76 Seiten, Note: A
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1. Background of the Study
1.2. Statement of the Problems
1.3. Objective of the Study
1.4. Significance of the Study
1.5. Scope and Limitation
1.6. Theoretical Background
1.7. Method of the Study
1.8. Definition of Key Terms
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Theoretical Framework
2.1.1. Post-colonial Feminism
2.1.2. Cultural and Historical Aproach
22.214.171.124. Javanese Culture in the 19th Century
126.96.36.199. Java under the Dutch’s Colonization
2.2. Review of Related Studies
CHAPTER 3 ANALYSIS
3.1. Javanese’s Feudal System as the Root of Oppression towards Sanikem
3.1.1. Society’s Values about Ideal Image of Javanese Men and Women
3.1.2. Sanikem’s Father’s Domination
3.2. Oppression towards Sanikem by the Dutch’s Colonialism
3.2.1. Rejection by the European Society
3.2.2. Discrimination by the Dutch’s Colonial Laws
3.3. Shifting of Sanikem’s Personality and Her Awareness of the Oppression
3.4. Sanikem’s Struggle; Can the Subaltern Speak?
CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION
This thesis contains no material which has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma in any university. And to the best of this candidate’s knowledge and belief, it contains no material previously published or written by other person except where due reference is made in the text of the thesis.
Surabaya, June 2nd, 2010
Reza Rizky Azizah
This thesis would not have been possible without the help of my thesis advisor, Lina Puryanti S.S., M.Hum. whose encouragement, guidance and support from the initial to the final level enabled me to develop an understanding of the subject. Thank you for your critical advices. You are a great lecturer who is always successful in making every learning process interesting. I also owe my gratitude to my former thesis advisor, Maemunah S.S., M.Hum., M.A. for having made her support available in a number of ways.
The next gratitude is for my parents, M. Abdul Aziz S.E and Istiana, for their tender loving care that always push me to the top everytime I am feeling down. For my husband, Achmad Sofyan S.E., for always being on my side through the good and the bad time. For my little sister, Firly Fadhilla Izzatty, for the help and the spirit. I am also indebted to my boss, who is also my teacher and my friend, Dennis Windsor, for letting me borrowed the English version of Bumi Manusia and sharing his interest of the novel with me. For my great companions ever: Joel, Gek, Leley, Biyan, Sheila, Upik, Mira, Adegusti, Neney and Fat – I heart you all.
And last, my deepest gratitude and worship for my lord, Allah SWT. Because in the end, we all start thinking about the beginning. Because in the end, everything in this world is coming back to Him.
July 1st, 2010
This narrow path has been trod many a time already; it’s not only that this time the journey is one to mark the way.
- P. A. T
This paper, through postcolonial-feminist criticism, attempts to prove the existence of the oppression toward the Javanese women during the Dutch’s colonialism in Indonesia through the character of Sanikem which is also known as Nyai Ontosoroh in Toer’s This Earth of Mankind. Firstly it discovers the mutual relationship between the Dutch’s colonialism and the Javanese feudalism with the oppression towards Sanikem and then analyses how the dual hierarchy of the Dutch’s colonialism and Javanese’s feudal system contribute to the oppression. Second, it also discovers a shifting of Sanikem’s personality which makes her aware of the oppression and struggle against it. And the last, it shows why and how Sanikem is silenced by the colonial power that fails her struggle. In conducting the analysis, cultural and historical background will be applied in the thesis along with the discussion of the subaltern women in a colonized country established by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. This research applies qualitative method which means that the data is taken from the novel itself which is This Earth of Mankind, both digital and non-digital library research, journals, and other resources which are appropriate in conducting the analysis.
Subaltern, colonialism, feudalism, oppression, feminism, awareness.
The Dutch entered Indonesia for the first time in the late 16th century under the command of Cornelis de Houtman. They landed at Java, precisely in Batavia which used to be called Jacatra (Taylor 1). At that time, Batavia was only a small harbour which was famous for its black-pepper, a kind of spice which was rare in Europe and thus had very high value. Since that, a lot of Dutch merchants stopped by at Batavia to do trade or only to refill their fuel. Soon afterwards Prince Wijayakrama signed a contract with VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie which gave access for the Dutch to freely trade and stay there (Taylor 2), and soon began the Dutch’s colonization toward Indonesia with Java as the central focus (Darmarastri 1).
In her book that has been translated to Indonesian, Kehidupan Sosial di Batavia, Taylor states that one of several things which commonly occurs during a colonization is prostitution (Taylor 261) due to the lack of the number of European women and the terms and conditions that were established by the Dutch government that only unmarried Dutch men who could apply for a position in VOC (Darmarastri 7). This then led the Dutch men in to looking at the native women as one alternative to fulfil their sexual need. Since the number of European women was particularly low, VOC employees and other European men in Batavia companied themselves with the local women.
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Figure 1: The number of European, Chinese and Arabian women in every thousand of European men (1866-1930)
Source: Sejarah Statistik Indonesia by P. Cruetzberg and L.T.M. van Laanen (ed.). (33)
The colonial government legalized this prostitution and let the native women to stay in the barracks along with the Dutch soldiers. Also according to Taylor, during the period, the Dutch has shown their characteristic which then becomes a habit in their communal in Asia, a habit which does not exist back in their homeland; having slaves and making the native women as a fulfilment of their sexual desire (Taylor 3). Plenty of the native women were taken as a household slave by the Dutch men. A household slave was like a maid that had to take care of the household works such as: cleaning the house, cooking and feed the cattle. They also had to serve their master’s sexual desire without being able to refuse or protest.
This kind of slavery did not end even after the VOC was dismissed. VOC went bankrupt in the end of the 18th century due to rampant corruption among its officials, failure in competing with other trade organizations and the huge cost
that had to be paid to suppress Indonesian people’s resistance and thus was finally liquidated (Susanti and Rohman 13). After the termination of the VOC, Daendels was appointed by the King of Holland to be the Governor of Java. Later on, the governor took over the producing and exporting of the tropical trading crops while the priyayi (high noble Javanese) took care of the obliged works (Toer 11). This is actually the beginning of mutual relationship between the Dutch colonialism and the Javanese feudalism in Java.
The Dutch government tried to change and fix the systems that was established by VOC. However, women slavery did not end. Even though after the year 1860, the term “household slave” was no longer exist, the Dutch men still looked for native women in villages. The native women then would be given an authority to take care of the house and the servants of the Dutch men. This so- called “indigenous housekeeper” position was actually another word of concubine or “nyai” (Christanty 5). The term “nyai” in Java at that time had actually two meanings in a very contradictive way: it can refer to a wife of an islamic noble man (kyai) while on the other hand it can also mean a mistress of a Dutch master. A nyai usually came from the lower class due to their poor condition. During their colonization, the Dutch made it almost impossible for the indigenous people to make their fortune, thus being a nyai seemed like a promising choice (Darmarastri 13). The lower class Javanese people believed that a nyai would have stability in economy and higher status in the society. However, not every nyai came from the lower class, some were from the middle and upper class Javanese. These upper class nyai were usually willingly given by their own parents in order to get a promotion or to secure their position in a Dutch’s company (14).
Kebanyakan perempuan yang menjadi nyai berasal dari keluarga petani maupun keluarga kelas bawah lainnya yang dijual orang tua mereka untuk mencukupi kebutuhan ekonomi keluarga. Ada juga diantara nyai itu yang berasal dari keluarga priyayi. Nyai yang berasal dari keluarga priyayi ini biasanya diserahkan ayahnya kepada orang Belanda ataupun orang Eropa lainnya untuk mengamankan kedudukan dan jabatan sang ayah (14).
(Most of the women who became a concubine came from a labor family or other lower class families, in which they were sold by their own parents in order to fulfil the family’s needs. However, some of them were from the high noble Javanese families. The concubines who came from the upper class were usually given by their father to Dutch masters or any other European men to secure their father’s career and position)
The Dutch government did not grant any permission of the Dutch men to marry the native women nor to make the women as a concubine because it was regarded as an action that could ruin the Dutch’s pure blood. However the Dutch government could not control all of their men to obey them, thus they pretended not to notice any “praktek pergundikan” that happened in Java as long as those concubines remain “invisible” to the society. This laws brought huge disadvantageous to the native women that were taken as a concubine because they did not exist in the eye of the Dutch’s government, thus they did not have any protection. Moreover, a Dutch man usually would abandone his concubine when they got back to Netherland or decided to marry a decent Dutch woman (Taylor 262). Thus, it can be assumed that a nyai was not more than a slave who always had to serve her master and could easily be replaced by another woman, whenever the master wanted to, without her having any rights over her master’s fortune. In his essay entitled Kekuasaan dan Seksualitas )Lintasan Sejarah Pra dan Masa Kolonial), Onghokham writes that a nyai ’s status was more like a slave rather than a wife (Onghokham 18). Whenever their masters leave them, these nyai lost everything; the house, the fortune and even their own children. Since a native woman did not have a position under the Dutch’s law system, she could not be admitted as her children’s official mother. Therefore, every time a Dutch man married a Dutch woman, he had to bring his children that he had with his nyai along with him. These children had to stay with their new Dutch family which was unwillingly to accept them (Taylor 262).
The oppression toward women that happened in Java did not only come from the Dutch’s colonialism, Javanese feudalism also had a significant contribution. In the 19th century, Javanese culture placed women under men in every aspect of life. It was because Javanese people took their kings as people with “gods” characteristic. As a religius figure, a king has a full authority to demand service and absolute obedience from his wife, children and people, and anyone who was not obedient is a sinner and therefore must be prosecuted (Novianto and Handayani 103). This believe that king has a full authority over his people was adopted and practised by Javanese people. For Javanese people, family is a smaller form of kingdom, and the husband is the “king” in the family, therefore his wife and children must submit to his authority. And so Javanese women were taught how to be acknowledged as an ideal image of Javanese woman by their society; a wife had to obey whatever the husband said, a daughter had to do her father’s orders without exception, a mother’s life was only about domestic matters, an honourable woman should walk slowly and also a lot more rules that emphasized the superiority of men and the inferiority of women (Kusujiarti 128).
This combination of Javanese patriarchal values and Dutch’s colonialism created a world where native women, especially those who come from lower class, were marginalized and oppressed. Javanese aristocrats, also known as the priyayi, belonged to the dominant class for decades. According to Clifford Geertz’s book entitled The Religion of Java which has been translated to Indonesian , the term priyayi refers to the high noble Javanese or those who are related to Javanese kings (Geertz 308). When the Dutch came to Indonesia there was a mutual relationship between the Dutch and the priyayi. The Dutch government cooperated with the priyayi, or what they refer as the noble savages, in order to legitimize their power over the land.(308). The Dutch government hired the priyayi as administrators in the Dutch’s companies. Soon, since the number of the priyayi was limited, the Dutch’s government started to hire middle- class people as well. Soon, the middle-class people who worked in the Dutch’s company had the same prestige as the priyayi (upper class people). As a result of this, many of Javanese people competed with each other to get a position in one of the Dutch’s companies (308). Since the public area was only for men, women’s role was automatically reduced into not more than a property that can be sold or exchanged.
There are a lot of stories about nyai and their miserable life, however the story of Nyai Ontosoroh, a character of a nyai created by Pramodeya Ananta Toer in his novel entitled This Earth of Mankind is different from most other stories. Pramoedya Ananta Toer is considered as one of the most influential Indonesian novelist. Although he had experienced a lot of difficulty by being imprisoned by the colonial government for his role in the Indonesian revolution, then by Soekarno and Soeharto as a political prisoner, he never stopped writing. His literary works, including novels, short stories and essays, have been translated into 39 languages (Diani 35). Toer was also the only Indonesian writer that received the honour candidacy of the Nobel Prize of literature (7). As a result, he won international acclaim and his name became very popular to the international literary world, and thereby Toer successfully contributed to the significance of Indonesian literature history.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer was born on February 6th, 1925, in Blora, East Java. He succeeded in proving that he was an idealist and a dedicated writer. All of his works were inspired by political and social situations which were happening at that time. Considered as dangerous and provocative, Toer’s works were banned and he was imprisoned by the Dutch, Soekarno and Soeharto, but that did not stop Toer from writing. Most of his novels were composed while he was imprisoned including the most famous Buru Quartet which consists of This Earth of Mankind (Bumi Manusia), Child of All Nation (Anak Semua Bangsa), Footprints (Jejak Langkah) and House of Glass (Rumah Kaca).
This Earth of Mankind was translated in Indonesia by Max Lane in 1981. Max Lane was the second scretary in the Australian embassy in Jakarta. After his translation of The Buru Quartet, he was recalled back to his country. This Earth of Mankind is the first book of The Buru Quartet and is the first Indonesian book that became a candidate of Nobel Prize for Literature. Set in the early 19th century, This Earth of Mankind portrays the life of the Indonesian people under the Dutch colonization. The interesting part of the novel is the strong component of colonialism, capitalist and feminist issues which are sweetly blended in a beautiful and touching love story. The use of historical setting as its background also becomes the strength of this novel. In addition, Toer knew how to apply powerful language in composing his novels. The New York Times Book Review writes; “(Pramoedya) is a master, and a brilliant one, at setting out an intricate web of motivation, character and emotion.” Even though the main character in This Earth of Mankind is Minke, a young Javanese man, who falls in love with an extremely beautiful Indo-European young woman, Annelies Mellema, every character in the book is described strongly and thoroughly so that the readers might feel that every character is special and not easily forgotten.
One of the important characters in the book is Sanikem, which is also known as Nyai Ontosoroh. Sanikem was born in a respected Javanese family. Her father, Sastrotomo, was the only person in the village who could read and write. With his ability, Sastrotomo was able to work in a big factory as a clerk. He worked very diligently and his salary and commission rose every year, but he was not satisfied. He always wanted a higher position; a cashier of the Tulangan sugar factory in Sidoarjo, a job that he believed would raise him up higher in the eyes of the world. Finally, one day Sastrotomo dream came to reality. He was promised a position as a cashier by Tuan Besar Kuasa, a rich Dutch man, along with the agreement that he would give his daughter, Sanikem, who was only 14 years old, to Tuan Besar Kuasa – not to be married but to become his concubine or nyai. Sastrotomo accepted the agreement without thinking about Sanikem’s feeling. He believed that as a father he had every right to determine his children’s future without having to listen to what they want. This inequality between men and women is sharpen by the existence of the Dutch colonialism. Because of the colonialism, Sanikem’s position becomes more insignificant. As a Javanese woman who adopted patriarchal values and lived under the Dutch’s colonialism, Sanikem might as well as voiceless. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak refers this type of women like Sanikem as a “subaltern.” She also brought this issue in her essay entitled Can the Subaltern Speak?
It is, rather, that, both as object of colonialist historiography and as subject of insurgency, the ideological construction of gender keeps the male dominant (Spivak 82 ).
Exchanged for a position in a Dutch’s factory by her own father, Sanikem’s story shows that the condition of the Javanese women at the time was tterrible. They were oppressed by the Dutch colonization and their own culture’s feudal system without being able to fight against it. As a subaltern, Sanikem had no choice except satisfying her father’s obsession even though she had to suffer from it, and her mother could not do anything about it. The character of Sanikem’s mother is depicted as weak, someone who does not have any significance role in the family, let alone in the society. Her role in the story is really insignificant and unimportant that she is nameless. Sanikem’s mother is a typical of passive and submissive Javanese women who thinks that her husband’s words are God’s will, therefore she must obey him. When her husband sells their daughter, Sanikem, to a Dutch master, she has no power to prevent it even though she really disagrees with it. Thus, Sanikem hated his father for being so cruel and her mother as well, for being so submissive and powerless. She also despises the Dutch because they are the primary reason that she suffers. If it were not for pleasing the Dutch men, she would not have to live a life as a concubine. It leads Sanikem to the awareness of the oppression toward the native women as well as realizes that the oppression is caused by the colonialism. This moment becomes a signifier of Sanikem’s personality shifting, she demands herself to be strong and not to be dependent to a man. She wants to be different from her mother, so that if she ever has any daughter, her daughter will not have the same faith as hers.
The writer is really interested in this issue and thus wishes to analyze these three characters in order to find out whether or not that they are aware of the oppression and how they deal with it. The writer also wishes to examine why the social system in that era leads to the women oppression and and how they relate to each other.
Based on the background of the study above, the writer comes up with two research questions:
1. How does the dual hierarchy of the Dutch’s colonialism and Javanese feudalism contribute to the oppression toward Sanikem?
2. How does she struggle against the oppression and what does her struglle result into?
The objective of the study intends to answer the questions as have been mentioned in the statement of the problem. This study determines to answer the questions above:
1. To examine how the social system which was built by the Dutch’s colonialism and Javanese feudalism in Java during the 19th century contributes to the inequality between men and women, through Sanikem’s case, which then also contribute to the inequality between men and women.
2. To reveal Sanikem’s awareness of the oppression and to know how she struggles against such oppression.
The study is aimed to know about the life of Javanese women under the Dutch colonization through the character building of Sanikem as depicted in Toer’s This Earth of Mankind. This study also wants to see how she becomes aware of the inequality between men and women in Javanese patriarchal system and how she views and responds to it. The writer expects that the reader could gain a comprehensive understanding about the life of Javanese women in the 19th century and get a clear picture about women slavery problem in Java at that time and learn something from it so that such thing will not happen again. Moreover, the writer also wishes that more students will be interested in Toer’s works and be encouraged to take Toer’s work for their thesis so that Toer will no longer be the forgotten of the homeland.
To keep the study in the expected field, the writer limits the characters that will be analysed in to one specific figure of Javanese women in the text which is Sanikem. The writer argues that her figure can represent all of the Javanese women that comes from the lower-middle class at that time. In spite of the fact that Sanikem comes form a Javanese familiy that still holds Javanese traditions, her being taken as a concubine by a Ditch man changes her personality. There is a personality shifting in Sanikem when she learns the Dutch’s values about equalityt between men and women which is interesting to be discussed further. The writer will only focus in analysing the Sanikem’s character and therefore other characters which will be mentioned are only to support the analysis and will not be discussed further.
The social system which are going to be discussed in this thesis is the particular social stratification system which was applied in Java during the Dutch’s colonization. The thesis focuses on how the social stratification built by the Dutch’s colonialism and Javanese feudalism altogether contributes to the oppression towards the lower-middle class Javanese women at that time through the figure mentioned. Therefore, the writer will not analyse any women’s oppression and social system in elsewhere unless it is needed to sharpen the analysis. Furthermore, historical and cultural background of Java in the 19th century will also be used to support the data and the analysis. The limitation is not aimed to narrow the analysis, otherwise it is needed to gain a deeper and more comprehensive analysis.
The writer applies feminist criticism as the fundamental element in order to get a deep analysis since it discusses women’s life in society. Feminist criticism believes that the inferior position long occupied by women in patriarchal society has been culturally, not biologically, produced (Tyson 84). More specifically, the writer applies one of feminist criticism branches which is Postcolonial feminist criticism. Post-colonial feminism focuses on the problem of race, class, and colonialism issues that are related to women’s life.
In every colonized countries, the colonizers are the most powerful. They legitimize their authority by creating a social stratification where each’s position ia defined by their race. The colonizers always occupy the highest class and the colonized people must be satisfied with the lowest one. This classism has a complicated relation with capitalism and patriarchal society where they become the root of women's subordination which then lead to an oppression. This value is maintained because it serves the interests of capital and the upper class. Since the text chosen talks about exactly the same issue, postcolonial feminist criticism is suitable in helping the writer to get a deep analysis that answers the problems mentioned.
Literature is not only a unique phenomenon, it is also an organic one in the sense that its meaning and function are not very clear (Endraswara 7). Therefore, literary research will need to reveal the most fundamental elements in literary works and interpret it according to the theoretical background. In order to support the analysis, the writer implements qualitative research methods. Qualitative research methods are complex, changing, and contested field-a site of multiple methodology and research practices. In Introduction to Social Research, Two Bridge, Punch states that qualitative data can be defined as empirical information about the world, not in the form of number (Punch 59). Hence, Denzin and Lincoln also state that qualitative research is a situated activity that locates the observer in the world and consists of a set of interpretive, material practices that make the world visible. This method of research involves the studied use and collection of a variety of empirical materials—case study; personal experience; introspection; life story; interview; artifacts; cultural texts and productions; observational, historical, interactional, and visual texts—that describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in individual (3). Therefore, since the study focuses on literary work particularly a novel, qualitative method is believed as the most applicable theory in conducting the research.
In additional, library research, both digital and non-digital, is also used in collecting more information. The writer uses all kinds of sources provided such as books, newspapers, magazines, articles and etc.. After that, the writer distinguishes the informations which are useful from those wich are not and then quotes the useful ones in order to sharpen the analysis.
In this paper, postcolonial-feminist criticism is applied as the main tool to analyze the problems. Postcolonial-feminism believes that the social system built by the colonizer has a huge contribution to the oppression towards women. Based on the theoretical assumption, the writer will explore and discuss the social system of Java in the 19th century and its corelation to women oppression. As it is known that Java has a very complicated and structural system, the implementation of women oppression is inevitably huge. Since the traditional Javanese system divides its structures in to several degree of classes, the writer of the thesis also sharpens the analysis by presenting the historical condition of Javanese feudal system under the Dutch’s colonization.
Subaltern : a term that commonly refers to persons who are socially, politically, and geographically outside of the hegemonic power structure.
Postcolonial-feminism: a sub-type of feminist theory; included in the third wave feminism. Focusing on the colonized women’s problems.
Oppression : the exercise of authority or power in a cruel and unjust manner
Priyayi: high-ranking Javanese people
Nyai: a concubine; a mistress during the Dutch colonial period
In this part of the thesis, the writer will provide the main theory and other related materials that are suitable in helping to analyse the text. This thesis embodies a great deal of feminists’ ideas. It focuses on women and how they are oppressed by the system in the society which then inspires them to a struggle. More specifically, since the setting of the story is Java in the nineteenth century, when it was being colonized by the Dutch, the most suitable theory to analyse the text will be the combination of feminist criticism and post-colonial criticism which is also known as post-colonial feminism. In order to sharpen the analysis, the writer of the thesis also encloses cultural and historical approach. Cultural and historical approach are needed to prove the existence of Javanese feudalism and the Dutch’s colonialism as seen in the text, so that the condition of the background where Sanikem, as the main focus, lives in, can be revealed.
This thesis focuses on the character of Sanikem, also known as Nyai Ontosoroh and how she is oppressed by the system in the society which then makes her aware of the oppression and struggle against it. Feminist criticism is applied as the fundamental element in order to get a deep analysis of the text since the theory discusses women’s life in society. Feminist criticism believes that the inferior position long occupied by women in patriarchal society has been culturally, not biologically, produced (Tyson 84). In its movement, feminism develops into more complex and detail types, one of the types is post-colonial feminism.
Essay, 30 Seiten
Examensarbeit, 135 Seiten
Seminararbeit, 18 Seiten
Facharbeit (Schule), 19 Seiten
Diplomarbeit, 112 Seiten
Hausarbeit, 13 Seiten
Hausarbeit, 27 Seiten
Forschungsarbeit, 47 Seiten
Seminararbeit, 19 Seiten
Hausarbeit, 14 Seiten
Essay, 30 Seiten
Examensarbeit, 135 Seiten
Seminararbeit, 18 Seiten
Facharbeit (Schule), 19 Seiten
Diplomarbeit, 112 Seiten
Hausarbeit, 13 Seiten
Hausarbeit, 27 Seiten
Forschungsarbeit, 47 Seiten
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