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Dream Jungle

Into the Jungle: A Paper on Dream Jungle by Jessica Hagedorn The Philippines in the 1970s is the main setting of Jessica Hagedorn’s Dream Jungle. The novel tells a story that jumps from year to year, from different characters’ point of views and between two distinct events. First was the discovery of the Taobo tribe which is based on the 1971 real-life discovery of the Tasaday, a primitive, stone- age tribe. This was later alleged to be a hoax. The second event was the filming of a Vietnam War movie wherein its filming location was situated in the Philippines due to lower costs called Napalm Sunset which is based on the war movie, Apocalypse Now by Ford Coppola. The movie was said to be filmed in a war zone with a vast and unpredictable cast and crew. On top of this the political tone of the novel is parallel to The Marcos-controlled Philippines in the 1970s wherein Marcos signed Presidential Decree 1081 placing the Philippines under martial law . All of these events paint a clear picture of a country in chaos—a jungle.
It is said that when you dream of a jungle, your life is in some kind of chaos and when you’re lost or trapped in a jungle then it indicates that your negative feelings are hindering your progress . In colonial terms, the jungle is a symbol for potential imperialism conquest and a haven for primitivism or lack of civilization. Jessica Hagedorn’s Dream Jungle is no exception to this symbolism. The novel starts off with an excerpt from Antonio Pigafetta’s account of Magellan’s expedition where he describes his first encounter with the people of the Philippines. This is paralleled to Zamora Lopez de Legazpi’s discovery of the Taobo tribe in the jungle not far from the town of Sultan Ramayyah in Mindanao. The start of the novel signifies the start of the underlying themes of Orientalism throughout the novel. First is how the West—represented by Zamora Lopez de Legazpi, immediately decides to colonize the Taobo tribe upon discovery by taking…


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