Ethnic Literature and Postcolonialism In Barta’s ; “Gadis Tangsi” Reading by using Postcolonial theory
The definition of ethnic literature “is literature like any other, except that it contains ethnic references.” (Reilly p.2). Another definition of ethnic literature is when there is a literature work that contain religious beliefs, racial issues, linguistics, or cultural heritage. In another word, ethnic literature is the literary work that includes particular culture, beliefs, or linguistics distinction. Postcolonial literary theory draws attention in the issue of cultural difference emerging in the society. One of the issues which may often appear during the class discussion is hybridity. It seems that people who have been faced by the fact that they are living in a ‘hybrid world’ tend to be confused by their real status. They realize for their interest, but they can not avoid the possibility becoming ‘in between’. Although , they are included into one part, the native part, but on the other hand they can not deny the deep feeling to be pleasant considering themselves different with the other. There is a kind of more value they have compared with their surround, and they think it is worthy to be kept. Of course, this feeling comes into their mind by some reasons. There must be an additional value added into their original culture. The additional value may be in the form of a new ideology, belief or view which are brought by the dominating. The dominated rarely conscious with the impact. They usually only feel that it is a natural process which become the impact of daily social interaction they are engaged in. Another issue which emerges in postcolonial discussion is about dominated-dominating one. We can not expect who actually take the role as ‘dominating’ or ‘dominated’. The practice may turn over, the dominated may become the dominating in the same time toward different object, vice versa. We are also introduced by ‘Otherness’ theory. It makes someone consider that she or he are different from the other, and other people is not the same with her or him. Gadis Tangsi tells a story about a girl life, namely Teyi. She is a Javanese girl who grew up in the Javanese tradition. She lives with his parents and sibling in tangsi area. She was taught to become an obedient girl by her mother with many limitations as a girl. She helps her mother to sell fried bananas every day. Teyi finds herself limited by some rules which are considered as the right rules for her mother. She even does not know how ‘love’ or how to be ‘loved’ by a man. She was taught to be a polite woman. She finally finds who she is when she is introduced to Putri Parasi by Ndara Tuan Kapten Sarjubehi who has helped her. That is the beginning of her new experience to recognize a new world, the world that she has never imagined before. Putri Parasi teaches her everything to be ‘a good lady’. Putri Parasi likes Teyi for her politeness. She more likes Teyi after being saved when her disease comes immediately. Putri Parasi expects to teach her how to behave well. She even teaches Teyi to speak Dutch. Teyi starts to be able to read and write. Putri Parasi really wants to prepare her to be taken to Surakarta Keraton and introduced her to a man who will be married with her. She plans to make Teyi deserve to have a husband from Keraton families. In the novel Gadis Tangsi written by Suparto Brata, we can see some unexpected phenomenon occur. It makes me realize that actually there are still many things covered even by what Javanese people considered as ‘budaya adiluhung’. The word ‘politeness’, ‘hospitality’ and ‘dignity’ which come into people mind when they heard about Javanese culture become blur after they read this novel. Javanese woman who is considered as an obedient woman and become a mercy for whom takes her as a wife may be surprised by what Suparto tells about Teyi and Dumilah. He brings them in this novel as representative of Javanese woman...
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