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Short Book Reviews and Comparison of Reviews Name: History and Political Science Professor: Date: Short Book Reviews Colonization in the Southeast Asian countries was marked by gross exploitation of the natives and hypocrisy by the colonizers. Though the colonizers pretended to have brought civilization and modernity, these were not reflected on their practices…
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Download file to see previous pages Pramoedya Ananta Toer. This Earth of Mankind. New York: Penguin, 1996. Vol. 1 of Buru Quartet. Print. This Earth of Mankind is a novel about modernity, civilization, sex and sexuality in the society. The novel is set around the main protagonist, Minke who reflects on the real meaning of modernity, which he associates with “learning and science.”1 The idea of modernity and civilization is advanced as Minke shows his interest in electricity;2 he demonstrates modernity by using trains and smaller machines driven by oil and not steam. The novel starts by explaining factors of globalization and hence modernity. The novel also manifests the inner conflict in the main protagonists arising from conflict of interest between the colonized and the colonizer. The author utilizes the narrative approach to detail the life of the main protagonists, and how the protagonists advance the themes of colonialism, modernity, and sexuality. Through describing various inventions and developments in science, the author brings out development of modernity in the novel, and how it impacts the lives of the main protagonists. The author utilizes symbolism and descriptive language throughout the book. For example, the use of aspirin as the most powerful medicine to be discovered by humanity to symbolizes effects of modernity on humanity. The main perspective in the novel is the importance of the native Javanese culture as the main protagonists still fight to keep their identity in the society despite the rapid spreading forces of modernity that seek to abolish such cultures. This is observed through Minke who tries to find his real identity despite being in a Dutch school. The novel also brings out the ills of modernity in the society as prostitution and brothels became a status symbol in the society,3 and the oppression of the natives as seen in the rape of Annelies by Robert; a way to exert power for being associated with Europeans. The issue of mixed blood brews much conflict as Maurit’s father commits blasphemy by mixing the native and white blood, which is unforgivable. Thus the white is taken as a much superior race that cannot mix with the low class native blood. This is an issue of superiority complex, where the white is viewed as being much superior tot eh native. However, dispute the issue of mixed blood being contentious, the whites still continue to sleep with native prostitutes in brothels and to sire children with the natives, which is also mixing the native and white blood. The whites are thus hypocritical. This makes them to reconsider the racial boundaries and in some cases, the native can actually be assimilated into the white society to enjoy the prestige; an example being Minke who enjoys the prestige of the whites though from a mixed blood. Inner conflict in the main protagonists is the main aspect in the novel. Minke in his setting struggles to find his real identity in a society that ranks his native class at the lower end of social hierarchy. He is lonely and is forced to live with constant questioning by fellow students who probably were skeptical regarding his ability to make it in sciences as whites do.4 Nyai Ontosoroh faces serious inner struggles; she is a mistress to a white, though a native and is even mistreated by the same whites for being a native; she is used as a sex ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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