"Pramoedya's The Girl from the Coast tells the story of a beautiful young woman from a fishing village who finds herself in an arranged mar...
|Scooped by Ayelen|
The book The Girl from the Coast was written by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. In this book there is a young girl of the age of 14 who is the main character. The book opens with a description of the girl while she is riding in a carriage from the fishing village that she grew up in to a large city she has never seen before. She is taken away from her village to become the wife of a noblemen she has never met. She learns soon after her parents have dropped her off that her life will never be the same. She learns that nobility live in fear and solitude; the nobility have a very fragile relationship with everyone that surrounds them and could easily be broken from day to day. Her life is miserable once she arrives not understanding how anything in her life was supposed to work out anymore until her servant aides her in learning the ways inside the household. She is taught to make batik which is an art in which you sew and add designs and colors to cloth, she learns how to remain silent, she learns how to rule over others, and she learns that she is to do what her husband wants. She most also learn religion as her husband, the Bendoro, is a sort of priest that also deals with government affairs. She has to learn to cope with her new life until years pass and the "Girl from the Coast" finally returns home where tragedy strikes and changes her views on the new life she was leading. Upon returning home she discovers she is pregnant but bore a daughter. Upsetting the Bendoro she is forced out of the home and to leave her daughter behind.
The main theme in this story is based on human rights. The "Girl from the Coast" is forced away from her village to become the wife of the Bendoro. They do not have a formal wedding but he is her husband. However, she soon learns that the Bendoro has had several wives before her who each have bore one child and then mysteriously are sent home. She also learns the cruel fate that she is the Bendoro's servant and most do what he wishes her to do when he says it. She also learns that she is what is known as a "practice wife" among nobility. A "practice wife" is a commoner that a nobleman desires to be his "wife" and they are not formerly married but are to be considered as husband and "wife". A real wife is a woman who is of equal stature as he is and that is whom he will live out his life with. Once she lives out her life she eventually becomes pregnant. Of course back in those days men wanted their wives to bear sons and not daughters. However, the "Girl from the Coast" has a baby girl. The Bendoro became very upset with this and called her father from the village to come and fetch his daughter because her divorced her just by saying they are divorced. She is then forced to leave her child behind to be taken care of by the servants.
This book was extremely interesting. It is a book set in Indonesia that deals with nobility that the Indonesian government did not want to leak out. This book turns out to be true because the author based this story on his grandmother's life. There are no chapters so the book kept pushing me to keep on reading. I wanted to keep learning what was happening to her and I kept hoping they would finally mention her name but they never do. It just kept me reading wanting to learn her name and knowing if she could continue on living as his wife or if her fate would be the same as the other women. I really enjoyed learning about life from an outsider coming in. It's harsh to realize that women have no rights in several parts of the world. It's difficult to understand how in the United States women fought for years, they went to jail, they defied their husbands just to have the same rights as men but still that thought is untouched in large parts of the world. Its sorrowful to be with the main character throughout her entire journey from being torn away from her life to torn away from her child. I think that this is a book I could recommend to several other people.