The presence of political events and wayang stories integrated into modern Indonesian novels is an interesting fact. Political events are facts and knowledge, while wayang stories and novels are fiction and imagination. These two things can be brought together coherently in modern Indonesian novels. Political events are used as historical settings, while wayang stories are used as references for character development, plot, and cultural references. This study aims to
describe the way the authors reveal political events in Indonesian history by using wayang as a narrative medium. This article focuses on two novels, namely Amba by Laksmi Pamuntjak and Pulang by Leila S. Chudori. The two novels have one thing in common, both of which highlight the political event of the 30 September Movement of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965, which is usually referred to as G30S/PKI, and the political life under the New Order regime which was integrated intensively with wayang stories. From the point of view of Indonesian political history, the two novels raised the issue of the political policies of the
New Order government to dissolve the Indonesian Communist Party and communism. The policy is considered to be imposed also upon people who were actually not involved, were not sympathizers, and did not even know what really happened. From the standpoint of wayang culture, wayang characters are referred to in naming the novel’s characters. In Amba, the plot refers to the wayang story about the love triangle between Amba, Salwa, and Bhisma. In fact, Amba, whose name is the title of the novel, is also the name of a wayang character. In Pulang,
Dimas considers the wayang characters Bima and Ekalaya as a metaphor for himself. Bima is considered as a metaphor for himself in matters of love, while Ekalaya is a metaphor for the love of the country even though he is exiled. Dimas, who lives as an exile abroad, is a victim of the purge of communism by the government.


political setting, wayang story, G30S/PKI, exile, modern Indonesian novels

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)