Scent of Apples by Bienvenido Santos

Scent of Apples by Bienvenido Santos

A Literary Analysis

The Scent of Apples is a simple yet one-of-a-kind short story that evokes a feeling of nostalgia. It's a book you may love reading as it opens your eyes to some realities. The words used were perfect, including the imagery and literary devices. All of this added depth that lets readers create vivid pictures in their minds, and evoke emotions which contributes to a richer reading experience.

This masterpiece by Bienvenido Santos is truly a remarkable book. From the title itself, it summarizes the whole story. It isn't just about an immigrant Filipino, but an effective story that conveys how the scent of apples lets people far away from home feel for their homes.


In literary works, symbols often serve as a bridge that connects the world we are living into the intangible domain of emotions and memories. 

One of the best examples of such representation is the masterpiece of  Bienvenido N. Santos. He was born on March 22, 1911 and died on January 7, 1996. He was a Filipino-American writer whose fields of expertise are fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Tondo, Manila is where he was born and raised. Meanwhile, his family roots are from Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines.

Review and Reflection

In his short story Scent of Apples, the apple is more than just a fruit. It was used as a representation of nostalgia and the weight of memories that we carry and were buried deep within our minds.

The story provides a deep insight into the emotional landscape of immigrants, particularly the Overseas Filipino Workers. It painted a vivid picture of their struggles with identity, homesickness, and the challenges of establishing roots in foreign lands.

The protagonist, Celestino Fabia, is a Filipino immigrant residing in the United States. He owns an apple orchard and believes it is not present in his homeland. This defined contrast between his current environment and his native land is evident through the ubiquitous scent of apples that serve as a constant reminder he is away from home.

The fragrance of apple doesn't just evoke a generic sense of longing or homesickness. Instead, it taps into a deeper, more personal sentiment for Fabia. The aroma awakens in him a saddening remembrance of his "lost youth" and the troubling realization of his solitude in this vast world. The apples, thus, become symbolic of not just Fabia's yearning for his homeland but also his search for identity and belonging in a foreign country.

The narrative apparently starts with a simple setting where the author, Mr. Santos, is preparing to address an audience. Such an event leads to a fateful encounter with Celestino Fabia on the eve of his departure from the hotel. Their meeting served as a way that later introduced the readers to Fabia's world symbolized by the scent of apples. 

While Fabia's home, filled with the comforting presence of his loving wife, Ruth, and their son, Roger, should ideally represent happiness and contentment, the ubiquitous aroma of apples smears a different story. It underscores Fabia's internal conflict: the collocation of his present life in America against the memories of his past in the Philippines.

The story amazingly captures the contrast of Fabia's existence. Despite being surrounded by apples, which are a symbol of prosperity and abundance in many cultures, and the presence of his family, he remains haunted by the ghosts of his past. The scent of apples becomes a symbol of his loneliness and longing, taking him back to where he originated from each time he inhales its aroma.

Title Analysis

The title, Scent of Apples, is not merely a poetic choice but a purposeful one that perfectly suits the essence of the story. It highlights the narrative's central theme about the persistent pull of the past and the emotional upheaval of emigration. 

Through Fabia's experiences, the story becomes a mirror for countless Overseas Filipino Workers, reflecting their shared feelings of nostalgia, yearning, and the challenges they face, miles away from their loved ones.


Fabia's struggles as an immigrant scratched a chord with the narrator, stimulating an offer to connect with his family. Yet, Fabia refused. This highlighted the intricate emotions of war-time immigrants. 

Despite deep longings for home, returning isn't always an option. Some fear being forgotten, while others find solace in their new lives. Truly, Santos' The Scent of Apples perfectly catches these complex feelings, underlining the realism of an exile writing about exile.


McJulez is a passionate writer who loves making concise summaries, sharing valuable notes, and talking about new insights. With a background in campus journalism and a commitment to delivering experienced and reliable content, McJulez is dedicated to making this platform a community of learning and connection. facebook twitter pinterest


  1. This is quite a good analysis. Thanks for the wonderful insights. It is really helpful ☺️

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