AMERICAN’S PERSPECTIVE OF A GEISHA IN ARTHUR GOLDEN’S MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA
by Nikhy Ria Andrianifah RA
Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel written by Arthur Golden. Memoirs of a Geisha is the title of an American novel that claims to write about the life of Geisha in Japanese culture. It tells about a country girl named Chiyo who is sold into a Geisha house and raised to become one of the most famous Geisha before the Second World War. A Geisha is a professional female companion for men in Japan, trained in music, dancing and the art of conversation. The Geisha training is life of virtual slavery, and Chiyo become a maid to a malevolent Geisha called Hatsumono who jealous of Chiyo’s beauty, makes her life utterly miserable. One day she meets a wealthy man who comfort them with his friendly face and speaking. She knows that she will never forget him. Two years later, a Geisha called Mameha takes Chiyo under her wing. Chiyo, now renamed Sayuri, becomes a successful Geisha, renowned for her beauty. Then one day she meets the man who had comforted a couple years ago. But life does not run smoothly for Sayuri and there are powerful obstacles that prevent the two from coming together. This thesis discusses about how the American’s perspective of a Geisha is focused on the different perspectives between Western and Orient represented in the novel. Geisha is vastly known as highly skilled entertainers as well as prostitute to most westerns. However, this stereotype is emphasized only in the image of Geisha as prostitute. The attempt is to redefine the image of Geisha in order to get the fullest comprehension of Geisha as existence and cultural product. The approach used in this discussion is postcolonial approach that is suitable to apply along with the theory. Postcolonialism is generally known as term which analyzes power and political relations in countries administered by colonial powers, although postcolonial criticism revolves wide range of academic areas, including film, philosophy, and sociology. This thesis also applied Edward Said’s 8 theory of Orientalism. This research is indeed qualitative. This research requires that the data from Memoirs Of Geisha are interpreted and analyzed for having the best comprehension of the position between the west and the east. The study applies library research which is generated from many postcolonialism issues and its relation to the ‘Orientalism. Thus the data are solely taken form reliable materials such as books, papers, articles, and journals. As the result, this thesis is delivered in descriptive way to depict the east and west through orientalism.