The Woman Construction in Lan Fang’s Short Story Collection Yang Liu (A Feminist Study)



The Woman Construction in Lan Fang’s Short Story Collection Yang Liu (A Feminist Study); Nurul Aini; 108 pages; Departement of Indonesian Literature, Faculty of Humanities, Jember University

This research aims to reveal man power upon woman, existentialist state of woman character, and the construction of woman in Lan Fang’s Short Story Collection. The research uses a descriptive qualitative method and treats a structural and feminist approach. A structural approach is choosen to easily understand the intrinsic elements in the story, such as theme, character and characterisation, and conflict. To do the analysis, the research uses feminist, existentialist and constructivist theory.

Having analysed four Lan Fang’s short stories by using structural approach, an overview is drawn as follows: the major theme found in “Cerita Ini Dimulai dari Tengah” short story tells about a woman struggle in fighting for her husband despotism. The major theme is supported by the minor ones, they are: (1) that a hardwork leads to the desired achievement and (2) that husband’s betrayal triggers a criminal action of wife. The main character in the story is Lan Fang. Yet the subordinate characters are lawyer and husband. The story has an interpersonal physical conflict between Lan Fang and her husband, and Lan Fang versus the lawyer.

The short story “Yang Liu” offers a major theme telling that woman who live under the pressure of myth will live under fear. The major theme is drawn upon a minor theme telling about (1) the tradition and belief of Chinese funeral. It has Lan Fang as the main character, and ‘aku’ (I) as the subordinate character. The conflict told in the story is a mental conflict within one’s self, namely between Lan Fang and I as her own mind.

The major theme of  “Ulang Tahun Koko” short story elaborates about a hard life of a woman who decided to live by herself. The major theme stands behind a minor one, namely that (1) happiness cannot be measured in amounts of money. The story has I as the main character, yet its subordinate characters are Koko and Pak Hendra. It has both interpersonal physical and mental conflict, namely between I and Pak Hendra; and between I and herself, respectively.

The short story “Bayi Ketujuh” tells that a woman who loses her right of her own genitals will suffer.  The major theme is drawan upon a minor theme telling about (1) a strong belief in Chinese tradition. Lan Fang is the main character in the story, yet husband and mother-in-law are the subordinate ones. The conflict happenned in the story is an interpersonal physical one, namely that happens between Lan Fang and mother-in-law and Lan Fang and husband.

Having discussed the short stories guided by existentialist feminist theory, a general idea is found that man power upon woman is triggered by social construction among society. It is the society who constructs that wife must obey her husband, that man is always right, that woman cannot works and mothers at the same time, and that woman is forever subordinate to man. The women characters in four short stories are describes as independent, critical-minded, and able to show their existence so that society can admit. They also dare to bear a full responsibility of any consequences of their actions.

Having analysed by using constructivist theory, the general view drawn in the stories is that woman has patriarchally constructed. Woman’s social role, gender division of work, the way woman should behave, and even the category of a beautiful woman are all constructed in patriarchal mind. Any conception of an ideal woman brings all the advantage to the patriarch.

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