Saturday, March 6, 2010

This Earth of Mankind

Summary by:Bbudoyono
Pramoedya told nicely the sorrow of native people under Dutch colonialism in 19th century and 20th  century Java,  Indonesia.  The setting is Wonokromo,  a small town close to Surabaya,  East Java. Minke,  the main character,  was a student of HBS,  a prestigious Dutch highschool at the time.  He met and soon fell in love with Annelies Mellema,  the daughter of Herman Mellema with Nyai Ontosoroh a.k.a Sanikem.  Herman Mellema once was the boss of a sugar factory in Tulangan.  Later he ran a ranch in Wonokromo.  Although she was born in a village,  Sanikem was so smart that she could manage her husband’s ranch,  Boerderij Buitenzorg,  to become a prosperous company.

Upon graduating from HBS,  Minke married with Annelies Mellema.  Unfortunately their happiness did not last long.  One day Maurits Mellema,  the son of Herman Mellema with his first wife in the Netherlands,  came.   He was angry and claimed his rights.  The surprise meeting with Maurits was  really a shocking experience for  Herman Mellema.  He was so depressed and finally he fell to alcohol addiction and prostitution.  The next blow was for his wife Nyai Ontosoroh,  Minke and Annelies.  The Amsterdam trial did not admit Nyai as Herman Mellema’s legal wife and decided to take over Herman Mellema’s asset.  They also did not admit Minke’s marriage to Annelies and ordered  Annelies in Maurits Mellema’s custody.  Annelies Mellema must move to the Netherlands.  This verdict  creates protest from native people.

The execution of the verdict was a bloodshed.  Nyai’s body guard fought with arm so that the Dutch government used armed police.  Finally Annelies was forced to go to the Netherlands.

Pramoedya succesfully described in this novel the evil of colonialism like racial discrimination,  injustice and ferocious law,  which is blind to social reality,  selfish and immoral.  Monogamy is not always better than polygamy.    Monogamy make Nyai Ontosoroh’s rights are oppressed.   If they were polygamist,  their rights would have been protected.  At least Nyai Ontosoroh would be admitted as a wife. 

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails