The Contrapuntal Reading of Colonial Logic and the Play of Caricature in “Houseboy + Maid” by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Harfiyah Widiawati, Aris Masruri Harahap, Lambok Hermanto Sihombing


Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s works are highly distinguished for their strong realist characteristic and profound analysis of interactions among pre- and post- colonial human beings and their place in society. One of the works that portray such characteristics is “Houseboy + Maid”, the first story in Toer’s collection Tales from Djakarta: Caricatures of Circumstances and Their Human Beings. In this research, post-colonialism and contrapuntal reading proposed by Edward Said are used as methods to interpret a literary work whose narration is about two characters who live in post-colonial Indonesia, or rather post-revolutionary Indonesia. Their unfixed identities which are interrelated through the changing event of the plot indicates that their very destiny cannot be separated from the “politicality, sociality, and historicality” of much bigger entities.


post-colonialism; contrapuntal reading; identity; post-colonial Indonesia; post-revolutionary Indonesia

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