The Earth Of Mankind Analysis

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The Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer is a novel which focuses on main protagonist Minke in the 1890’s Dutch colonized Indonesia. During the 1890’s in Indonesia, the social classes were segregated from the upper-class Europeans, to the mixed-race Indonesians in the middle and native Indonesians at the bottom. Furthermore, women were shown as characters that were weak. Throughout the novel, Toer writes about the women’s limited voice and power in society as Nyai Ontosoroh and Maiko were both concubines, Annalies was characterized as fragile, whilst Magda Peters was depicted as a teacher who was fired for speaking her mind. Although Toer portrays the women as as a social group inferior to men of all classes as well as characters that…show more content…
Although main protagonist Annalies in the beginning is portrayed as confident and well spoken, she is soon characterized as weak after falling in love, often “falling ill longing for Minke” (197) and “if he left her it would break her” (253). Her dependence on Minke conveyed the idea that women needed emotional attention from men in order to feel strong. Furthermore, Maiko required the business of Babah Ah Tjong for income despite his treatment of his prostitutes as she says “If I was exposed again, I would fall at five dollars and become street rubbish” (171), showing her dependence on Ah Tjong simply to remain alive. Similarly, Magda Peters was fired by the head of HBS because she was teaching Minke about the corrupted deeds the Dutch were performing to Indonesia and had no input in his decision. Toer wanted to convey the interpretation of women as inferior to men in the novel in order to educate Indonesian audiences about the effects of colonialism. Therefore, women in the novel are portrayed as helpless, voiceless and unable to make choices, despite their…show more content…
Toer utilizes the women’s strong mentalities to convey the idea that strength from within can alleviate adversities and suffering. Nyai Ontosoroh was described as someone who “was aware of her character and surroundings” (70), as well as someone who was capable of running the Mellema’s agricultural business in Buitenzorg. She is one of the characters who introduces Minke to having an open-mind through her European way of thinking, despite being a native concubine. Nyai tells Annalies and Minke that “Mama never herself dependent on him” (88) referring to Hermann Mellema, as she had to be there for her children during the rise and tumultuous fall of her husband’s emotional state after meeting Maurits Mellema, which shows her emotional strength and self-dependence. Similarly, Maiko needed to be quick-witted and well spoken after being thrown out of numerous brothel houses and hiding her syphilis from Ah Tjong. Other characters in the novel, such as Magda Peters also help aid Minke by teaching him not only about the enormous Dutch influence in the indies, but also to remain true to his native roots even though she was berated from doing so by the head of HBS. While women did not have as much power and influence as men in the novel, Toer wanted to juxtapose their inner struggle living in a Dutch ruled Indonesia with their strong mentalities and thick skin with

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