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Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 31 (3) Sep. 2023 / JSSH-8766-2022


Social Abject(ion) and Subjectivity in “Dongeng Penebusan”, A Short Story by Mona Sylviana

Rasus Budhyono, Aquarini Priyatna and Lina Meilinawati Rahayu

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2023


Keywords: Agency, dual narration, feminist criticism, social abject(ion), subjectivity, the poetic

Published on: 22 September 2023

“Dongeng Penebusan” is a short story by Mona Sylviana (Mona), an Indonesian woman writer. Conveyed through dual narration, it raises the theme of social abject(ion) that centers around two characters, Samsu, who wants to redeem his past, and his ex-lover Laksmi, whom he left years before. Combining a feminist approach and close reading, we aim to ‘listen’ to voices articulated through the dual narrative technique and the poetic language, which fuses the symbolic and the semiotic. Whereas Samsu is presented as verbally active, Laksmi is depicted as a silent woman who moves in a limited space and motion. Laksmi’s seemingly passive attitude manifests her active subjectivity. In the story, the dual narration regulates voices by weakening Samsu’s voice and amplifying Laksmi’s subjective and authoritative voice. The poetic is employed to depict the unspeakable, atrocious abject situation. The story presents social abjection as an experience that involves specific strategies and degrees of rejection and acceptance. “Dongeng Penebusan” exemplifies how through her agency woman uses non-violence to maintain subjectivity and reject the presence of a male abject while denigrating his subjectivity.

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