Saturday, January 25, 2020
Narration and Perspective in Pramoedyas Inem Essay -- Asia Narrative
Narration and Perspective in Pramoedya's Inem Tradition represents an integral component of one's cultural identity, and this is especially so in this rapidly changing world which we live in, where the boundaries between different cultures are increasingly being blurred and distorted by the process of globalisation. While traditions do define the beliefs, practices and collective experiences of a people, the continued existence of certain socio-cultural institutions in which discriminatory and repressive measures still persist cannot be condoned. It is this very dimension that Pramoedya addresses in his short story, "Inem": The narrator's reminiscences of his childhood perform a serious social commentary and incisive social critique of various repressive traditional institutions in Indonesian society, such as the practice of child-brides (i.e. the forced socialisation of children), as well as the intransigent nature of prevailing patriarchal attitudes towards women and subsequent treatment they receive in the author's socio-cult ural milieu. The story achieves, albeit subtly, a powerful condemnation of these facets, which is presented artfully through a duality in the narration - a child's naÃ ¯ve perspective and circumscribed knowledge to describe the course of events as they happened, alongside the mature, retrospective voice, which also provides a highly mimetic depiction of life in this society. It might be pertinent and helpful here to first discuss the structure of the narrative itself, for there are several elements in the sequencing of the discourse that contribute in no small way to the overall effect of the narration/narrator. The narrative begins in media res (beginning in the midst of the action at a crucial junct... ...d in the narration. This is ultimately left to the sub-text, of what is left unsaid. It is quite clear where the author stands on the issues the short story raises, and through the naÃ ¯vetÃ © in the children's perspective presented in the narrator's recollections, an intense and vivid resemblance to reality in this very retrospection, and the narrative sequencing that remorselessly directs the story towards the concluding tragedy - a powerful and scathing, if not sober, social critique on the nature of tradition, adhering to correct social behaviour and resistance to change is shaped and conveyed. Bibliography Chatman, Seymour. "Narration: Narrator and Narratee". Reading Narrative Fiction. New York: Macmillan, 1993. 90-97. Pramoedya Ananta Toer. "Inem". Contemporary Literature of Asia. Arthur Biddle et al (ed.) Blair: Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1996. 139-148.
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