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Book Review

09 maret 2008 00:07

The Struggle of a Literary Author

The Struggle of a Literary Author

Judul Buku
Melayu di Mata Soeman HS (Malay in the Eye of Soeman HS.)
Eko Sugiarto
Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture-BKPBM and Adicita, Yogyakarta
1st edition, 2007
viii + 113 pages

When justice is no longer exist in the society, to fight for it is the only way. However, how to avoid it from blood is only mastered by literary authors. The struggle against culture or customs is often done by literary authors through their works. We still clearly remember the story of Siti Nurbaya that had been written into a novel as a form of struggle against custom and matchmaking culture. Therefore, Soeman HS who presented a literary work in his novel Kasih Tak Terlarai (The Unwounded Love) in 1930 as a form of fighting against Malay culture at the time.

The book Malay in the Eye of Soeman HS is an analytical insight towards Soeman‘s novel Kasih Tak Terlarai. Eko Sugiarto, the author, explores Soeman‘s novel using the Levi-Strauss‘ myth theory. Consecutively, Eko analyses the novel Kasih Tak Terlarai by conducting two basic analysis, syntagmatic and paradigmatic. Based on the syntagmatic analysis, the episodes in the novel were categorized into ten episodes. It was done based on the concept of the transformation law within the Levi-Strauss‘ structuralism that constitutes the repetition (p. 100). The paradigmatic analysis was done by finding the structure of the novel that is by making a binary opposition towards the episodes (p. 104). Based on the analysis, occurred an understanding that the story of the novel aimed to uncover the society‘s perspective towards the social status that hinders the unity of two people in love.

In the novel Kasih Tak Terlarai, Soeman HS exposes how the status of a person becomes a hindrance wall for love to meet. Through his writing, Soeman HS fights against the custom and the perspective of Malay people towards social status that determines the destiny and the mate of people. The social strata, ethnic, and descendant are the main topics which are presented in the novel. How to form a struggle without blood fighting was easily carried out by Soeman HS. He packed his novel in a neat writing with surprising effect at the end of the story that brings awareness among many social groups.

Taram, the main character, lives in a well-respected family. His love was rejected because of different social status. As a matter of the fact, Taram was only an adopted child although he was brought up in a well-respected family. The form of struggle presented by Soeman HS in this novel lies in the episode when Taram brought and runaway with his lover to faraway country after his proposal was rejected. The second struggle happened when Taram transformed into Sheikh Wahab, a distinguish ulama admitted to be originally comes from Arab. The transformation of Taram into Sheikh Wahab constitutes Taram‘s struggle to build awareness among Malay people who adore Arabian and regard them as the noblest nation than Malay (P.110). Through Sheikh Wahab or Taram, Soeman HS intends to build the awareness among Malay people of not regarding certain ethnic or nation as the noblest. Nobility or descendant is not a parameter in esteeming a person. Thus Taram is presented as the symbol of struggle.

This book is a critical study on literature. The detailed expositions enable the reader to easily grasp the description of the story of Kasih Tak Terlarai without having to read the whole parts of the original novel. The analysis also sharpens the explanation and the meaning of the story. Its consecutive systematic and understandable language can be understandable reference and model to analyze a literature.


By : Nanum Sofia

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