This Earth of Mankind Essays

Words: 1603
Pages: 7

Throughout Pramoedya Ananta Toer's novel, This Earth of Mankind, a multitude of social justice issue arise amongst the Dutch colonization of Indonesia. The European cultural influence truly suffocated the local natives to the point where social structure and class took precedence over knowledge, talent, and experience. Native Indonesians where seen as inferior to the Dutch colonials and race was thus correlated with class. Race refers to whether someone is Native Indonesian, Indo, or European. The Dutch and those from European descent where assumed to be the most civilized, cultured, and superiorly educated. Indos are associated with the middle class and Natives occupy the lowest class. It was hard for individuals to break these cultural …show more content…
Through Minke’s friendship with Annelies, Nyai reveals herself as a strong, loving, and honorable mother. Minke relates Nyai to his own mother, but quickly corrects himself stating, “Beware, don’t equate her with mother. She is just a nyai, living in sin, giving birth to illegitimate children, low in moral character, selling honor to live easily and in luxury.” (32) Minke believes this because Nyai has devoted her life to a man without being bonded by marriage. Traditionally, nyai are only responsible for the household and to bear children. This conflicts with Nyai’s situation because she carries out many more duties. Nyai is not only the caretaker of her child and the household, but she also runs her husband’s business. Minke is able to look beyond Nyai’s sex and caste because of her sophistication and success. “There were too many new things, which my teachers had never mentioned, that proceeded from her lips. Remarkable.” (46) His admiration of Nyai stemmed from the numerous days and nights he began to spend with the family. Minke was falling in love with Annelies and as their relationship strengthened so too did his respect and awe for Nyai. These cultural and gender based barriers where being broken down through respectful and intellectual dialogue and the mutual acceptance of each individual. Annelies also provides an important perspective on Minke’s mindset transformation. The attitude of Annelies extends beyond the bounds considered normal for