Mass (novel)

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Mass by F. Sionil Jose Book cover.jpg
Book cover for F. Sionil José's novel Mass.
Author F. Sionil José
Country Philippines
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Solidaridad Publishing House, Inc. (Philippines)
Publication date

Mass, also known as Mass: A Novel, is a 1973 historical and political novel written by Filipino National Artist F. Sionil José.[1] Together with The Pretenders, the Mass is the completion of José’s The Rosales Saga,[2][3] which is also known as the Rosales Novels.[4] The literary message of Mass was "a society intent only on calculating a man's price is one that ultimately devalues all men".[3]


The narrative of Mass pictured the Philippines during the years prior to and after the imposition of Martial Law in 1972,[4] which occurred within the scope of the middle and the late periods of the twentieth century. It narrated about a movement advocating reform, the resulting struggle for human rights, students’ rights, tenants’ rights, and women’s rights, and mass protests that were manipulated by "fraudulent leaders". The uprising failed. One of the characters went back to Central Luzon to discover his origins in order to rebuild his life.[5]


The main character of Mass is José “Pepe”[3] Samson, a resident of Tondo, Manila. He is the illegitimate son of Antonio “Tony” Samson, the primary character in José’s The Pretenders.[4] Pepe was also the great-grandson of Istak, the principal protagonist in José’s Po-on.[4] Instead of becoming like his father who was enticed by wealth,[4] Pepe became a follower of a former commander of the Hukbalahap(Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon) rebels turned local affairs devotee and student leader in Manila.[5] Pepe Samson was raised by Emy in Cabugawan, then goes to live with an aunt in Manila in order to study in college. He became a drug dealer for a gangster named Kuya Nick. After leaving the illegal job, Pepe joined the revolutionary group known as The Brotherhood. In the end, Pepe committed a "revolutionary act".[3] Other characters included student activists, members of women’s liberation movement, drug addicts, and intellectuals. Some characters were from previous novels that were parts of The Rosales Saga.[5]


  1. ^ "Mass", Francisco Sionil José, The National Artist for Literature,
  2. ^ "Mass", Samsons: The Pretenders and Mass F. Sionil José,
  3. ^ a b c d "Mass", The Samsons: The Pretenders and Mass by F. Sionil José, Modern Library, 432 pages,
  4. ^ a b c d e Yoser, Elizabeth G. Under the Balete Tree: F. Sionil José’s Rosales Novels, World Literature Today, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Winter, 1988), University of Oklahoma, pp. 82-84,
  5. ^ a b c Yabes, Leopoldo Y. and Judson Knight. "Mass" by F(rancisco) Sionil José, Contemporary Novelists, 2001, The Gale Group Inc., Farmington Hills, Michigan,