra when he chooses to save him instead of avenging his family (which is basically his entire reason for living).
- Inferred Survival: Ibarra.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Elias is implied to also be in love with Maria Clara. Nevertheless, he lets her and Ibarra be together.
- Jade-Colored Glasses
- Karma Houdini: Everyone who isn't Ibarra, Maria Clara, Elias, Tacio, Sisa or Basilio.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Capitan Tiago and his wife Pia (Maria Clara's mother) badly wanted a child and attended all sorts of rituals and congregations to be able to conceivse, despite being unable to for many years. Subverted, since in the end they do get their daughter and end up with Maria Clara. Double subverted as it turns out Maria Clara is a child born of rape, and that her real father is Father Damaso (Capitan Tiago was infertile).
- Limited Wardrobe: While well-off and can afford a variety of clothes, Captian Tiago's prefers to stick to his standard outfit of a frock coat, khaki trousers, a bowler hat and a cane.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Father Damaso is Maria Clara's real father.
- Magnificent Bastard: Father Salvi orchestrates the entire rebellion just to separate Ibarra and Maria Clara.
- Market-Based Title: The English translation was called The Social Cancer.
- Missing Chapter: Chapter 25 of the novel (entitled Elias and Salome) was discarded by Rizal for being deemed irrelevant to the story. The manuscript was later found and is now being included in more recent copies of the novel.
- No Name Given: The Governor-General.
- The "Yellow Man" who orchestrated Ibarra's assasination (by having the cornerstone of the schoolhouse buiding he was financing fall on him) under orders by Father Damaso no less.
- Not Quite Dead: Ibarra.
- Parental Marriage Veto: The reason why Father Damaso is so adamant against Ibarra and Maria Clara's Arranged Marriage is not because he is Maria Clara's godfather, rather, he's her actual father.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: An incredible subversion. Maira Clara and Ibarra are not betrothed at first, but after their parents saw how much they love each other, they decided to have them in an Arranged Marriage.
- The Quisling: Donya Victorina, who also doubles as a Ted Baxter.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: After taking all the insults, Ibarra finally snapped at a luncheon resulting in a knife at Father Damaso's throat when the latter began to bad-mouth Ibarra's father.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Elias nearly kills Ibarra for being related to the Spaniard who ruined his entire clan. He snaps out of it, however.
- The Ophelia: Sisa, after Crispin's death.
- Parental Substitute: Since her mother died by Death by Childbirth, Maria Clara was raised by her Maiden Aunt Tia Isabel.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Ibarra and Maria Clara.
- Proper Lady: Maria Clara is written and promoted as such.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Ibarra and Maria Clara.
- Sequel Hook: The uncertainty of Ibarra's fate. It did.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: The beautiful Maria Clara is Capitan Tiago's daughter. Subverted since it turns out she isn't really his daughter.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Ibarra and Maria Clara are /would have been this for each other.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: People are still puzzled by the symbols on the cover.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ibarra. Until the next book, that is...