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The Power and Limitains of Women in This Earth Of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

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In the novel This Earth Of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, discrimination against social structure, race, and gender is apparent. The setting is in the Indies, or now called Indonesia. At that time, there are terms for different races in the book, which are “Native” indicating someone who is pure Indonesian, “Indo” a half European and half Indonesian, and “Pure Blood” or “European” when someone is pure European. An Indo and a Pure Blood receives more respect in society than a Native. Furthermore, European or Pure Blood is at the top of this social hierarchy, people who are European or Pure Blood receives the utmost respect in society. Differences in gender is prevalent in this novel, where most women in this book have power in their own…show more content…
Annelies is forced to stay at home and help her with the business, and does whatever she is asked to do. Robert Mellema, Nyai’s son is rebellious, but Nyai still has control over what he can or cannot do. For example, “She confronts her own eldest son, controls her master, Herman Mellema, [and] trains her youngest child to be a future administrator…” (73) At the end of the book, Nyai is a suspect for the murder of Herman Mellema, and is brought to court. The extent of Nyai’s thrall ends here, where she is made to realize that she is the in the lowest of the social hierarchy. Shown by “… Annelies was not a native, she was an Indo, and she’s above you! [Referring to Nyai].” (287) Being a concubine, and a native puts her in a low position in the social hierarchy. The court’s judgment prevails, and all that Nyai has is being taken away from her. Referring to “… to steal the fruits of mama’s hard work and everything she has strived for…” (327) In a battles against society, Nyai losses her authority, and is being constrained by the law, forcing her to lose everything she has worked for. Annelies Mellema is an Indo, which gives her the ability to control people who belong in a much lower social standing than herself, except for Nyai Ontosoroh. Annelies is the love interest of the main character of the book, Minke. She has immense control over him, for example “Annelies demanded her doll [Minke] back. And the only person she could go to was
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