What is the rising action and falling action of "Footnote to Youth"?

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rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story is a kind of circle in the sense that Dodong comes to understand life both as the young person, desperate to marry and be independent, and as the parent, being asked by their child for permission to marry. One way to understand the rising action in the story is to see Dodong's request to marry Teang as the event that sets the story in motion; he has to work himself up to the courage to do it, but once he does get permission and his first son is born he is "ashamed of his youthful paternity." His shame perhaps comes from his realization—now that it is too late!—that perhaps he his not ready for this. The falling action in this case would be Dodong's long years of work afterward and his realization that "life did not fulfill Youth's dreams." This realization, in turn, fuels what could be seen as a second rising action: Dodong's son Blas's announcement of his own decision to marry. This time Dodong is on the other side of the conversation: his silence and lack of enthusiasm for his son's decision mirrors the silence of his own father years ago when Dudong announced his decision to marry. Dudong knows now what his father also knew: that "Love must triumph... now. Afterwards... it will be life." 

davidee1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The rising action occurs when Dodong is interested in marrying Teang and tells his father that he wants to do so. He considers marrying Teang as essential to his life and even holds back momentarily from sharing it with his father, fearing resistance. The fact that he considers it important is revealed by the manner in which he asks his father for permission to marry her. He is only seventeen, as his father reminds him, but Dodong is too stiff-necked to reconsider. He does not even notice the helpless look in his father's eyes, which suggests that he should not marry.   

The falling action occurs when Dodong comes to a realization that early marriage can ruin one's life. Dodong had seven children. He is not only ashamed in front of his parents for his youthful paternity, but also gets angry at himself because the birth of so many children could not be helped. He is also humiliated. He realizes that life does not fulfill all the dreams of youth.

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