He is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers in the English language. His novels and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society. His works have been translated into 22 languages, including Korean, Indonesian, Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian and Dutch. His works are very notable because of his feeling regarding colonialism in the country. Injustice was not an alien thing to him. The usual setting of his works is almost similar to his birthplace Rosales, Pangasinan and the plot is according to his experiences when he is still young.
He was a dropped-out student from University of Sto. Thomas and later plunged into writing and journalism as his work. The literary works that he wrote were influenced by Jose Rizal. The five volumes of Rosales Saga, in particular, employ and interrogate themes and characters from Rizal’s work. Throughout his career, he focused on supporting social justice and change to better the lives of average Filipino families. Jose was assistant editor for the United States Information Service (USIS) from 1948 to 1949, and managing editor of Sunday Times from 1957 to 1960.
Jose has also been an information officer for the Colombo Plan Headquarters in Ceylon and a correspondent for the Economist in London. He has worked for various publications including Comment, Commonwealth, and Asia Magazine. He was also a writer-in-residence at the National University of Singapore, a visiting research scholar at Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, in Japan, and a consultant for the Department of Agrarian Reform. In 1958, Jose founded the PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, and Novelists) Philippine Center.
In his regular column, Hindsight, in The Philippine Star, dated September 12, 2011, he wrote “Why we are shallow,” blaming the decline of Filipino intellectual and cultural standards on a variety of modern amenities, including media, the education system, particularly the loss of emphasis on classic literature and the study of Greek and Latin, and the abundance and immediacy of information on the internet. He is considered a national for his works that is devoted to the Filipinos. His stories depict the life of Filipinos. The literary works that he wrote nfluence Filipinos to work hard and to remember the history that we encountered before. The influence of Rizal and his experiences from the past gives him a title to be one of the National Artist in the Philippines. His works nowadays are concentrated on the economic way of living of the Filipinos and the injustice that is happening now a day. The works greatly influenced the life of the Filipinos both socially and economically. Being one the greatest writers at this time, we can picture out what may happen to the life in the future.
With his famous line “Authors like myself choose the city as a setting for their fiction because the city itself illustrates the progress or the sophistication that a particular country has achieved. Or, on the other hand, it might also reflect the kind of decay, both social and perhaps moral, that has come upon a particular people. ” In his line we can see how he struggled his way on becoming a great writer and the life of his fellow being an important part of his works. On his work Why Filipinos are poor we can have a picture about the issues that we are facing now and why are we encountering those.
The comparison of the economic status of the country was compared to the economy that we had before. The Philippines is a rich country before and Korea is a poor country because of what happened to them during the past. Jose compared the two countries economically and gave us an idea what is happening to us. We are being envied by other countries before and now he gave an essay about how we struggle to live now. For me, many writers keep on recycling this thought thinking we are better off 50 or 100 years before than the rest of Asia. On the contrary, we are actually lagging behind since time past.
The achievements of the past did nothing to improve the collective social intelligence of Filipinos. He is a great literary artist because he can be a teacher to us on what we must do. Jose gave us an idea that we must do our part in order to improve our country. He is a great influence to our country as well with the Filipinos that makes him a National Artist. He influenced us through his words and his works. We can have a picture of the condition of the Philippines to his works and make us realize what are we lacking and how we can improve our life.