Introduction to Language and Culture

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ANALYZING A LITERARY WORK
PART ONE
Select a Malaysian short story in English. Try to obtain an overall sense of what happens in the story. Then, concentrate on identifying who it happens to (the protagonist), who or what stands in the protagonist’s way or presents a conflict (the antagonist), and the key incidents of the plot. Complete the following plot summary:

Title of story:After the War
Author:Anwar Ridhwan (Translated by Ungku Maimunah Tahir) 1.Who is the protagonist of the story?
Masitah.
2.Indentify the antagonist(s).
Jali, son of Masitah.
3.Quote the exact lines in the story which introduce the point of conflict.
‘You love him more than us.’ Sumi ventured to say for both her sister and herself.
‘Because he’s fairer than us, right?’ Salmi chimed in, ‘and he’s a boy.’ 4.Briefly, in four to eight complete sentences, list the incidents which complicate the conflict.
The incident which complicates the conflict is when the question about Jali’s complexion is raised by Masitah’s daughters. They are confused because Jali’s skin colour is different from their ripe sawo complexion. This question always hurts Masitah and brought back painful memory which she is trying to forget. 5.Directly quote the section of the story which is the climax, the highest point of tension.

‘Mother, I almost molested Khatijah the daughter of....’
‘You are no different from your....’
6.List what loose ends are taken care of in the solution part of the story.
i.After Masitah listened to Jali’s confession, she went to see Khatijah’s mother, told her everything and begged for forgiveness. Khatijah’s mother agreed that the incident should remain a family secret.

ii.Masitah’s fear and painful memory of the past gradually subsides with Jali going away to study in Tokyo. While Jali is away, she could finally suppress all her past and continue living with her husband and two daughters. 7.Identify three examples of foreshadowing in the story. Quote specific lines for each then explain what the lines foreshadow.

First quote:
‘But for the past twenty years that distance had never ceased to haunt her, as though it had set some “thing” there to disturb her.’
What is foreshadowed:
In this first quote, it portrays Masitah’s fear every time she takes her bath every morning because twenty years ago, she was raped by a Japanese soldier.
Second quote:
‘A strange feeling gripped him, as though he was going to lose something that day.’
What is foreshadowed:
In the end of the story, Budin did ‘lose’ something that day. His only son, Jali, is going away to Tokyo for five years.

Third quote:
‘You are no different from your...’
What is foreshadowed:
When Jali confessed about what he had done, Masitah nearly revealed Jali’s true identity but she stopped her intention and cried instead. She never told Jali the truth until the day he left for Tokyo.

PLOT SUMMARY
The events in this story happen only within a day but the flashback technique brings us to the past by the main character’s memory of every incident in her life. This is a short story about how a woman named Masitah lived her life after she was raped by a Japanese soldier during the war just a month after her wedding, later bore the man’s child and had to carry the burden and secret all through her life. Masitah had always feared that someone is going to harm her every time she takes her bath in the morning. Then, one day her greatest fear came true when she was raped by an unknown man on her way back home. Masitah never had the courage to tell Budin, her husband about it even though three months later she realised that she was pregnant by the terrible incident. Subsequently, Masitah had to live her life carrying the burden and secret. She had to watch the boy, whom she named Jali grew up in front of her eyes but Budin was so proud of Jali. Within a period of time, Masitah had two daughters with Budin named Salmi and Sumi. They...
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