Characters in Che Husna Azhari's Mariah

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In this short story, it introduced some characters who are Mariah, Cik Yam, the Imam, Cik Gu Nab, Cik Gu Leh, Sheikh, and Sheikh’s daughter. In the beginning of the story, Mariah is appeared. She is a beautiful widow who is always wears kebaya. She is a nasi seller in Molo. She sells nasi which are nasi dagang, nasi kerabu and nasi berlauk. ( page 1,) Mariah is a punctual person. Every morning at seven sharp she will walk past the market entrance into the village square to sell her nasi. As a bonus, she also has a sensuous movement as the men will mesmerize when she swaying her hips. (page 1, paragraph 2) Besides that, she is an independent woman. Mariah is living alone as her husband already passed away soon after their marriage. She earns money to support his life by selling nasi. (page 2, paragraph 6). However, she is not a religious person as she is untutored in religion sine she was a child. Because of this, she agreed to marry the Imam as he can teach her about religion. ( page 13, )

Cik Yam is a wife of the Imam, she is characterized as a perfect wife based on the sentence “The Imam looked at his wife with obvious pride. There was not a living man in Molo who did not envy him for having such a devoted wife”. Sadly, she has childless problem. But, it doesn’t mean that she cannot be a good wife. Cik Yam is a good cook and becomes a model for other womenfolk. Her culinary skill was excellent and her housekeeping was a model to be followed by other womenfolk in the village. One could always call at the Imam’s house at any time of the day, guaranteed to be greeted by a well-turned-out wife, hot tepung and fragrant surrounding. Plus, she is defensive an unbiased. This can be seen from the way she disregards the gossips about Mariah. Cik Yam defends Mariah when Cik Gu Nab accuses Mariah enticing the men in the village including the Imam. Cik Gu Nab also claimed that Mariah put ‘something’ in her nasi to make the men hell-bent on eating breakfast at her place but Cik Yam doesn’t believe it. (page 4,)

The main character in this story is the Imam. The Imam is a pious man and a friend of Cik Gu Leh. He was conducting kulliyahs, performing prayers and even paying courtesy calls on the Sheikh’s behalf. Besides, he is also being respected by all people in the village. The quarrelsome couple will listen attentively to Imam’s sermon an exhortation to peace. ( page 3, ). He fell in love with Mariah who reminds him to his long lost love, Sheik’s daughter.

Cik Gu Nab is a hopeless cook. She cannot cook well like Cik Yam. It can be seen when Cik yam questioning herself why is the most feared thing by women which is polygamy must happen to her but not to the lazy Cik Gu Nab. She couldn’t even fry the egg properly. ( page 11) A malicious characteristic is also portrayed by her when she accused Mariah was enticing the men in the village to eat breakfast at her place. Even worst, she claimed that Mariah had put ‘something’ into her nasi to make the men enticed. (page4). (page 5)

Cik Gu Leh is a husband of Cik Gu Nab. He is Imam’s good friend. It is proven when he is the one who became the Imam’s emissary and helped him to propose Mariah. (page 13). On the other side, he is the most persistent to eat nasi berlauk at Mariah’s place and urged Imam to follow him too. ( page 6)

Sheikh’s daughter is just a supportive character who is exists in the Imam’s past. She is the Imam’s first sight love. Imam fell in love with her at a very first time he saw her at the well. The last character presents in this story is the Sheikh. The Sheikh is a person who was responsible for tutelage of the Imam. ( page 9)

The story begins with the exposition of Mariah as the beautiful Nasi Berlauk seller. It describes how Mariah’s beautiful figure appears as she walks as in “ all eyes were transfixed on a figure coming through the entrance. It was the figure of a woman”. Her attitudes seemed to mesmerize the men and glue...
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