Dealing with the Absurd through Rebellion: An Analysis of Albert Camus’ The Plague and Iwan Simatupang’s Kering


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(1)PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI COVER PAGE Dealing with the Absurd through Rebellion: An Analysis of Albert Camus’ The Plague and Iwan Simatupang’s Kering A THESIS Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Magister Humaniora (M.Hum) in English Language Studies by Pratama Ahdi 146332036 THE GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE STUDIES SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY YOGYAKARTA 2019 i

(2) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI A THESIS Dealing with the Atrsurd through Rebellion: An Analysis of Albert Camus' Plugue and Iwan Simatupang's Kering Paulus Sarwoto. S.S.. M.A.. Ph.D. Thesis Advisor 4 Januaiy 2019 IIle

(3) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI A THESIS Dealing with the Absurd through Rebellion: An Analysis of Albert Camus' The Pl*gue and lwan Chairperscn :Dra. Secretary : Paulus N,{ernber Member Dra. Th. Enny Anggsaini" Ph.D. og-vakafta, 17 January 2019 Progran Director Universir-v- / Budi 111 S

(4) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI STATEMENT OF ORIGINALITY This is to certify that all the ideas, phrases, and sentences unless otherwise stated, are the ideas, phrases and sentences of the thesis wdter. The writer understands the full consequences including degree cancellation if he took somebody else's ideas, phrases or sentences',vithout a proper reference. Yogpakarta, 3l Ahdi iv January 2019

(5) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI LEMBAR PERNYATAAN PERSETUJUAN PUBLIKASI KARYA ILMIAH UNTUK KEPENTINGAN AKADEMIS . Yang bertanda tangan di bawah ini, saya mahasiswa Universitas Sanata Dharma, Nama Nomor : Pratama Ahdi Mahasiswa : 146332036 Demi perkembangan pengetahuan, saya memberikan kepada Perpustakaan Universitas Sanata Dharma kuryu ilmiah saya yang berjudul: Dealing with the Absurd through Rebellion: An Analysis of Albert Camts' The Plague and Iwan Simatupang's Kering beserta perangkat yang diperlukan. Dengan demikian saya memberikan hak kepada Perpustakaan Universitas Sanata Dharma untuk menyimpan, mengalihkan dalam media lain, mengelolanya dalam bentuk pangkalan data, mendistribusikannya secara terbatas dan mempublikasikannya di internet atau media lain untuk kepentingan akademis tanpa perlu meminta izin dari saya maupun memberikan royalti kepada saya selama mencantumkan nama saya sebagai penulis. Demikian pernyataan ini saya buat dengan sebenarnya. Yolyakarta, 31 Pratam Ahdi Ianraw 2019 tetap

(6) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Allah The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful. I want to express deep gratitude, respect and appreciation to my thesis advisor, Paulus Sarwoto, Ph.D., for his dedication, professional guidance and insightful advice throughout the writing process of this thesis. My sincerest acknowledgements go to the board of examiners: Novita Dewi, Ph.D., Sri Mulyani, Ph.D, and Th. Enny Anggraini, Ph.D. who devoted their precious time to the reading and evaluation of this thesis. My heartfelt acknowledgements also go to all lectures in the Graduate Program of English Language Studies for their inspiring and passionate teaching throughout my master study. I would like to thank my wife, Fahma, who always ask me to stop reading and start writing. I would like to express thanks to my daughters, Nina and Jihan, for being my greatest supporters. I also want to express gratitude to my mother for supporting me through her prayers. I am equally thankful to my faithful and reliable friends, especially in Literature class batch 2014 (Mbak Teti, Mbak Rini, Dian, Anies, Adit, Indra, Ruly, Melan, and Anggie) for providing valuable suggestions and moral supports. To everyone in the office, Bu Sitta, Pak Toriq, Pak Wendy, Bu Daisy, Bu Dilla, Bu Siti, Bu Nurul, and the staffs, thank you for making the place like a second home to me. I would also like to send my gratitude to all my friends who always support me with great books which I used during the writing process. Last but not least, I would like to give my gratitude for those whom I cannot mention individually, but surely this thesis could not be completed without their helps. vi

(7) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI PAGE OF DEDICATIONS This thesis is dedicated to Fahma, whose arms are like home to me. And also to Nina and Jihan, whose hugs are warmer than a thousand of suns. vii

(8) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI TABLE OF CONTENTS COVER PAGE ..................................................................................................................... i APPROVAL PAGE ............................................................................................................ ii DEFENCE APPROVAL PAGE ........................................................................................ iii STATEMENT OF ORIGINALITY ................................................................................... iv LEMBAR PERNYATAAN PERSETUJUAN PUBLIKASI KARYA ILMIAH UNTUK KEPENTINGAN AKADEMIS ............................................................................................. v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................. vi PAGE OF DEDICATIONS .............................................................................................. vii TABLE OF CONTENTS ................................................................................................. viii ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................ x ABSTRAK ........................................................................................................................... xi CHAPTER I ........................................................................................................................ 1 1.1. Background of the Study ...................................................................................... 1 1.2. Research Questions ............................................................................................ 11 1.3. Objectives of the Study ...................................................................................... 11 1.4. The Significance of the Study ............................................................................ 12 1.5. Thesis Outline..................................................................................................... 12 CHAPTER II ..................................................................................................................... 14 2.1. Review of Related Studies ................................................................................. 14 2.1.1. The Studies on Camus’ The Plague ............................................................ 15 2.1.2. The Studies on Simatupang’s Kering .......................................................... 20 2.2. Review of Related Theories ............................................................................... 23 2.2.1. Absurdity or the Philosophy of the Absurd ................................................ 24 2.2.2. The Problem with Death ............................................................................. 27 2.2.3. Alienation .................................................................................................... 29 2.2.4. Solidarity ..................................................................................................... 31 2.2.5. Rebellion ..................................................................................................... 33 CHAPTER III.................................................................................................................... 35 3.1. Extreme Contrast as the Ingredients of the Absurd ............................................ 35 viii

(9) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI 3.2. Alienation: The Separation from the Loved Ones, from Oneself and the Outside World ............................................................................................................................ 42 3.2.1. Individual Alienation ............................................................................... 43 3.2.2. Collective Alienation ............................................................................... 48 3.3. Disease, Disaster and Foot-Dragging Government ............................................ 52 3.4. From Individual Death to Collective Death ....................................................... 58 CHAPTER IV ................................................................................................................... 64 4.1. Embracing the Absurd ........................................................................................ 64 4.2. Being Persistence in Living Life ........................................................................ 67 4.3. Cultivating New Habits ...................................................................................... 70 4.4. Building Solidarity to Form Collective Rebellion ............................................. 73 4.5. Fighting with or without God ............................................................................. 78 CHAPTER V..................................................................................................................... 83 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................. 86 ix

(10) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI ABSTRACT Ahdi, Pratama. 2019. Dealing with the Absurd through Rebellion: An Analysis of Albert Camus’ The Plague and Iwan Simatupang’s Kering. Yogyakarta: Program Pasca Sarjana Kajian Bahasa Inggris, Universitas Sanata Dharma. This study analyzes the forms of absurdity that appear in Camus’ work entitled The Plague (1948) and the work of Simatupang entitled Kering (1985). In addition, this study also investigates how the implementation of the concept of rebellion prescribed by Camus used to deal with the absurd. Both of these novels illustrate how humans must face the absurdity of life manifested in the form of disease and disaster. The novels do not only talk about how difficult it is to live a life described by their characters who have to deal with various forms of absurdity in a city that is alienated by diseases and transmigration areas that have long suffered from drought. Both novels also illustrate how humans should act in times of crisis caused by the disease and disaster. This research rests on Camus’ concept of absurdity and rebellion. Both of these concepts are found in the book by Camus The Myth of Sisyphus (1955) and The Rebel (1956). The first book examines the definition of absurdity in Camus’s view. Whereas the second is about the forms of rebellion that require the solidarity of the humans in conflict in life. To face absurdity in human life, they should not easily submit to despair or death. According to Camus, humans should organize a rebellion against absurdity. This rebellion might not work if humans only fought alone. Therefore, as a form of social coverage of the principles and philosophy of Camus, solidarity is needed to be able to achieve a common goal. This can be achieved when people realize that they have the same fate and cooperate in their struggle to find the meaning of life, which is fighting against diseases and disasters. This social scope of Camus’ philosophy is reflected in the struggles of the inhabitants of Oran in fighting the disease in The Plague and the struggle of the citizens in Simatupang’s Kering in fighting the drought. Keywords: absurdity, rebellion, solidarity, Albert Camus’ The Plague, Iwan Simatupang’s Kering x

(11) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI ABSTRAK Ahdi, Pratama. 2019. Dealing with the Absurd through Rebellion: An Analysis of Albert Camus’ The Plague and Iwan Simatupang’s Kering. Yogyakarta: Program Pasca Sarjana Kajian Bahasa Inggris, Universitas Sanata Dharma. Penelitian ini menganalisis bentuk-bentuk absurditas yang muncul dalam karya Camus yang berjudul The Plague (1948) dan karya Simatupang yang berjudul Kering (1985). Selain itu, penelitian ini juga menginvestigasi bagaimana implementasi dari konsep pemberontakan yang diusulkan oleh Camus digunakan untuk bergelut dengan absurditas. Kedua novel ini menggambarkan bagaimana manusia harus dihadapkan kepada absurditas hidup yang dimanifestasikan dalam bentuk penyakit dan bencana. Novel-novel tersebut tidak hanya berbicara tentang bagaimana susahnya menjalani kehidupan yang digambarkan oleh karakter-karaternya yang harus berhadapan dengan berbagai bentuk absurditas dalam keadaan kota yang teralienasi oleh penyakit dan area transmigrasi yang terserang kekeringan panjang, namun novel ini juga memberikan gambaran bagaimana manusia seharusnya bersikap dalam masa genting yang diakibatkan oleh penyakit dan bencana tersebut. Penelitian ini berpijak pada konsep Camus tentang absurditas dan pemberontakan. Kedua konsep ini terdapat dalam buku karya Camus The Myth of Sisyphus (1991) dan The Rebel (1956). Buku yang pertama mengupas definisi absurditas menurut pandangan Camus. Sedangkan yang kedua tentang bagaimana bentuk-bentuk pemberontakan yang membutuhkan solidaritas dari manusia-manusia yang berkonflik dalam hidup. Untuk menghadapi absurditas dalam kehidupan manusia, mereka hendaknya tak dengan mudah berserah diri kepada keputusasaan atau kematian. Menurut Camus, manusia hendaknya menggelorakan pemberontakan terhadap absurditas. Pemberontakan ini mungkin tak akan berhasil jika manusia hanya berjuang seorang diri. Maka dari itu, sebagai bentuk cakupan sosial dari prinsip dan filosofi Camus, maka solidaritas dibutuhkan untuk bisa mencapai tujuan bersama. Hal ini bisa tercapai saat manusia menyadari bahwa mereka memiliki nasib yang sama dan bekerjasama dalam perjuangan mereka menemukan arti hidup, yaitu berjuang melawan penyakit dan bencana. Cakupan sosial dari filosofi Camus ini tergambar dalam perjuangan para penduduk di Kota Oran dalam memerangi penyakit dalam The Plague dan perjuangan para penduduk kota di novel Kering karya Simatupang dalam memerangi kekeringan. Kata Kunci: absurditas, pemberontakan, solidaritas, Albert Camus’ The Plague, Iwan Simatupang’s Kering xi

(12) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1.1. Background of the Study … [W]hat is absurd is the confrontation of the irrational and the longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart. -- Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus Anyone in the world can experience the absurd condition. A worker in an office may have struggled the entire month. He pushes himself, gives his best effort and works extending the working hours with an expectation of having extra income. However, at the end of the month, no one appreciates his works. There is no compliment from the boss, and the overtime salary transferred to his bank account is beyond his expectation or, even worse, there is no extra salary at all. On the other part of the world, one journalist may put his biggest effort to write a news about an ongoing war. He may risk his life for an accountable report. He does it in the red zone to try to keep it as accurate as possible. He does it all with the expectation that his report becomes the headline in the newspaper company where he works and it can be considered as one of his biggest achievements of working in a war zone. In short, in the due time, there is no space for his news in the front page, or even in one of the headlines in the newspaper. Other journalist might be given space in the headline with more selling infotainment. At worst, he even gets shot to death in his journey back home. Another example is that, in one hand, not a few teachers whose job is considered noble in the development of education in Indonesia, living in a sad condition, underpaid and forced to live in insufficiency despite their 1

(13) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI contribution to the country. On the other hand, people who have a lesser contribution (or even none) live in prosperity and prosperous condition. Celebrities and corrupt politicians unreasonably got a very high payment. This is considered irrational. Things happened beyond human’s expectation. The world gives no response to human’s expectation. All of these are usually called as an absurd condition. Up to this point, individuals may think that life is meaningless. There is no advantage of doing one’s best effort in life. They might think that what is the point of doing their best if, in the end, the result is beyond their expectation. What if then life has no meaning at all? What if that the meaning of life cannot be understood by a human? They may start to think of coming into despair or even to commit suicide. They may start to question the meaning of their life in the world. To study this kind of phenomenon, philosophy can be used as one of the approaches. One of the branches of philosophy closely related to this phenomena is existentialism since one of its themes is finding the meaning of life under the umbrella of the relation between human being and the world. Existentialism is believed to rise based on the works of Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. The invention of the term “existentialism” itself is later closely related to Gabriel Marcel.1 At first, this school of philosophy was initiated as a response to the Hegelian philosophy. As Hegelian philosophy strongly believes in reason, the existentialism is against it. Existentialism claims that such belief in reason is itself 1 Nicholas Bunnin and Jiyuan Yu, The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy (Victoria: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2004), p. 238. 2

(14) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI irrational and rejects all purely abstract thinking. As a replacement for abstraction, it embraces that philosophy should “deal with the lives and experiences of individuals and their historical situations”.2 The theme of existentialism study varied in many ways which include freedom, authenticity, death, meaning of life, alienation and others. However, as the study keeps on developing, the point of emphasizing becomes varied. As the existentialism movement developed, there are several branches of the movement which are well known: theistic existentialism, atheistic existentialism, and so on. This diverse development of existentialism shaped renowned theorists, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and others. Some writers or philosophers reject the label of being an existentialist, one of which is Albert Camus. Although Camus’ writings deal with the struggle of human being in questioning the meaning of life, he rejects the label of being an existentialist. However, he describes himself more like an absurdist since he believes that the focus of his writings, fiction or non-fiction, discusses the form of absurdities in human life. Therefore, this Camus’ concept is usually called The Philosophy of the Absurd. There are some general misconceptions on the concept offered by Camus. Some believe that dealing with Camus means that it will lead to pessimism, nihilism, despair, committing suicide, or others. On the other hand, discussing Camus and his works does not mean a thing in vain. Camus’ concept becomes very contextual in the discussion today. Camus, indeed, discusses absurdity but he does 2 N. Bunnin & Yu, p. 238. 3

(15) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI not end the discussion at only that point. He proposes more on the optimism of accepting the absurd, how to live life than to end it, rejecting despair, and encouraging human’s independence. These are probably caused by his longing for his background, of living in occupied Algiers, of his love to beach and summer, of love and life and his admiration on Greek mythology, especially Sisyphus and Prometheus. If we refer back to the definition of ‘absurd’ that was initiated by Camus, as a state in which human being did not meet their expectations in reality/life, then this kind of phenomenon is similar to the condition which happens in Indonesia. It is because the search for the meaning of life is very often discussed by Camus. As a follow up of the opposition (resistance) or the struggles in facing life which is full of absurdity, human should not give up. To Camus, the meeting with the absurd situation, the struggle of a human being to live just begins. It is in line with the Camus’ idea that the realization that life is absurd cannot be an end itself but only a beginning.3 Camus was born in a poor family on 7 November 1913 in Mondovi, a small town in eastern Algeria. He was inherited with the label of pied-noir, a Frenchman born in the colony and whose family had lived there for several generations. The descendants of Lucien Camus (1885-1914), which is Camus’ father, were early immigrants from the region around Bordeaux. The family of Catherine Helene Sintes (1882-1960), Camus’ mother, came from Minorca and settled in Algeria in 3 Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essay. Ed. Philip Thody. Trans. Ellen Conroy Kennedy (New York: Vintage Books, 1970), p. 201. 4

(16) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI about 1840.4 Although hardly knowledgeable, Camus’ father had an accountable position with a wine company, supervising a number of Arab workers who harvested the grapes. He served in the First Zouaves (soldiers in the French services) in 1906 in Morocco, and in 1914 was called back into service. 5 Sent to France, he was one of the first men to be wounded in the Battle of the Marne and died 11 October 1914. The death of his father forced Camus’ family to live within the financial limitations. In May 1920, Camus and his brother Lucien acquire the official status of pupilles de la nation or war orphans. It is something that forces his mother working and causes Camus to have difficulty in accessing books and knowledge. However, it is the bitterness of life that inspired Camus in his philosophical works. Camus was accepted into Lycée Bugeaud in 1923 and eventually admitted to study in University of Algiers. Camus had fallen in love with football until at one point the other bitter reality struck. It is when he was convicted of tuberculosis and had to retire early from the sport he loved. After the disaster, he wrote more often. He is deeply inspired by great writers such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Franz Kafka. Luckily his teachers, including two of Camus’ early teachers Louis Germain and Jean Grenier, always lead him to keep learning to write. Writing is something that leads him to various jobs until he is entrusted to hold an editorial in one of influential left-wing papers, Alger Republicain in cooperation with Pascal Pia. His involvement in journalism then 4 5 Adele King, Camus (London: Haus Publishing Ltd, 2010), p. 5. A. King, p. 5. 5

(17) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI develops from here. Later, Camus also involves in other journalism, including influential underground newspaper Combat which opposes German occupation in France. From here he can further explore his interest in everything, especially on the dark side of human life along with his rebellious ways, as well as his form of political attitude whether it is about his perspective on the struggle of the oppressed people in Algiers or the German occupation in France. One of Camus’ most famous writings which makes him identical with the concept of Absurdism and closer to the discussion of existentialism is The Myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus, whom he took from Greek legend, became his agent, as well as his hero, in conveying the philosophical concept of Absurdism. Sisyphus, the King of Corinth, is known as someone who really loves life and the warm sunshine, and he hates death. One day he planned to distract the plan of the gods by holding Hades as a hostage, the god of the death and the underworld, automatically it makes no one die. Ares, the god of war, is obviously outraged by what Sisyphus has done. Ares threatens to repress him for all eternity unless he releases Hades. Sisyphus finally succumbs and releases Hades from the underworld. The wrathful gods then punished Sisyphus for rolling rocks from the hilltop and then carrying them back to the top. Then roll it again. It goes on endlessly. In one point of view, it is clear that what the gods call is a futile act. However, it is not so with Camus. What he saw from Sisyphus was an act of rebellion that, in a time in which he managed to carry the stone up to the peak and at a time before the boulder rolled away, Sisyphus felt successful since he was, which is so important, fully conscious of what he was 6

(18) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI doing. In this way, he is considered to successfully rebel against the will of the gods. Therefore, according to Camus people should imagine Sisyphus happy. From the concept of Sisyphus and this absurdity, the works of Camus stand. Starting from The Stranger, The Plague, The Fall, and other works. The works tell the story of human life and the absurd world. Not only does it stop at the conversation of an encounter with an absurd world, but Camus also suggests, even semi-coerced, that humans fight this state. It is the situation where life appears as something without meaning. According to Camus, understand that life is without meaning is just the beginning. Camus believes that the artists/writers should be agents because by using to the medium of literature, writers have the ability and also the obligation to ‘encourage’ readers in living life, even without meaning. The question that always comes up when discussing Albert Camus is how contextual the discussion of Camus and his works, in this modern time. Discussing Camus would be very still contextual when we talk about his way of thinking, which is not only philosophical but also political. Orme & Margerisson argue that: Yet, whatever their changing nature, the challenges facing the modern world point up the relevance of those moral, social and political questions with which Camus grappled during his lifetime: the extent to which, in revolutionary justice, the end justifies the means; the challenges facing the new international order; how best to establish a moral response to nihilism; reconciling the requirements of morality with those of politics; and the relationship between individual freedom, State interest and the exercise of power. All these issues shaped Camus’s thinking over half a century ago and continue to inform the collective psyche at the beginning of the twenty-first century.6 6 Christine Margerrison, Mark Orme and Lissa Lincoln, Albert Camus in the 21st Century: A Reassessment of his Thinking at the Dawn of the New Millennium (New York: Rodopi, 2008), p. 13. 7

(19) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Further, the contextualization of Camus’ concept to the condition of modern human being is without a doubt. Justin O’Brien says that reading and understanding Camus is urgent. He mentions that Camus’ writings illuminates “the problems of the human conscience in our time” other than providing moral guidance to the postwar generation.7 Herbert Read also mentions that Camus brings “hope” to the human being as he brings the “confidence again in man and in the future” as they have been through the age of anxiety, despair, and nihilism.8 Although Camus never discusses or talks about Indonesia, to some extents it is still considered contextual. As stated by Goenawan Mohamad, he is not a thinker and writer who deals with the passion and the cornered condition of humans in the Third World, except his encounter with the unfortunate situation of colonial Algeria.9 There is possibility for some people not to have interest in discussing this because to discuss Camus means to merely discuss philosophy, morals, and exhausting search of the meaning of life. However, to discuss Camus means to discuss absurdity which means it is considered to be still relevant until today. It crosses the boundary of time and space. Anyone and anytime people can have the ‘opportunity’ to meet the absurd. Therefore, to make it close to the context of Indonesia, this study will compare Camus’ The Plague (1948) with one of Indonesian literary works, Iwan Simatupang’s Kering (1972). This work is chosen because of its similarities as well as differences in the discussion of absurdity and Justin O’Brien in the Introduction of Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion, and Death. Trans. Justin O’Brien (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961), p. v. 8 Herbert Read in the Foreword for Albert Camus, The Rebel. Trans. Anthony Bower (New York: Vintage, 1956), p. 7. 9 Goenawan Mohamad in the Introduction for Albert Camus, Krisis Kebebasan. Trans. Edhi Martono (Jakarta: Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia, 2013), p. vi. 7 8

(20) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI the way to confront it. In addition, the Simatupang’s encounter with the West, specifically France (with Sartre, Camus, and Alain Robbe-Grillet), strengthens the possibility for both works to have something in common to discuss. Camus’ The Plague is chosen since it is considered as one of his masterpieces enhanced by the manifestation of Camus’ concept of the Absurd and rebellion. The Plague is written in 1947. It is believed that the work is the allegory of the Nazi occupation in France as well as a reflection of his separation from his wife due to his illness.10 11 12 It is interesting to consider that the details of the novel contain the excerpt of Camus’ other works such as The Stranger and Neither Victims nor Executioners. The Plague tells about the struggle of Bernard Rieux, a doctor, along with other friends in a time of pestilence which takes place in the city of Oran, Algiers. In the novel, Camus tries to carry the message of humanity, love, and solidarity through the confrontation with the Absurd. It also introduces several Camus’ concepts in the Philosophy of the Absurd including the absurd itself, exile and also rebellion. The characters in the novel not only have to struggle to save themselves from the deadly impacts of the plague, but they also have to battle with their inner self in regard to some individual issues of hope, love, religion, and social goals. In tandem with Camus’ The Plague, Simatupang’s Kering is chosen because it is considered to have the elements of the Absurd as mentioned by Camus. Not only that, but Kering also contains the mechanism of confronting the Absurd as Conor Cruise O’Brien, Camus. Ed. Frank Kermode (London: Fontana/Collins, 1974), p. 33-34. John Foley, Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt (Stocksfield: Acumen, 2008), p. 50. 12 Mme Jacqueline Bernard. “The Background of The Plague: Albert Camus’ Experience in the French Resistance.” Kentucky Romance Quarterly 14.2 (1967): p.165. 10 11 9

(21) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI reflected throughout the story. The educational background of Simatupang, who has studied in Europe, especially Netherland, France, and Belgium, has the tendency to support the possibility that the literary movement during that time influence the works of the author, even though the production/publication of the works took place in his native country, Indonesia during 1960-70s. Dami N. Toda associates Simatupang’s works with The New Novel for they tend to have the characteristics which are different from the novels in the era (the 1960s).13 Toda sees that the influence of the French literary movement really shows its impact on Simatupang’s works. Simatupang’s Kering tells about the story of a transmigrant who struggles with the extreme condition of drought in which he inhabited. This novel is categorized in the Nouveau Roman (new novel/novel baru), a term coined by Emile Henriot.14 Alain Robbe-Grillet, a French writer and filmmaker, becomes one of the most influential writer of this type of novel. He was one of the most frequently discussed related to the Nouveau Roman, a trend which takes place in the 1960s. The Nouveau Roman is described as vigorously attacked the assumption that in the novel someone narrates someone’s story and provides a narrative interpretation of the world15. The Nouveau Roman replaces individual characters with ‘a banal he, anonymous and transparent, the simple subject of the action expressed by the verb’. In addition, Simatupang’s Kering also empowers Nouveau Roman’s method of 13 Dami N Toda, Novel Baru Iwan Simatupang (Jakarta: Pustaka Jaya, 1984), p. 12. Émile Henriot. “LA JALOUSIE, d’Alain Robbe-Grillet TROPISMES, de Nathalie Sarraute.” Le Monde. 22 May 1957. 15 Hanna Meretoja, The Narrative Turn in Fiction and Theory: The Crisis and Return of Storytelling from Robbe-Grillet to Tournier (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), p. 31. 14 10

(22) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI narration which is called the antinarrative aesthetics–a poetics that emphasizes textual construction, the exploration of new literary forms and the reader’s critical engagement with the assumptions underlying the view of the novel as a mode of storytelling.16 1.2. Research Questions Based on the background of the problem discussed on the previous point, the research questions which can be formulated are: 1. What kinds of absurdity are found in Albert Camus’ The Plague and Iwan Simatupang’s Kering? 2. How is rebellion prescribed by Camus used to confront absurdity as reflected in both novels? 1.3. Objectives of the Study This research is conducted with the aim to read Camus’ The Plague and Simatupang’s Kering under the light of Camus’ Philosophy of the Absurd and other supported theory. The objective of this research is to identify the forms of absurdity and how to confront with it as reflected in Camus’ The Plague and Simatupang’s Kering. As the title suggests, this study does not only talk about the disease, but also the cure. It does not only stop at describing the forms of absurdity but also elaborate the ways to confront absurdity. It is done that way to encourage a kind of optimism in the context of today’s condition. In addition, the research tries to prove 16 H. Meretoja, p. 31. 11

(23) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI that the concept formulated and condition described by Camus is not only applied in the context of France or Algiers but also applicable in other parts of the world, in this case Indonesia. 1.4. The Significance of the Study The significance of this research is that by analyzing various forms of absurdity as well as the way to confront it through rebellion, in The Plague and Kering, it contributes to individual self-awareness in smaller scope and also makes people to recognize the importance of building solidarity in the time of the absurd. It is believed that the first thing to be aware of is the need for being selfconscious that the absurd exists so that people start to think how to confront that situation. It does not only stop at that point, but people also have to realize, in line with Camus’ way of thinking, that they do not only experience the condition by themselves but there are other people experiencing the similar condition. In this way, people are expected to raise their collective consciousness and start to build their solidarity in confronting the absurd which can befall at any time and anywhere. 1.5. Thesis Outline This study divides the discussion into five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction, which discusses the background of the study, research questions, objectives of the study, significance of the study, and the thesis outline. The second chapter consists of a review of related studies conducted on the two novels under discussion and related theories which can contribute to this study, especially on the 12

(24) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI discussion of the absurd. The third chapter reveals the forms of absurdities found in Camus’ The Plague and Simatupang’s Kering. The fourth chapter discusses the ways to deal with the absurdity. The last chapter is the conclusion of the study. 13

(25) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW The previous chapter discusses the background of the study that includes the research questions, objectives of the study, significant of the study and thesis outline. In this section, the focus of the chapter is to discuss the summary of several previous studies related to Camus’ The Plague and Simatupang’s Kering. In addition, this chapter will also provide the description of related theories used in analyzing both of the literary works. 2.1. Review of Related Studies Camus and Simatupang can be considered as two prominent writers from their respective countries. Camus possesses several factors which cause him to be categorized as one of the most influential writers in literature. His works are rich in intrinsic elements to observe, in terms of the theme of love, death, morality, and solidarity; the character with round characteristics with diverse conflicts; the philosophical concept which put him into controversy among existentialist writers/philosophers; the types of symbolism used to deliver different type of message to his readers; the social critics which lead people not to recognize but to act accordingly, and so on. It is no wonder that Camus was granted Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. Because of this richness of elements, Camus’ works have sparked many scholars to conduct researches. In Indonesia, Simatupang’s works bring new colors in Indonesian literature. It is also important to note that he does not only write novels or short stories, but also play, essay, and poems. His works were published in either publishers or also magazines 14

(26) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI locally or in other countries, such as Siasat, Konfrontasi, Zenith, Sastra, De Groene Amsterdammer, De Nieuwsgier, Gadjah Mada and others.17 To make it in line with the background of this study, this section elaborates several related studies related to the works of Camus’ The Plague and Simatupang’s Kering. The discussion of these related studies is expected to give a contribution to this study. 2.1.1. The Studies on Camus’ The Plague One of the most commonly discussed issues dealing with Camus’ The Plague is its analogy between the plague (in the novel) as the real disease or the occupation of Nazi German on France. One of the discussions is offered by Madame Jacqueline Bernard, who provides a very vivid description or evidence related to the symbolization of the plague as “the kind of imprisonment” representing German occupation on France.18 She further provides a lot of justifications in relation to Camus from a personal point of view during the French Resistance. By using the experience of personal relation to Camus, Bernard argues and gives a convincing justification. She also relates the condition which is really happened during the German occupation with the comparison to what happened in the novel. She gives an example, that prior to the writing of The Plague, Camus gathers many materials related to medical and historical sources to support his writing as well as from Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year.19 17 D. N. Toda, p. 98. M.J. Bernard, p. 165. 19 M.J. Bernard, p. 165. 18 15

(27) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI O’Brien is in line with Bernard on the belief that The Plague is the allegory of those historical events involving France and German by referring to Camus’ real experience that the writing of the work is based on his separation with his wife and the result of Allied landings. The Plague is the way Camus represents the experience of occupation and resistance.20 Foley also believes that Camus’ The Plague is an allegory of the Nazis deadly occupation in France. He further connects that the name La Peste (Original French title of The Plague) is closely related with the term la peste brune (French phrase referring to the Nazis).21 However, further, he also relates this allegory with the reference to the criticisms from Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir on The Plague. He notes that the two philosophers criticize Camus’ failure to situate the “plague” in a historical or political context, thereby implicitly positing the plague as “natural”.22 It is true that Camus regards the plague as a natural disaster rather than “historical or political” plague as suggested by Sartre and de Beauvoir. Amy L. Hubbell argues that, in the case of The Plague, Camus writes a tragic nostalgia of the country where he was born rather than historical allegory of the Nazi occupation in France. She believes that the French writer tries to capture the image of Oran, Algeria through the perspective of a pied-noir. Hubbell illustrates that The Plague is the fictional illustration of Oran during the devastating cholera in September 1849 in which the disease killed more than 1,100 people.23 She illustrates that, after the number J. O’Brien, p. 34. J. Foley, p. 50. 22 J. Foley, p. 50. 23 Amy L. Hubbell, “Accumulating Algeria: Recurrent images in Pied-Noir visual works,” Framing French Culture. Ed. Ben McCann, Peter Poiana Natalie Edwards. University of Adelaide Press, 2015, p. 209227. 20 21 16

(28) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI of victims increased, the community began making processions up the mountain, praying in front of the statue of Virgin Mary, and asking her to take pity on them. Rain fell that night, as a miracle, breaking the heatwave that had spurred the epidemic. Bizarrely, this is the opposite of what happens in the novel. There is a possibility that Camus wants to take this issue as a criticism toward religion. In line with Hubbell, Robert Zaretsky also believes that The Plague is the portrayal of post war French Algeria, in which the country was devastated by the war and violence and threated by the possibility of civil war between the pied-noir and Arab and Berber populations.24 These studies on the allegory and nostalgia can contribute in providing the historical background or the creation process of Camus in writing the novel although this study does not measure or provide further justification of which event is actually symbolized by the novel because it is under the light of different approach. Other studies have another different point to emphasize. Although Elwyn F. Sterling’s study in the beginning also notes the allegory of the plague, he further discusses that his study is distinctive in the way that his study focuses not in the main characters but on the “secondary characters” as they have lesser attention in other Camus’ studies.25 For Sterling, it is interesting to note that Cottard, one of the secondary characters, represents the antithesis of the revolt, the idea that Camus urges in the novel. He believes that this kind of character serves a particular role in the chronicle. Robert Zaretsky, “The Tragic Nostalgia of Albert Camus,” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques, Nostalgia in Modern France: Bright New Ideas about a Melancholy Subject, 39.3 (WINTER 2013): 5569. 25 Elwyn F. Sterling, “Albert Camus’ “La Peste”: Cottard’s Act of Madness.” College Literature 13.2 (1986): p. 177. 24 17

(29) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI In term of exile or alienation, Palumbo’s study discusses the comparison between Camus’ and Sartre’s works, including Nausea, The Flies, The Devil and the Good Lord, The Condemned of Altona, The Stranger, The Plague, and The Possessed. He highlights the root of the existence of alienation on several characters of two writers. He believes that there is a strong correlation between alienation and the abandonment of God as the source of it.26 He affirms that Camus and Sartre are in agreement that the idea of God’s absence condemns a man to his feeling of alienation, and the alienation suffered by their characters is presented as both a sign and an impact of that absence.27 He further mentions that the characters’ failure in their relation to the figure of a father causes the uneasy feeling of alienation. The characters analyzed in the study, he adds, who most completely reject God are not only those who are most aware of their alienation but are also those who most exhibit symptoms of alienation, since the alienation between man, his fellows, and the world is the sign as well as the consequence of man’s isolation from God.28 In the latter explanation, Palumbo’s study discusses one of the characters in The Plague, Tarrou, who is an atheist and has a troubled relationship with his father. Palumbo argues that the stories described by Tarrou represent the problematic relations among individuals. This problematic situation drives the character to experience complicated feeling by which it pushes the character to look into himself and further positions himself in his role to the society. Palumbo’s study provides an illustration of Camus’ perspective on the relation between God and human being. This is valuable in Donald Palumbo, “The Crisis of Faith, Father-Son Ruptures, and Alienation-from-the-Self: Their Interconnection in the Works of Sartre and Camus.” The South Central Bulletin 41.4 (1981): p. 104-107. 27 D. Palumbo, p. 104. 28 D. Palumbo, p. 104. 26 18

(30) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI analyzing the subjects of this study in terms of the position of God and religion in affecting the motives of the characters in the novels. David Stromberg problematizes Camus’ narrating style in The Plague. In the beginning of the novel, the narrator mentions that he will keep the chronicle as objective as possible by providing his personal account and data that come to him, the accounts of other witnesses and any other documents.29 He argues that the narrator of the novel betrays his principle of revealing his identity in the end of the story. However, Stromberg believes that the narrator gives clues to the readers of who he is.30 This way, Dr. Rieux’s narrative infringes on his own self-principles of chronicle composition: objectivity, anonymity, and artlessness. Stromberg concludes that this ‘act of betrayal’ is not Camus’ fault, but indeed it is his success of his narrating style. This proves that Camus’ works are fruitful for discussion, not only from the philosophical perspective but also from the intrinsic elements of the works. All of the studies mentioned above prove how deep Camus’ works are. They not only serve as the description on the individual problems but also in a wider scope, the social context of the works, how individual should look into oneself as well as to the others. They also show how diverse the responses on Camus’ works that it is not only appraisal but also critics. This study presents the phenomenon that the social implementation of Camus’s philosophy is not only limited to the European context or its colony like Algeria, but 29 Albert Camus, The Plague. Trans. Stuart Gilbert (New York: The Modern Library, 1948), p. 6: All subsequent references to this work, abbreviated P, will be used in this thesis with pagination only. 30 David Stromberg, “Moral Reserve: Narrative Ethics and Aesthetic Principles in Camus’s “La Peste”.” French Forum 39.1 (Winter 2014): 81-94. 19

(31) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI also opens up the possibility that its philosophy can be implemented in other parts of the world, in this context, Indonesia. 2.1.2. The Studies on Simatupang’s Kering The study on Indonesian literature is not widely distributed and well-documented. It is rather difficult to find the records, although some researchers succeed in documenting it or releasing it into a collection of articles or books. Some other studies focus only the big names in Indonesian literature, such as Pramoedya Ananta Toer or Chairil Anwar. However, there are some studies on Simatupang’s works which are still possible to be accessed while the others are scattered in old magazines or newspapers which already become rare nowadays. These studies more likely to expose the element of newness which is considered as the main feature of Simatupang’s Kering. Toda sees Simatupang as one of the pioneers of the New Novel movement in Indonesia. He argues that Simatupang got the influence from Europe since he studies there during his academic life. He believes that, on the era of the 1960s, the Nouveau Roman gave big influence on Simatupang’s writing style.31 Although Toda realizes that Simatupang tends to be included under the influence of existentialist and other wellknown authors (Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Dostoyevsky, and others)32, he analyzes Simatupang’s works more on the intrinsic factors of the novel, such as the plot, the character and theme rather than the philosophical elements of the novel. 31 32 D. N. Toda, p. 15. See also Abdul Hadi W. M., “Iwan Simatupang dan Surat-suratnya: Kelahiran Novel Baru.” Korrie Layun Rampan, Iwan Simatupang: Pembaharu Sastra Indonesia (Jakarta: Yayasan Arus, 1985), p. 46. 20

(32) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI One of the concerns of Toda’s analysis is on the struggle of the main character (“Tokoh Kita”/Our Hero) on various things, against himself, against the natural disaster and against the society. It is important to note that Toda highlights that the attitude of the protagonist as the representation of protest and rebellion on the situation surrounding him. The situations include the feeling that he feels on himself: pity, anxiety, fear, ignorant, mortification, and indifferent.33 This is one of the characteristics of Simatupang’s novels, as well as other two novels, Merahnya Merah and Ziarah. This character with the uniqueness adds the complexity and the depth of the novel, by which it is no doubt that the novel achieved several awards. In line with Toda, Abdul Hadi W.M. believes that Simatupang’s novels brought the spirit of Nouveau Roman, by which this statement is also concorded by other Indonesian critics such as Gajus Siagian, Umar Junus, Henri Chamber-Loir, and Goenawan Mohamad.34 The elements of newness in Simatupang’s novels serve at least two things. First, it is the symbol of breakthrough or the creation of a new genre of the novel which never exists before and is considered anti-mainstream in Indonesia. The second is the symbol of resistance of the ruling literary regime of Lekra during 1964. He further mentions that it has the characteristics of a future novel, novel without hero, novel without theme, and novel without morale.35 The novels represent the picture of the modern man. They deal with the problem of modern society, by which its theme is similar to the European novels in the 20th century, that discuss the impacts of 33 D. N. Toda, p. 19. Abdul Hadi W. M., p. 45. 35 Abdul Hadi W. M., p. 46. 34 21

(33) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI religiosity, which cover the perspective on morale, aestheticism, and metaphysics in relation with the heredity of man’s humanity.36 The characteristic of the Nouveau Roman in Simatupang’s novels is not without critics. Although some studies praise the existence of his novels as a breakthrough, Widyastanto believes that it is still in its progress, not yet reaching the goal. He further mentions that Simatupang’s works are different compared to Sartre’s in that Simatupang’s novels are only a design of a monument. It is not the monument itself. On the other hand, Widyastanto argues that Sartre’s trilogy, L’age de Raison, Le Sursis, and La Mort dans L’ame, is a permanent building.37 This is caused by the fact that, in the context of Indonesia, to understand Simatupang’s works with its complexity and elements of newness, adequate background knowledge on his philosophical way of thinking is indeed needed. All of the studies on Simatupang’s works described above focus mainly on the intrinsic elements of the novel which can contribute to the background of this study. Therefore, this condition provides greater space for this study to explore more the existence of the absurd as well as the coping mechanism towards it. In addition, the elements of newness which is inspired by the spirit of Nouveau Roman can contribute to the belief that the discussion on Simatupang’s works is still contextual and relevant to modern society nowadays. 36 37 Abdul Hadi W. M., p. 47. F. Widyastanto, “Siapa Mau Menyusul Eksistensialis dari Sibolga?” Rampan, Korrie Layun. Iwan Simatupang: Pembaharu Sastra Indonesia (Jakarta: Yayasan Arus, 1985), p. 75. 22

(34) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI 2.2. Review of Related Theories Because of the similarity of themes to existentialism study, researchers who deal with the discussion of Camus’ work tend to drive their study under the realm of Existentialism. However, it is important to note that Camus himself did not want to be included in the realm of Existentialism. There are many pieces of evidence showing Camus’ rejection of the label of an existentialist. It is mentioned in his biography written by Lottman, in several interviews with the journalist, in New York, for example, Camus rejects the label of being existentialist.38 On the other occasion, Camus regards himself as ‘too young’ to have a ‘system’, which refers to existentialism, and considers it the intellectual as pedantry.39 By looking at these phenomena, it is important to emphasize that this study analyzes the novels, The Plague and Kering, under the umbrella of Camus’ Philosophy of the Absurd, not the existentialism. According to O’Brien, Camus brings new ‘hope’ to the discussion of human’s existence and in search for the meaning of life, the topics generally found in the study of existentialism, the term he did not want to be related to. 40 What makes Camus different from other existentialist is that he speaks more about how to solve the problem of humans’ existence, and how to deal with it. It is different from existentialist who ‘stops’ in labeling life as meaningless such as Nietzsche, condemning life or another human being such as Sartre, or proposing human’s dependence on the ‘leaps to faith’ to God such as Kierkegaard. Camus’ principles serve as both analyzing the problem of life 38 Herbert R. Lottman, Albert Camus: A Biography (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1979), p. 391, 468, 470, 472, 506, 563, 607, and 616. 39 H. R. Lottman, p. 378 and 393. 40 J. O’Brien in Camus, 1961, p. v. 23

(35) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI through the formulation of the absurdity of human’s life and the way to deal with it through resistance and rebellion. Although Philosophy of the Absurd has some elements in common with the study of existentialism, it has also some different perspectives on them. This study uses the theoretical foundation via Camus’ nonfiction books The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel. The issues related to the discussion include absurdity, death, exile or alienation, rebellion, and solidarity. This part of writing discusses Camus’ basic principles related to the concept of absurdity and rebellion under the umbrella of what it is usually called as The Philosophy of the Absurd. Other relevant theories are also discussed as an additional analyzing tool for the literary works under discussion. These two concepts are considered important since it underlays most of Camus’ writings. Furthermore, these concepts are used as the tools to analyze Camus’ The Plague and to find the evidence/proof whether such concepts exist in the Indonesian context as reflected in Simatupang’s Kering so that the readers can see the contextualization of Camus’ concept in Indonesian setting. If so, this thesis tries to investigate the similarities and differences found in both works. 2.2.1. Absurdity or the Philosophy of the Absurd “This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.”41 According to The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy, the word “absurdity”, from the Latin absurdus which means ‘out of tone’, is used as the synonym of “the irrational”. In addition, it is explained that there are two other uses of “absurdity.” 41 Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. Trans. Justin O’Brien (New York: Vintage, 1991), p. 6. 24

(36) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI The first concerns the meaninglessness of human existence that derives from its lack of reason or ultimate purpose. In the second use, absurdity transcends the limitations of the rational and requires human’s whole power of belief and feeling to be embraced.42 Absurdism or the Philosophy of the Absurd is the term more linked to Camus instead of existentialism, although it shares some common grounds. This is to distinguish from Sartre’s existentialism43 in which they are usually connected. Camus does not prefer, and even wonder, when he is associated with existentialism, especially Sartre, as the name frequently mentioned when deals with existentialism44. Camus’ concept on the absurd is a notion of the radical contingency of the universe and of the heroism required to confront it.45 In other words, humans have a drive to find meaning in things and where it doesn’t exist we usually try to create it. However, as the universe is cold and indifferent to this quest for meaning we will always be faced with absurd situations where our attempts to find meaning fail. Our lives are meaningless and will remain so. This concept is something which shares the common ground with another existentialist stream. However, they have different point to emphasize. Such example is nihilism proposed by Nietzsche, existential problem by Kierkegaard, or angst by Sartre. One of the most outstanding concepts of Camus’ perspective on absurdity is that he does not merely discuss in its conceptual form but also emphasizes the actualization of the concept in real life. Camus does not see the meaninglessness of life as bad. He explains that to understand that life is absurd is the first step to being fully alive. While the 42 N. Bunnin & Yu, p. 14. Stephen Michelman, Historical Dictionary of Existentialism (Maryland: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2008), p. 264-265. 44 A. Camus, Lyrical, p. 345 45 S. Michelman, p. 265. 43 25

(37) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI problem of living in a world devoid of meaning is a big one, it is one to be solved like any other. To understand Camus’ concept on absurdity, it is important to know his preference on Sisyphus, the character in Greek mythology, as the role model of the absurd. Camus uses the hero to illustrate his concept of absurdity. Sisyphus is described as a titan which is closely-related with the punishment given by gods to roll up the boulder up to the hill, then it comes back down, and he starts all over again. This type of penalty is considered, by gods, as the most dreadful punishment than useless labor. To understand more clearly why Camus used Sisyphus as a model in the concept of absurdity, it was necessary to look back on what really happened before the gods decided to punish Sisyphus. Indeed there are several versions of who Sisyphus really is. What is clear is that he is the king of Corinth who is said to be the wisest and most intelligent man. Even so, in another version of the myth, he is called as a tricky, deceitful person. Sisyphus was known because he was considered to insult the gods by lying to Zeus, imprisoning Hades, the god of death and the underworld, and making Ares, the god of war, angry because no one died in the war. Therefore, the wrath of the gods was expelled in the form of punishment given to Sisyphus to repeatedly roll stones forever. According to the gods’ perspective, nothing is more frightening than endless useless punishment. However for Sisyphus, the sentence did not make him just give up. He viewed the sentence as a form of struggle. By comparing the stone as life, then rolling it means still trying to stay alive. 26

(38) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI 2.2.2. The Problem with Death Death is the termination of life. It is the condition by which the existence of human life comes into the end, which of course, deals with the argument of the existence of human. Different types of death—murder, suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, or others—stimulate different perspectives in the scope of phenomenology and philosophy. The discussion of death has something in common as well as differences by philosophers, such as Heidegger and Camus. On the concepts of Heidegger and Camus, the perspective about death has similarities. For Heidegger, death reveals the terrible temporality of human’s existence46. It is discussed in his magnum opus Being and Time. Heidegger believes that death is one of the limitations for a human to exist and find his authenticity in living. For Heidegger, the authenticity in living is necessary in the discussion of the correlation between human “being-in-the-world” with of course the way human deals with the death, limitedness of living or the Finitude and the time is given to a human to live in the world.47 To him, discussing death is not merely about how to define or ignore it, but also more in embracing and confronting it. This confrontation in Heideggerian philosophy is usually called as “being-toward-death” or “anticipation” (Vorlaufen).48 In referring to death, Camus has similar stressing points to Heidegger’s discussion of death. Camus, in Sisyphus, mentions that he has no urgency to theorize or formulate a definition about it further since there are already some philosophers and theorists who discuss it. For Camus, death is considered as the ultimate injustice–it is because it ends. 46 N. Bunnin & Yu, p. 160. John Richardson, Heidegger (New York: Routledge, 2012), p.160. 48 J. Richardson, p.160. 47 27

(39) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI It can also be seen from his idea about death: “I do not want to believe that death is the gateway to another life. For me, it is a closed door. I do not say it is a step we must all take, but that it is a horrible and dirty adventure”49. On the other occasion, Camus regards death as a fatal thing to happen. It is the thing that he considers as something contradictory to everything, especially joy, happiness, and liberty50. It can be traced back to the Camus’ perspective towards life. He sees life as something beautiful. In his essay, he makes an analogy on the myth of Prometheus, a Greek Titan, who fights for the sustainability of life on earth by stealing Zeus’ torch/fire. He adds that the most urgent thing about death is the attitude one must have toward it.51 There are also different stressing points on Heidegger’s and Camus’ discussion on death. To Heidegger, the confrontation to death is necessary for living a meaningful, authentic life. What is needed for a human to deal with death is that one must have what so-called as an existential conscience for Heidegger believes that death is an individual issue one has to face. He adds that death becomes one’s possibility in ceasing one’s existence. The relation between one and one’s death is “between me and myself” by which what matters the most is one own effort.52 In relation to another human being is that the only thing that anyone else can contribute is by inducing or spurring that effort. Therefore, death brings self-reliance, it “individualizes me down to myself”.53 This selfcentered orientation is the thing that draws Heideggerian concept from social scope to the context of oneself. However, Camus has a slightly different point of view. Although 49 A. Camus, Lyrical, p. 76. A. Camus, Myth, p. 117. 51 J. Richardson, p. 15. 52 J. Richardson, p. 161. 53 J. Richardson, p. 161. 50 28

(40) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI death is an individual experience, he believes that the feeling of solidarity can create a communal sense of people experiencing a similar event. Camus emphasizes that in what man should do is to accept death, as well as the absurdity of life and struggle for rebellion. To him, this is worthier and nobler rather than to simply condemned life of having no meaning or committing suicide as an option to walk away from life. It is mentioned in The Rebel: If the individual, in fact, accepts death and happens to die as a consequence of his act of rebellion, he demonstrates by doing so that he is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of a common good which he considers more important than his own destiny.54 2.2.3. Alienation The term ‘alienation’ appears in several disciplines, ranging from psychoanalysis, phenomenology, existentialism, and other disciplines. Although each discipline has their own way in defining the word, they have some keywords in common, for example ‘disintegration’, ‘separation’ or ‘isolation’. In common to this, Camus tends to use the word “exile” rather than “alienation” although in definition they are similar. It is possibly because Camus originally uses French in writing his works. Several times he uses the term in his works L’exil et le Royaume (Exile and the Kingdom) and Helen’ Exile (in Myth of Sisyphus). However, this study does not differentiate the use of the term since it is not considered to have significant differences. One of the definitions of alienation is the feeling in which human is the stranger of his own life, as well as the stranger to the world. Traced from its definition, it is found that one of the fundamental concepts of alienation is proposed by Karl Marx. In his early 54 Albert Camus, The Rebel, Trans. Anthony Bower (New York: Vintage, 1956), p. 15. 29

(41) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI writings, he articulated his critique of the religiously and politically conservative implications of the then-reigning philosophy of Hegel, finding there is an acceptance of existing private property relationships and of the alienation generated by them. Marx defines alienation as a condition of radical disharmony (1) among individuals, (2) between them and their own life activity, or labor, and (3) between individuals and their system of production.55 In the context of existentialism, alienation has various forms, but the selfalienation of human beings has attracted particular attention. Self-alienation refers to the separation of individuals from their real self, their nature, and their consciousness. It is a state in which a person loses individual integrity and independence and becomes a stranger to oneself56. Similar to what has been mentioned above, Camus formulates the concept of alienation as something closely related with absurdity. He mentions that, in a rational world, a world which can only be explained with ‘bad reasons’, man feels like a stranger, an alien57. This type of alienation or exile is without remedy since man is separated from his ‘home’ and ‘the hope of a promised land’58. Therefore, this divorce between man and himself, including the alienation or the exile, is described as the feeling of absurdity. In another occasion, Camus also believes that the absurdity itself can lead into alienation. They become a cause-effect process. Once the feeling of the absurd arrives, it becomes a shock. Human being becomes alienated and disengaged from their ordinary Robert Audi, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Trans. Justin O’Brien (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 538. 56 N. Bunnin & Yu, p. 22. 57 A. Camus, Myth, p. 6. 58 A. Camus, Myth, p. 6. 55 30

(42) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI life. As an analogy, Camus writes, to describe this state of disengagement that the scenes of daily life can seem like nothing more than episodes upon a never-ending stage set, filled with actors in an endless play without a point. At this point, until one reaches ‘the stage’s collapse’ or exhaustion, the feeling of the absurd arrives. To deal with this feeling, one has to be fully aware or conscious of it and lead himself into an act of rebellion. 2.2.4. Solidarity The distinctive character of Camus’ philosophical concept is that he also pays attention not only the pursuit of the existence of the individual but also the need for the existence of others. To Camus, human solidarity should not only stop in metaphysical rebellion because it is only considered as solidarity that is born in chains.59 The realization of this social dimension of Camus’ concept of existence becomes one of the issues discussed in his work The Rebel. He mentions that: Man’s solidarity is founded upon rebellion, and rebellion, in its turn, can only find its justification in this solidarity. We have, then, the right to say that any rebellion which claims the right to deny or destroy this solidarity loses simultaneously its right to be called rebellion and becomes in reality an acquiescence in murder60. The root of solidarity can be traced back to the reason in which it emerges. In its general definition, “solidarity” means “unity (as of a group or class) which produces or is based on unities of interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies”61. In other words, it is the ties in a society that bind people together as one. Although it is originally taken from the study of sociology, especially from Emile Durkheim’s The Division of Labour 59 N. Bunnin & Yu, p. 17. A. Camus, Rebel, p. 22. 61 Merriam Webster, 60 31

(43) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI in Society, the term “solidarity” becomes an emerging concept in modern-day philosophy. The feeling of solidarity cannot emerge without the existence of shared feeling or is usually called as collective consciousness. By definition which is proposed by Durkheim, it is the set of shared beliefs, ideas, and moral attitudes which operate as unifying force within society62. The term is also similar to the concept of social consciousness proposed by Karl Marx. He believes that it is a consciousness shared by individuals within a society. According to Marx, human being enters into a certain productive, or economic, relations and these relations lead to a form of social consciousness.63 What makes them different is the usage. Collective consciousness is widely used in the study of sociology, while social consciousness is more into the study of the economy. In relation to Camus’ concept of solidarity, he proposes that solidarity rises from the shared-feeling owned by man in experiencing similar situation. Since it involves larger group of people, it is also called as collective consciousness. Collective consciousness plays a huge role especially when the absurdity strikes not only a single individual but also a group of individuals (society). This is important because it underlays the implementation of Camus’ concept of dealing with absurdity in a wider, or social, range. Camus’ rebellion, up to this point, is applicable when dealing with various forms of absurdity which strike the society, be it death, disaster, injustice, or others. The condition of facing the same faith leads the individuals to confront the 62 63 David Jary and Julia Jary, Collins Dictionary of Sociology (Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1991), p.93. “Social Consciousness” Questia, 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 32

(44) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI absurd situation. When one individual rebels, as Camus says, he identifies the others and he surpasses himself, and from this point view, human solidarity is still considered as metaphysical64. However, it does not stop here. Camus proposes further action as the continuance of collective rebellion to achieve the social objectives in dealing with the absurdity. 2.2.5. Rebellion It should be remembered that the beginning of the rebellion is the existence of the limit. Once a human being is pushed into one limit, the rebellion is most likely to occur. Those are the demarcation line of what it takes to be a rebel. Another issue related to rebellion is that it is closely related to revolution. In the Foreword of The Rebel, Herbert Read suggests that to Camus, revolution implies more on “the establishment of a new government”, whereas rebellion tends to be described as “action without planned issue—it is a spontaneous protestation.”65 Rebellion, to Camus, is a very important issue. When people are pushed to the corner to face the absurdity, the only way to deal with it and to fight it back is through rebellion. For Camus, rebellion can be used as one way to search for the meaning of life, the never-ending question for existential problem. In addition, Camus also notices that rebellion can also be built from the solitude of man. However, he believes that although man can feel solitude, he should not unleash it to the world. Instead, a man should fight them in himself and in the others. 64 65 A. Camus, Rebel, p. 17. H. Read in Camus, 1956, p. 8. 33

(45) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI To rebel is the advanced level of dealing with the absurdity. As the problems of human being get more complicated, the individual becomes the concern of Camus’ way of thinking, although later, it also touches the social scope. For Camus, rebellion is not merely physical rebellion but also metaphysical rebellion, by which human being must deal with themselves first before taking further action. To Camus, the scope of rebellion is not only limited to the individual context. It is not ‘egoistic act’ as he suggests that there are always philosophical demand for unity, the impossibility of capturing it and the establishment of a substitute universe in any act of rebellion. From this perspective, rebellion can be said as the fabricator or manufacturer of the world.66 66 A. Camus, Rebel, p. 255. 34

(46) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI CHAPTER III ABSURDITY AS PORTRAYED IN CAMUS’ THE PLAGUE AND SIMATUPANG’S KERING This chapter is dedicated to elaborate the forms of absurdity found in Camus’ The Plague and Simatupang’s Kering. It will serve both the similar and different forms of absurdity that the two works share. All of the forms of the absurd are drawn from the concept that the absurd rises from the belief that the expectation does not meet the reality. Therefore, this section describes the variety of absurd conditions. 3.1. Extreme Contrast as the Ingredients of the Absurd Camus illustrates that a condition in which the freedom is taken from one individual is one kind of absurdity. This can be seen in one of Camus’ well-known novels, The Stranger (1942). In the novel, it is portrayed that freedom is usually acknowledged once it is already taken. The example can be seen from the character of Meursault in The Stranger. He lives his life with almost no emotion. He then starts to wonder about his life only when a dramatic turn of life happens. At the beginning of the novel, Meursault shows flat emotion about several events in his life: the death of his mother, the relationship with his manager, and others. However, it starts to change when he gets involved, by his neighbor, in a conflict with some of Arabs people and when he has to deal with the prison and death penalty. In the prison, Meursault starts to realize that the form of alienation he suffered from (of being in a prison and has to face death penalty) is not a good thing to have. This discrepancy, between living as it used to be and the reality one has to face, is the basic form of absurdity. As a normal human being, one individual wants 35

(47) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI to live a normal life. This is the concept of absurdity expressed by Camus in Myth of Sisyphus. The absurd rises from the divorce of the bare fact and certain reality. Thus, the greater the gap and the confrontation, the greater the absurd appears. This confrontation and contrast of what is expected and what happens as the symptom of the absurd appear in the novels under discussion, The Plague and Kering. In the context of The Plague, the first evidence of the contrary situation is the narrator description on the condition of the city of Oran before and after the coming of the plague. Although the life in the city of Oran is described as a boring, or ordinary life, the condition is actually the realistic portrayal of the city. It is the daily portraits of the city. It is a fictional fact. It is not a pejorative description made by the writer/or narrator to describe the city. The narrator, which is later known as Bernard Rieux at the end of the novel, describes the city as ugly, has a smug, and placid air. In addition, he adds the details as having no pigeons, without any trees and gardens. These two objects make the narrator draw a conclusion that the town is indeed uninteresting, and even negative place, without any sound of the beats of pigeon’s wings or rustle of leaves. These details are followed by other details, for example, how the season or weather can be determined, how the sun burns the house during summer, and how the winter brings ‘pleasant weather’(P, 3). Another interesting thing about the city is the “business” done by the citizens. This activity covers two things, the work of the citizens and the activities during their pastimes. The work of the citizens mainly deals with commerce, while their 36

(48) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI pastimes were spent with love-making, going to cinemas, and sea-bathing. These become the ordinary life in Oran. The narrator admits that with those characteristics—the weathers, the air, boring activities done by the citizens, and the other details—the city is definitely not exciting. He adds that, despite all of the uninteresting details, the city is peaceful. It is probably all of the citizens want in their everyday life. All these daily occurrences constitute habit by which it makes the city alive. Camus’ focus on these people of Oran who are oriented with all the habits—of living and of doing the business—is highly likely to be confronted with the death which is the most dreadful form of absurdity. The other contrast is evidenced by the rising number of dead rats. As it is initially realized by Rieux, it is such an out of ordinary thing that one of the dead rats appears in his surgery on April 16 (P, 7). This first appearance of the dead rat in the novel was described to appear in the landing. The number of dead rats is increased significantly. In the beginning, it is only by twos and threes in one place and then multiplied into hundreds in the following days. To be precise, the Ransdoc Information Bureau calculates that no less than 6,231 rats on April 25, and hits the number of 8,000 rats collected on April 25 (P, 15). This condition is considered an extraordinary situation for the city since such a situation had never occurred previously. Although the numbers of dead rats ended sharply in the following day, it actually marks the beginning of the infection on the human, which is proven by the symptoms felt by M. Michel, the janitor (P, 16). Camus, through the words of the narrator, personifies the plague as a healthy person stricken by a disease: 37

(49) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI You must picture the consternation of our little town, hitherto so tranquil, and now, out of the blue, shaken to its core, like a quite healthy man who all of a sudden feels his temperature shoot up and the blood seething like wildfire in his veins (P, 15). To show the contrast condition of the town, before and after the plague, Rieux, through his personal observation, remarks it with: “that first hour of darkness which in the past had always had a special charm for Rieux—seemed today charged with menace, because of all he knew” (P, 54). Another absurd condition is seen in the description of weather which is contradictory to the condition of the citizen. As it can be seen in: The varying aspects of the sky, the very smells rising from the soil that mark each change of season, were taken notice of for the first time. Everyone realized with dismay that hot weather would favor the epidemic, and it was clear that summer was setting in (P, 103). It is absurd and irrational to know that now the inhabitants of Oran pay so much attention to the condition of the weather in their town. However, this weather condition becomes so important towards the development of the plague. The summer somehow becomes less beautiful. It is far beyond expectation. It is supposed to be warm, full of flowers, vacation, sea-bathing and other types of amusement. However, now, it becomes a horror and a kind of threat, since it supports the existence of the epidemic. This description is to show the contrast and to mark the existence of absurdity of the situation: Plague had killed all colors, vetoed pleasure (P, 104). To sum up, Camus’ description at the beginning of the novel on the importance of habit for the people of Oran is proven significant since it gives the demarcation line between what is supposed to happen (people’s expectation with 38

(50) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI their daily life) and the reality (the coming of the plague). This contrast is sum up by Camus as seen in the novel: Thus the growing complications of our everyday life, which might have been an affliction, proved to be a blessing in disguise. Indeed, had not the epidemic, as already mentioned, spread its ravages, all would have been for the best (P, 158). Although with the different case/factor, the discontinuation of daily life represented in the extreme contrast of conditions also happens in the fictional world of Simatupang’s Kering. Although the novel is not narrated in the progressive plot, the condition, similar to Camus’ Oran, can be seen through the description made by the narrator about the transmigration area before and after the coming of the drought. What is different between the narrating style of The Plague and Kering is that in the first novel, the narrator tells the story in a serious tone while in the latter, the narrator tells in a comical way and full of wittiness. In Kering, the narrator focuses on the main character–which is described as someone without a name, simply named Tokoh Kita (Our Hero), representing the character of Nouveau Roman—who mentions that the life in the transmigration area is difficult. It is not something which is expected: a village with full of rice field, green sceneries, abundance food, and others. At the early encounter with the area, Our Hero with other transmigrants have set their expectation and obsession to the newly settled area: a place full of rice fields, a lively home to stay, and other details, as mentioned in: Sawah sudah jadi obsesi mereka. Gambaran sebuah daerah kolonisasi kaum transmigran yang hijau rindang, makmur, rumah-rumah bercat 39

(51) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI warna-warni, manusia-manusianya montok berpipi merah sehat, tak lepas dari fikiran mereka.”67 (The rice fields had already become their obsession. The picture of a transmigrant colonization area that is shady green, prosperous, colorfully-painted houses, healthy, well-fed inhabitants. This cannot be separated from their minds.) [My translation from here onward] This condition then drastically changes due to the coming of the drought. The horror of the natural disaster is personified as it can be seen in: Kering. Ladang-ladang telah jadi dataran tanah retak. Dia jalan terus. Bayang tubuhnya yang jangkung, menari-nari lebih jangkung lagi atas garis-garis retak itu. Seperti lukisan abstrak saja: Seorang gaib, tubuhnya dipotong-potong, menari-nari di bumi yang juga terpotong-potong. Matahari lohor tak kenal ampun. Teriknya melecut langit. Embun segumpal tak ada. Udara bergetar. Disana sini ia beruap. Berkepulkepul, dekat ke permukaan tanah (K, 5). (Drought. The fields had become cracked ground plains. It walked on. Its tall shadow was dancing taller over the cracked lines. It was like an abstract painting: A mysterious creature, its body was cut into pieces, dancing on earth that was also cut into pieces. The sun of the midday was unforgiving. The heat whipped the sky. There was no single clod of dew. The air trembled. Here and there it vaporized. Huddled, close to the face of the ground.) In a comical way, the narrator describes the situation happens in the transmigration area. He describes that because of the drought the inhabitants of the area even try to make it as a gambling game. They try to guess whether on the next day, the water spring still exists or not. Even they are lost in the gambling game, they are still happy because of the existence of the water. However, eventually, the narrator finds out that the condition of the last water spring is already dried. The contrasted condition to the expectation of the inhabitant finally arrived. Some objects are even personified to illustrate the situation: 67 Iwan Simatupang, Kering (Jakarta: Gunung Agung, 1985), p. 27: All subsequent references to this work, abbreviated K, will be used in this thesis with pagination only. 40

(52) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Tapi, kali ini, mereka tak gembira. Yang telah datang duluan ke mata-air itu tadi pagi, menyatakan sedih dan kecewanya tanpa tedeng aling-aling. Ceret-ceret, lodong-lodong bambu, kaleng-kaleng, pancipanci, dilempar berserakan sekitarnya. Sebuah tongkat besar dari kayu, yang ditancapkan dalam bekas lobang mata-air itu, bercerita tentang usaha sia-sia mereka merongrong air dari situ. Bercerita tentang tak percayanya mereka, tentang putus asanya mereka… (K, 5). (But, this time, no one was happy. The one who had come earlier to the water spring this morning, expressed his sadness and disappointment without any cover. Kettles, bamboo containers, cans, and pots, thrown around and scattered about. A large wooden pole, stuck in the eye of the well, told of their hopeless efforts digging the water out. It told of their disbelief, about their despair...) These two conditions illustrated in The Plague and Kering have something in common in which they contain contrasted situations. This extreme contrast is very important to show the absurdity of life. It is the ingredients, as Camus said. In relation to this, it can be associated to Camus’ concept of absurdity, as he mentions, “… the absurdity springs from a comparison”68. As an addition, Camus strengthens his statement, in relation to the extreme contrast of the condition, by saying that the ‘magnitude of absurdity’ is in ‘direct ratio’ between comparisons69. It means that the higher the degree of the discrepancy between the expectation and the reality, the higher possibility the absurdity to exist. The extreme contrasts exist at the beginning of the two novels is important to mark the early existence of the absurd in both novels. This is in line with Camus’ concept about the absurd: “The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end in 68 69 A. Camus, Myth, p. 30. A. Camus, Myth, p. 30. 41

(53) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI itself but only a beginning.”70 As the novels progress, more variety of absurdities are found throughout the stories. 3.2. Alienation: The Separation from the Loved Ones, from Oneself and the Outside World Alienation is basically the feeling when someone feels like a stranger to oneself or to the world. It is one of the most commonly discussed issues in philosophy, as well as other disciplines, and can be considered as one form of absurdity. It is considered that way because when it is drawn from the basic of the concept of absurdity by which the reality cannot meet humans’ expectation. Humans’ expectation here means that, as a social being, they have the desire to live with other people. While reality shows a different kind of thing. Therefore to this extent, alienation of human either from himself or from other human is considered as a form of absurdity. Alienation in Camus’ The Plague, according to some studies, is the allegory of the impact made by the occupation of German on France. Camus writes to describe the severe impacts made by the war and the spreading of Nazi ideology. This can also be related to the Camus’ actual experience when he had to live separately from his wife during the German occupation in France. Camus had to live in Le Panelier, France in 1942 to be cured of his tuberculosis, while his wife Francine had to return and stay in Algiers.71 This point discusses the forms of alienation occurred in Camus’ The Plague as well as in Simatupang’s Kering. 70 71 John Foley, Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt (Stocksfield: Acumen, 2008), p. 6. Herbert R. Lottman, Albert Camus: A Biography (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1979), p. 261-263 and also see King, p. 45-46. 42

(54) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI 3.2.1. Individual Alienation Several characters in The Plague have to be alienated from the person that they love. They have to encounter this condition because of the plague, and even prior to the plague. For most normal individuals, the demand to live with the loved one is a must. However, the absurd condition hinders one to have it. The basic form of alienation is introduced in The Plague in the very beginning of the novel. Camus writes that one type of alienation that someone may suffer is the condition when they are sick. He adds that in Oran, “Being ill is never agreeable” (P, 5). He points out that the extreme conditions of Oran hardly fits the situation of the invalid one, by which this will create a sense of alienation which can symbolize the greater events on the rest of the novel. But at Oran the violent extremes of temperature, the exigencies of business, the uninspiring surroundings, the sudden nightfalls, and the very nature of its pleasures call for good health. An invalid feels out of it there (P, 5). This concept of alienation introduced by Camus can serve as a miniature of the story of the novel. This miniature also functions as a general illustration since, in the latter form, the alienation is also felt by the certain individuals and the society in general. As it is later narrated that, on a greater scale, most of the inhabitants of Oran become the invalids themselves which leads to alienated condition from their own city because of the outbreak. Rieux is the first character, chronologically, in The Plague who suffers the first alienation, especially from his wife. It is described in the very beginning of the 43

(55) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI novel how the doctor has to be separated because of the smaller scale of plague suffered by the wife. This situation saddens the feeling of the doctor. Another character who is aware of the symptom of alienation is Tarrou. As he reveals that he suffered, at first, with the love-hate relationship with his parents, especially his father. There are some events in the past that constitute his feeling of alienation, which is starting from his relation with his father, who was a prosecuting attorney. Tarrou shares his experience to Rieux that he actually had a good relationship with his father. They loved to have a conversation in the evening and played the “railroad games”. However, the relation of this father-son relationship slightly changed because of an incident. This incident is when Tarrous’s father invited him to attend a prosecution in the court. Tarrou mentions that after he sees his father sent a defendant into a death penalty. He describes that the process of the execution as horrible and terrifying. He mentions as well that the horror when the prisoner is executed is unfair: blindfolded, tied, short-distanced with the soldier, created a hole as big as a fist. To Tarrou, this incident is like a killing cycle, whether people kill or being killed by other. Tarrou feels that he experiences such an alienation himself. It is because he refuses to kill anyone else. He mentions he doomed himself to exile which can never end (P, 229). He mocks the concern to follow the others’ way of killing by considering the feeling that he has as “deficiency” rather than “superiority”: So it’s a deficiency, not a superiority. This sick feeling created, to Tarrou, a feeling of estrangement, of knowing a different version of his father, someone that he used to know and he thought he 44

(56) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI knows. Not only that, but it is also because of the case handled by his father, on how someone is judged and then executed by the death penalty, which he considered as unfair and inhuman. Since then, Tarrou realized that he seems to be alienated from himself, haunted by everything from his past, and lost something which he called as peace. He considered himself to have already stricken by the plague for years and until the coming of Oran’s plague. Therefore, he decided to join the sanitary squad with Rieux to find himself and to find peace. Rambert, a journalist from outside Oran, is also trapped in the town during the quarantine. He has to be one of the prisoners of the plague. He is forced to stay there, prohibited to become whom he wants to be, and exiled from his home. He is one of the examples of the visitors of Oran who has to suffer the same plague as the original inhabitants. He has to experience being trapped in a tragic nostalgia of imagining the happier past, the era before the coming of the plague and realizing that they actually have to suffer the same calamity. The other state of alienation is described by the narrator at the beginning of Part Two of the novel. Without mentioning any name, the narrator describes that the plague affects lovers as well. The pestilence creates a psychological alienation of those who love each other and has to be separated because of the plague. They suffer from the remorse of not knowing the habits of their lover or having the inability to find information about their past. The narrator sums up that this “misfortune” coming from outside and befallen a whole town does more than an unmerited sorrow with which they might well be outraged (P, 68). 45

(57) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI In Kering, the individual alienation takes place since the very early part of the novel as it opens with the departures of the inhabitants of the transmigration area. The individual alienation is suffered by the main character, Our Hero since he was left by the other inhabitants of the drought-stricken area. They decide to leave the area because they can no longer stand with the condition of the area devastated by the drought, especially since the last well dried. Different to what Camus writes in The Plague, Simatupang illustrates the individual alienation by creating gradual leaving of the inhabitants of the transmigration area. One by one, the inhabitants leave the city because of the consideration that the only way to avoid the uncertainty, suffering, and death (because of the disaster) is to leave the dry area. The consequence is that the man with glasses (Si Kacamata) becomes the first to leave the area. The departure of the man with glasses inspires other inhabitants to leave the area, especially after there is no sufficient response from the transmigration officer related to the disaster and no adequate argument from Our Hero to make the other inhabitants stay. As it is already decided through a short meeting: Demikian putusan mereka. Mereka pulang ke gubuk masing-masing. Berita tentang si Kacamata yang sudah berangkat duluan, merangsang beberapa mereka untuk menabrak malam dan berangkat segera. […] Sebagian lagi, berangkat esoknya. Lusanya. Dan seterusnya. Akhirnya, tinggallah lagi tokoh kita (K, 13). (That was what they had decided. They went back to their huts. The news of Glasses’ departure inspired some of them to leave at once, even though it was nighttime. […] Others left the next morning, the next day, and so on. Finally, only Our Hero remained.) 46

(58) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Then, the little fat man becomes the last person to leave Our Hero: Hari itu si Gemuk pendek – yang mengantar si Kacamata dulu pergi – akan berangkat, meninggalkan dia sebatang kara di perkampungan itu (K, 13) (That day the departure of little fat man – who took the Glasses to go – left him all alone in the village.). The departure of the little fat man marks the beginning of Our Hero’s first individual alienation since after the incident, he lives in that area all alone. Among all of the inhabitants’ departures, the departure of the little fat man is very crucial since he is one of the characters who later has a strong relation with Our Hero. Our Hero does not only experience individual alienation once, but twice. The first individual alienation takes place at the beginning of the novel with the departure of all inhabitants of the transmigration area. The second individual alienation happens when Our Hero discovers a kampong (village) during his return from the hospital to the transmigration area. In this scene, Our Hero meets the Beard (Si Janggut), an ex-gangster leader. As Our Hero meets the Beard, they start to live together in the village. However, after sometimes, the well in the Beard’s village is getting drained. The water supply stored in the pots vanishes. The drought not only happens in the previous transmigration area but also in this village where several ex-gangsters live. They struggle to find out a way to get out from the situation by formulating several possibilities. They finally decide that they are going to “stay and be ordinary in their extraordinary village, and wait like ordinary men for whatever extraordinary thing might happen” (“Tinggal biasa di kampung tak biasa itu, menantikan secara biasa saja apa yang biasa terjadi dengan keadaan tak biasa seperti itu”) (K, 108). This results in a fatal condition, by which the Beard cannot 47

(59) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI stand anymore since the last well is already running out of the water. His body is getting hot. Saliva is coming out from his nose and his mouth, again and again. Although Our Hero tries to entertain him by saying that that kind situation is still considered usual, the Beard only answers it with a smile, and then dies. Along with the departure of the little fat man at the beginning of the novel, the death of the Beard is also crucial. It is so because the Beard plays a very important role in Our Hero’s journey to deal with the drought. The Beard becomes his partner of discussion in so many ways (life, love, women, philosophy, and the past) and of struggling with the drought. Even after the death of the Beard, Our Hero decides not to bury him. To him, the Beard is considered more concrete, real and advantageous “above” the ground rather than “under” the ground. This marks Our Hero’s second individual alienation in Kering. 3.2.2. Collective Alienation In addition to individual alienation, The Plague also presents what is called as collective alienation. This reflects that alienation is not only suffered by an individual, but also a group of people. It is important to note that although the inhabitants of Oran live together in the city, it does not guarantee that they do not suffer from alienation. Collective alienation can still take place in terms of the alienation of the inhabitants of Oran which are isolated from other cities and do not have any access towards the outside world at all. 48

(60) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI In The Plague, the greater scale of isolation starts to take over the town when the symptoms of disease struck some of the citizens and the bad weather is approaching the town. Hemmed in by lines and lines of whitewashed walls, walking between rows of dusty shops, or riding in the dingy yellow streetcars, you felt, as it were, trapped by the climate (P, 29). The citizens of Oran do not only feel the psychological alienation, which is measured from the feeling of the individuals by the rising horror caused by the plague, but they also suffer from geographical alienation since the gates of the town were shut as the novel reaches Part II. This marks the difficulties of the citizens to do their business as usual. What is more striking about this alienation is that the distance—not only the physical but also psychological—made by the exile. These individuals suffer the alienation not only in a short period but more than they expected. In a sudden, they are cut off, hopelessly, prevented from seeing one to another, or even communicating one another. Although at the beginning of there are some privileges given to those who have “urgent cases” of deaths, marriages, and births, the inhabitants of Oran have to face an absurd condition of being cut off, totally, from the outside world. They are “pushed” to use the telephone booth which then being left because of the crowd of the queue. They are prohibited to send even letter because of the fear of transmitting the disease. They are pushed into the corner that they have to back to use the ten-word telegram although this temporary solution is not effective also considering they are trapped into the act of repeating the “dead phrases”, creating a feeling of sickness, by which these lead to an act without meaning. The suffering of alienation is getting greater when the government 49

(61) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI implements the curfew hour, changing the whole city of Oran into a huge necropolis and putting it into complete darkness (P, 155). This total alienation reaches its climax when the city is totally exiled and turns into “a lost island of the damned” (P, 152). According to the narrator, the most deadly form of the plague’s impacts is exile or separation, it occurs in the later phase of the plague, as it is described: And in deference to this scruple he is constrained to admit that, though the chief source of distress, the deepest as well as the most widespread, was separation – and it is his duty to say more about it as it existed in the later stages of the plague – it cannot be denied that even this distress was coming to lose something of its poignancy (P, 163). What is horrible about the absurd condition of the alienation in The Plague is the existence of multiple layers of alienation. These multiple layers occur in the condition by which, under the closing of the city, exiled from other cities, the invalids of Oran is also exiled in a specific place in one place of the city. This condition hinders the invalid to connect to their family or other relatives. What makes it worse is that these invalids are almost forgotten since their families and relatives are busy taking care of their own business in terms of dealing with the plague. In Simatupang’s Kering, collective isolation is manifested in the estrangement of the inhabitants from the aid or funding of the government. They are all isolated from their daily needs. Their collective alienation exists because the government is unable to send seed, water, and anything they wanted. Therefore, by this condition, the inhabitants of the transmigration area feel the same feeling of alienation or can be called as collective alienation. 50

(62) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Simatupang’s Kering shares things in common with Camus’ The Plague, the isolation was felt by the main character throughout the novel. What so different with the concept of alienation between the two literary works is that, in Camus, human (individual and the inhabitants of Oran) suffers from both isolations in term of death and geographical isolation (separation from the other area because of the quarantine), while in Kering, the isolation is in terms of the death and departure of the people. It is proven that the main character possesses the freedom to visit another area, other than the transmigration area, where the drought takes place. These two forms of alienations, individual and collective, caused by the plague, in Camus’ concept are called exile. These two forms of alienation exist in both The Plague and Kering. The feeling of exile, as reflected in The Plague, is described as: “… that sensation of a void within which never left us, that irrational longing to hark back to the past or else to speed up the march of time, and those keen shafts of memory that stung like fire” (P, 65) The situation experienced by the inhabitants of Oran is the manifestation of Camus’ concept of exile. This situation prevents them to be able to recognize themselves, as an individual or citizens of Oran and creates distances between their expectation (longing for the past) and the truth (the present condition of the city). This is also in accordance with the situation proposed by Camus in The Rebel: Then the time of exile begins, the endless search for justification, the aimless nostalgia, “the most painful, the most heartbreaking question, that of the heart which asks itself: where can I feel at home?”72 72 A. Camus, Rebel, p. 70. 51

(63) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI He notes that the exile suffers the citizens causing them not to be able to do their daily habits and creating the feeling of estranged from their own city. Just like in The Plague, Camus illustrates that the inhabitants of Oran are longing for the ringing of the doorbell, expecting someone they know to come or waiting for a traveler arriving from the evening train. However, this becomes absurd as they have to face the reality that no one is actually in front of the door and no train arrives in the evening. The commercial activity of Oran is also stopped. The economic activities are suddenly halted. There are no vehicles entering the town. There are no boats arrived in the harbors and ports. The cars seem to “move in circles”. These also are the impacts of the plague. In dealing with this, Camus does not lead the people to simply accept the situation of being exiled but he proposes them to struggle through rebellion. 3.3. Disease, Disaster and Foot-Dragging Government In a time of disease and disaster, one of the most important parties that should play a role is the government. Government plays important parts, especially in disaster mitigation. As it is noted by Atef M. Radwan in his article “Augmentation of Health Care Capacity in Large-Scale Disasters” that although the primary preparation and response to a disaster is local, the national authority plays a big role with the standardization of the process.73 The quick response of the government also becomes a crucial factor in the management of the disaster, especially when 73 Atef M. Radwan, “Augmentation of Health Care Capacity in Large-Scale Disasters.” Large-Scale Disaster: Prediction, Control, and Mitigation. Ed. Mohamed Gad-el-Hak (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 173. 52

(64) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI the disaster level is considered highly dangerous or large-scale. It is extremely suggested that emergency response of the government must be incorporated with that of local disaster response teams.74 However, the expectation related to the involvement of government becomes desperately absurd since the government gives very slow responses or nothing at all. This expectation and the slow response government marks another form of absurdity and this appears on both of the novel, The Plague and Kering. The indication of the slow movements of government can be recognized in the beginning when Rieux tries to contact his friend in the Municipal Office, Mercier. Rieux mentions that whether there is already step taken by the government in reaction to the hundreds of the dead rats. However, Mercier’s reaction is oversimplifying the problem, doubting that such a step can solve the problem. As the number of dead rats starting to increase, on April 18, the newspapers put this unusual occurrence as their headlines as well as questioning the step the government office has already taken. It is described that the government “had not contemplated doing anything at all” (P, 14), although later the government tries to initiate a meeting discussing the incident. Later, when the plague started to rise up, and spread its disease to kill human being (M. Michel and other people), the newspaper headlines put the question on the government’s action once again: ‘Are our city fathers aware that the decaying bodies of these rodents constitute a grave danger to the population?’ (P, 26) 74 A. M. Radwan, p. 173. 53

(65) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI It is actually not only the Municipal Office which takes a very slow response on the calamity, unfortunately the one which is supposed to be responsible to it, which is Dr. Richard, the chairman of the local Medical Association, also refuses to take immediate action in considering the disease as something extraordinary, and send new patients into quarantine. Richard simply addresses that he cannot do anything about it and concludes that such authority belongs only to the Prefect. Richard shows his powerlessness in taking certain action in a later scene. When the dead patients reach a higher number of evidence and extra checking on the burials, he always mentions that he does not have the powers in doing so. In another occasion, when the plague already kills many people, Rieux notices that the government slowly responds to the phenomena. He notes in his diary with an entry: “Negative reply” (P, 32). This is absurd by looking at the condition of Rieux who needs medical stuff and has to visit so many patients with similar yet killing symptoms. Up to this point, it is so strange that the government still does nothing as described: …[G]overnment and municipal officials were putting their heads together. So long as each individual doctor had come across only two or three cases, no one had thought of taking action (P, 33). Despite the figures of the dead patients caused by the plague, the government still tries to ignore to declare the situation as a plague and refuses to take strategic steps towards the plague. Further evidence can be seen later when Rieux believed that the situation is getting difficult, he persuaded the authorities to convene a health committee at the Prefect’s office. However, it is still not easy to push the government to declare the 54

(66) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI critical situation due to the plague. Castel, one of Rieux’s colleague, believes that it should not be declared as plague since the most important thing is not the unsound arguments of not declaring it as a plague but rather to make everyone think. Richard, another Rieux’s colleague, is in agreement with Castel. He suggests, rather than declaring it as a state of plague, it is better to implement a wait-and-see policy. He also suggests that what Rieux tries to propose is an act of “painting too black a picture” (P, 46), regarding it as an act of exaggeration. It is only after a debate that finally Rieux can convince the Prefect to declare a state of plague and take immediate action on it. Rieux further emphasizes that it is not the declaration of the plague that is the most important, but it is the precaution that should be done to prevent the inhabitants of the city to be wiped out. Rieux’s expectation somehow becomes absurd for the government’s action that he demands to do is not done properly. He notices from the small official notices distributed in places that attract less attention. He remarks that “[i]t was hard to find in these notices any indication that the authorities were facing the situation squarely” (P, 48). He believes that the government, with such a plain statement of trying to make the citizens far from being panic and taking preventions from the plague, oversimplifies the situation. Later, when the plague starts to infect more people, some policies were taken by the local hospital, calling it as “specially equipped” ward: evacuating another patient from the ward area, sealing the windows to avoid spreading infection and setting a sanitary cordon. These local policies, however, do not put Rieux and other doctors into a positive impression of the government’s action. Instead, it is written: “The only hope was that the outbreak 55

(67) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI would die a natural death; it certainly wouldn’t be arrested by the measures the authorities had so far devised” (P, 56). Furthermore, after Rieux called the Prefect asking for further actions, the response is again unsatisfying. After knowing the statistics of the victims, the Prefect says that he is going to ask the government’s orders. Then, Rieux responds it sarcastically that what is needed is “imagination” rather than orders. It is only the last of Part I, the government gets alarmed that the figure of the plague’s victims “shot up again, vertically” although it decreases previously. Finally Part I of the novel is closed with the order from the government: “Proclaim a state of plague stop close the town” (P, 59). The government also gives a very slow response towards Rambert’s request for permission to leave the town. Although Rambert struggles through officialdom, it gives no result. Later, Rambert is pushed to realize that his efforts are beyond his expectation. The government, in the representation of the Prefect officials, once again is absent. The worst thing after the quarantine of the city is that these offices keep functioning but with their own initiatives without being known by higher officials. When the plague transforms into more deadly disease (of becoming pneumonic), the doctors, in another meeting, push the Prefect to issue new regulation related to the mouth-to-mouth contagion. Although the Prefect does what they ask, the government, unfortunately “were groping, more or less, in the dark” (P, 113). Its move is aimless, in an uncertain manner. In details, Tarrou notes that 56

(68) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI the sanitary department is inefficient and understaffed, letting the individual doctor to work by himself, especially Rieux. The issue of transmigration and the minimum involvement of the government also becomes the issue which is confronted in Simatupang’s Kering. Not only to show that the condition of the transmigration area becomes so contrasted with the expectation of the transmigrants but also to show how frustrating it is to know that the government, which becomes one of the parties responsible with the situation, responses slowly to the condition. The same case related to the foot-dragging government also happens in Simatupang’s Kering. When the main character starts questioning about the condition of the transmigration area, there is no proper response from the government, which is represented by the transmigration officer. The officer mentions that the government had helped them with seed, water, anything they wanted when it could (K, 11). To our hero, it is considered as only cheap diplomacy to conceal the fact that he had nothing and was not prepared to do very much for them. In the early part of the novel, the transmigration officer as the representative of the government has no adequate argument related to the drought and how to deal with it. He even returns the decision to the inhabitants of the area to stay or to leave the area. It is worsened since it is ended with the departure of the officer during the meeting (K, 11). The existence of government, in the case of disaster mitigation or disease management, is indeed needed as the decision-making institution to take a strategic 57

(69) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI step on it. However, the absence and foot-dragging movement of government in two novels contribute to the absurd condition experienced by the inhabitants of Oran in The Plague and the transmigrants in Kering. The hope from Rieux, for example, is considered as a futile condition to the struggle for a better situation. This marks the unnecessary act of hope, the concept developed by Camus in confronting absurdity. It is the same with the case of the inhabitants of the transmigrant area who expect for the contribution of the government in solving their drought problem in their area. In response to this, Camus proposes the concept of rebellion rather than being idle or hoping in solving the problems of life. 3.4. From Individual Death to Collective Death The issue of death also becomes the connecting dots between The Plague and Kering. In both of the novels, several characters suffer from the incident of deaths. It is important to discuss this issue since, in the Philosophy of the Absurd proposed by Camus, he considers that death is the most obvious form of absurdity75. Both of the writers respond to death in their own approach. On one hand, Camus responds it seriously from the beginning until the end of the novel. On the other hand, Simatupang considers death as something natural and sometimes he writes it with wittiness. In The Plague, death takes place in every part of the novel since the coming of the plague to the city of Oran. The number of death increases time by time. The first wave of death happens to the rats, which is believed to be the carrier of the 75 A. Camus, Myth, p. 59. 58

(70) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI disease. The second wave is experienced by the human victims of the plague. The third wave of death is experienced by the dogs and the cats. They are killed because the government implements a new regulation to execute them since they are also suspected as a possible carrier of the infection (P, 103). Camus tries to prove that death as the obvious form of absurdity is by showing the death of the children because of the plague. To Camus, the struggle to find the justification of the disease killing the children cannot be found. This creates disagreement between Rieux and Father Paneloux. While Father Paneloux tries to convince everyone that the death of the children is the destiny from God, Rieux disagrees with the reason by arguing that the death of these “innocent victims” is an abominable thing (P, 193). What is absurd about death is not the incident of the death alone, but how someone suffers from death. The first human victim of the plague becomes a clear portrayal of the absurdity of death. It is described that as the death toll reaches higher statistics, the number of victims who suffer from the plague and death are also increasing. Most of them suffer from a similar way of death, screaming in agony. This is what can be considered as the collective death. It is not about the victims who die simultaneously but it is more on the incident by which several victims die because of the similar cause of death. In the later phase of the plague, it evolves into a more dangerous killer as it turns out that the disease came along with pneumonia. In this more deadly form, death kills more people, the symptom gets worse and vaccines no longer effective (P, 113). More illustrations on how devastating is the plague can be seen throughout 59

(71) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Part III of the novel. By referring to the narrator’s description, the plague is personified as something which “swallowed up everything and everyone” (P, 151) by which this proves that the plague is very overwhelming. Death, as described by the narrator, occurred more which is marked by the ambulance which frequently clangs more and more, and the dry wind that carries the disease throughout the town and the business center. By referring to the condition that most of the people in Oran are infected by the disease and waits for the death to take them, the plague can be considered as a death sentence, something that Camus always resist. This ‘death sentence’ gets worst since everyone in the city seems to be under this death sentence. He adds as if it a kind of ‘execution’. The plague has no mercy to anyone. To them, every day is celebrated as if it is always “The Day of The Dead” (P, 212). The arson activity, by which the resident tried to burn their own house assuming that it will kill off the disease, worsen the condition of the imprisonment. Not only that, the plague degrades the values of human life as it turns into something meaningless. The number of dead bodies is considered as simply dead bodies or ‘a mere drop in the ocean’ (P, 155). They are buried with propriety at first but later, because by the force, these dead bodies are put into one it, indiscriminately of men and women. What makes them different to the dead animals – cats and dogs – is that “men’s deaths are checked and entered up” while the animals are not. The Plague serves as the illustration of Camus’ concept on the absurdity of death. It is not only to the death of one individual but the death of several people 60

(72) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI living under the same “death sentence”, the collective death. Everyone seems to have an equal condition, but none want that kind of equality. Kering also shows several incidents of death. Death in Simatupang’s Kering serves the definition that death is absurd because it does not make sense or irrational. For example, the death of the people in the street during the arrival of the first symptom of hard rain after a long period of drought. Some of the people suffer from death with various form. However, their deaths are actually indirect victims of the drought although they do not die in the same area or with the same case. The first incident of death in Kering involves the Beard, Our Hero’s companion. By their second arrival in the strange isolated village, they have to face the condition that their last well are running out of water, all of their dogs were dead, and all of the pots were broken, whether they held water or not. These conditions lead them to their Day of Judgment. The Beard becomes the first victim. One day he could no longer stand up. He had a fever. Clear saliva ran from his nose and mouth all the time. He was dead (K, 108). This becomes the first evidence that the drought already kills one human victim. There is one incident of collective death in Kering. The incident involves the bandits. The reason of their death is irrational. As bandit, they used to have the principles of theft, robbery, arson, murder, and rape. It is absurd and illogical that they also feel bore of the things they used to do. The result of this is that the morale of the gang of thug declined. They deliberately let the government troops catch them, one by one. Some even ran and surrendered, begging to be pardoned. Until one day only the core of the thugs was left. After they had argument with The Beard 61

(73) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI as the leader of the bandits, they shot each other. The result is that all of the bandits were dead. However, the Beard realized that they actually commit an indirect suicide. It is because he found out that none of their weapons had tried to hit him. Another occurrence of death as the form of absurdity can be found in Kering. In the incidence of the first arrival of the rain, all of the citizens are happy to welcome rain. Simatupang illustrates that with description full of wittiness: Ketika gerimis pertama turun, dunia serasa kiamat. Mereka seperti kemasukan setan. Ada yang melompat tinggi sekali. Dengan sendiri jatuhnyapun deras sekali. Otaknya berhamburan. Ada yang berteriak keras sekali. Sejak itu, hilang suaranya. Selama-lamanya. Ada yang, setelah merobek baju celananya lebih dulu, merobek mukanya sendiri. Sejak itu, dia buta. Sejak itu, dia berjari 10 kurang 1, 10 kurang 2, atau kurang lagi (K, 126). (When the mist fell, it was like the Day of Judgment. The devil seemed to own everyone. Some people jumped as high as they could and fell, bashing their brains. Others screamed as loud as they could and were dumb for ever more. Some tore their clothes then their faces, and were blind for ever more. Deformed. For ever more. Some chewed their fingers. And lived ever after with ten fingers minus one, ten minus two, or worse.) At first, this seems to be a dream come true for them. Rain falls after a long period of drought. However, this is simply temporary, the nature plays game with them. Right after the last thunder broke, the show was over. The sun returns even brighter than before. Although their deaths cannot be directly connected with the drought, they actually become the indirect victim of it. It is because they expect for the rain so that they will do anything for it, but they eventually died also because of it. Death, whether it is individual or collective, occurs in The Plague and Kering. The reason can be because of the disease or disaster. Reflecting to Camus’ principle, death is the obvious form of absurdity, so it does not only emphasize on the causes of death but also the manner of death. Therefore, The Plague and Kering serve as 62

(74) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI the manifestation of death as one form of absurdity illustrated by their respective writers. The theme of absurdity exists in Camus’ The Plague and Simatupang’s Kering. The manifestation of Camus’ concept of absurdity can be found throughout the novels. Although they come from the same ground of Camus’ concept, the types of absurdity exist in both novels in similar and different ways. It is similar in the issue of how the characters have to confront with the extreme contrast of condition where they live, the alienations that they have to suffer from, the slow response of the government, and death. It is different in terms of the form of catastrophe they have to face. In The Plague, the inhabitants have to confront with the deadly disease while in Kering, the inhabitants of the transmigration area have to face the longlasting drought. 63

(75) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI CHAPTER IV REBELLION IN CAMUS’ THE PLAGUE AND SIMATUPANG’S KERING The condition by which human experience any forms of absurdity—be it a disease, disaster, or anything that follows—is not the end of the story, in fact, it is only the beginning. What is not less important to Camus is the way how human has to deal with it. Therefore, this section serves to elaborate the manifestations of Camus’ concept of rebellion in dealing with the absurd described in the previous section. The ways of dealing based on Camus’ concept of rebellion, in accordance to the philosophy of the absurd, are embracing the absurd, keeping the struggle, seeking freedom/authenticity by oneself, doing individual and collective rebellion, and fighting with or without God. 4.1. Embracing the Absurd The basic way to deal with the absurdity is embracing it. It is to realize that absurdity does exist. As Camus believes that the meaningless of life, with the emergence of absurdity, is only the beginning. What is more important for Camus is that human should not take it as a dead end76. In addition, the way human dealing with it is also not less important. In The Plague, the existence of the calamity is considered as the biggest form of the cause of absurdity. In the beginning, some characters actually refuse to acknowledge that the plague already took place. As it is seen the way Rieux 76 A. Camus, Lyrical, p. 346. 64

(76) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI addresses the dead rats to Othon aat the beginning of the novel as “nothing,” (P, 11) although later he is fully aware that the incident is somehow out of ordinary. Rieux’s mother also considers this unusual occurrence—of the dead rats—with the expression: “It’s like that sometimes” (P, 12). The other rejection of the possibility of the plague is also mentioned by the police who investigate Cottard’s motive in committing suicide. The police consider that “it must be the weather” and “that’s what it is” (P, 32). Knowing that the pestilence starting to take over the town, the residents still try to reject its existence: In this respect our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away… (P, 35) Later, by reflecting on the plagues happened in the past, Rieux finally recognizes that one thing that he has to do first is that to acknowledge that this plague, does exist. Before going further, it is about “recognizing what had to be recognized” (P, 38). That is exactly what Rieux is going to do, to acknowledge it, to get used to it, to cope with it and to overcome it. The act of embracing the absurd is also shown by the inhabitants of Oran when they decide to not inviting their relatives or family members to the city, even the government allows them to do that at the beginning of the quarantine. They believe that by doing so, they increase the possibility to transmit the disease and burden of being the prisoners of the plague. Camus tries to manifest his belief that “At the height of the epidemic we saw only one case in which natural emotions overcame the fear of death in a particularly painful form” (P, 64). By saying this, 65

(77) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Camus wants the citizens to adapt to the condition of the city although they are living under the death sentence of the plague. To Camus, this—the alertness that the absurd exists—is the initial step of absurdity coping mechanism. The same case happens to Our Hero in Kering. While other transmigrants left the village because of the drought, Our Hero sticks to his principle to stay and face the absurd. He believes that he can survive throughout the drought. He analogizes himself as “a captain always goes down with the sinking ship” (K, 13). Once he is challenged by the little fat man in the end of Chapter One. The little fat man questions the Our Hero’s principle by addressing it as nothing to prove. However, Our Hero is a bit offended and demanded respect of any principle he holds, no matter what. On another occasion, once again, Our Hero is proven to embrace the absurd as he accepts the condition of being alienated from everyone who are already left him alone in the transmigration area. As it is mentioned: “Seperti manusia dengan panas di neraka, tokoh kita menerima hidupnya penuh sunyi itu sebagaimana adanya. Mau tak mau” (K, 29) (Just like a man with fire in hell as an essential part of his being, Our Hero accepted loneliness. Whether he wanted to or not.) The act of embracing the absurd as suggested by the characters in both novels is in line with Camus’ initial step in confronting the absurd. To Camus, embracing “the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful”77. Without having this ‘necessary experience’ man surely cannot take absurdity into account. 77 A. Camus, Lyrical, p. 346. 66

(78) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Therefore it will possibly lead into act of despair or suicide, which of course, not the solution Camus is intended. 4.2. Being Persistence in Living Life In The Plague, the citizens of Oran and the volunteer of the plague keep struggling for the cure and the progress of curing the disease of the infected citizens, despite the fact that the government acts slowly toward the medication process. Rieux, which is portrayed as having “robust constitution” and not “really tired,” can be seen as the role model of the individual striving for a better future. He realizes that the period of the plague is uncertain. The arrival of the serum is also hard to predict. The symptoms of the plague, as well, are difficult to be formulated. However, Rieux keeps struggling to do his official job as a doctor, to run three auxiliary hospitals, to administer the patients himself, and to do many medical visits around the town. He does this without any exaggerated expectation of finding the cure and of offering a guarantee that the inhabitants might escape from death. He knows how to fight this plague among those uncertainties by saying: “But it’s only a matter of sticking to it, and my nerves will steady down, you’ll see” (P, 82). The spirit of struggling showed by Rieux is transmitted to his team member in the sanitary squad. In a state of emergency, worsening with the death of Richard, the team believe that their duty is to keep helping Rieux in carrying his job serving the patients although it is already categorized as extraordinary: “All they had to do was to carry on automatically, so to speak, their all but superhuman task” (P, 213). 67

(79) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Another example of the act of struggling is shown by Rambert. Although he is considered coward, since he always wants to escape from the city during the quarantine, his efforts is considered noble by Rieux. Because to Rieux, Rambert’s effort to get out from the city is the representation of resistance towards the ‘bondage’ of the plague (P, 128). His persistence in organizing many ways to escape from the city is actually important to be embraced by other inhabitants of the city by not emphasizing on the word ‘escape’ but more in ‘persistence’. One may ask that what is important of struggling in a world without meaning. Everything that one individual does in the world seems to be pointless. Camus answers with the scene on the recovered patients of the plague, as he writes through the voice of Rieux: “But if you refuse to be beaten, you have some pleasant surprises” (P, 144). Here Camus wants to show that the job for human is to struggle. In a latter scene, although there is no guarantee from the approval of the authority, the people keep struggling until they are appreciated by the government. And the government support, taking strategic steps towards the decreasing number of space for the cemetery (P, 161). One of the biggest challenge for the character in The Plague especially Rieux is the perception of others. Amidst the exhaustion, Rieux thinks about the coping mechanism he can do to confront it which is by hardening his heart. For he knew this was the only way of carrying on (P, 172). It is such an irony that Rieux is accused of having no heart, but he has that, it is because by hardening his heart, to keep that feeling and emotion to himself and not showing everyone else is his own way to survive twenty hours a day or watching someone in agony by which he 68

(80) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI deserves to live, or to face the other on the next morning. It is not his job, to cure one of the disease. However, his job is to detect, to see, to describe, to register, and then condemn the disease. In Kering, the struggle of the main character also reflects his persistence to struggle to live his life. As the water runs out, Our Hero sets the strategy to survive amid the drought. He, then, tries to dig a new well in order to obtain a new source of water. He does not really pay further attention whether it is going to lead to the availability of new water source or not. All he thinks about is to dig the well. Dia akan menggali terus, sampai ditemukannya air. Bila tak bertemu air? Tak mengapa. Dia telah punya kesibukan yang mengucurkan keringatnya dan memelihara otot-ototnya. Moralnya tidak akan menjadi bejat disebabkan terlalu banyak waktu luang. Dalam pada itu, tentulah elah berlalu pula 1 atau 2 bulan. Siapa tahu, kemarau akan lewat, hujan turun. Bila tidak? Tak mengapa. Dia akan menggali terus. Bila perlu menembus bundaran bumi dan sampai misalnya di kulit bumi di Mexico. Atau Texas (K, 15). (He would keep digging until he found water. And if he didn’t find water? That didn’t matter. The work would keep his body busy and his mind from going mad. It would take a month or two. Perhaps the drought might be over by then, it might rain. And if it didn’t rain? That didn’t matter. He would keep digging. If necessary tight through the earth until he surfaced in Mexico or Texas.) As he struggles for more after that. He tries to leave the city and refusing the help from his friend and tries to find the way back to the transmigration area. He holds his principle of always walking and walking because there is no exact map or direction to the area: “Jalan terus dan terus” (To walk and walk). This is the representation of the struggle of man, an analogy to Sisyphus, as mentioned by Camus. These portrayals of the individuals who struggle to confront the absurd are the concept of Camus’ role model. It is the manifestation of his principle: In certain 69

(81) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI cases carrying on, merely continuing, is superhuman.78 Therefore by doing so, one can have this ability to confront the truth no matter absurd it is. This act of “carrying on” to Camus is one type of metaphysical rebellion. He further emphasizes that “it is not the rebellion which is noble, but its aim”.79 Simatupang’s perspective is in line with Camus’. Simatupang, through his main character, explains that this way of living of walking and keep moving forward is an act of demonstrasi militansi (demonstration of militancy). Further, Our Hero also mentions that this is the way he practices his religion. A religion that is practiced limited only to himself, different to what has been practiced by the Prophet. It is his personal religion. In addition, this act of militancy is not an act of surrender, to the condition, the drought or the absurd. It is an act of selfconsciousness of keep moving forward of facing the absurd with a calculated, intelligent, sane, and strong plan right through a hurricane and even if the sky threatens to fall. Additionally, to Camus, the act of struggling, or carrying on is better than being silent or doing nothing. Being silent gives impression that one has opinion and wants nothing80. 4.3. Cultivating New Habits Habits play an important role in the life of inhabitants of Oran. As described in the early part of the novel, it becomes the characteristic of the life of Oran. The civilization of Oran relies much on their “cultivated habits” of living. However, these habits have to be terminated because of the plague. One other way to confront Albert Camus, The Fall. Trans. Justin O’Brien (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1963), p. 84. A. Camus, Rebel, p. 101. 80 A. Camus, Fall, p. 14. 78 79 70

(82) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI the plague is that by developing a new habit. This is important since there is no one who can guarantee when the plague will disappear. Therefore, they try hard to maintain their old habit while the other cultivate new habit to counteract the existence of the plague. Some of them visit the café or restaurant which are still open, just like what Mr. Othon did. He insists to still visit the restaurant and will not let the plague change his habit (P, 106). To him, this is one way to deal with the plague. Some other “seem determined to counteract the plague by a lavish display of luxury” (P, 110). One new habit seems to be futile, as an example, the attitude of the inhabitants of Oran to worship the weather or ‘weather-conscious’. To some people, after the coming of the plague, the condition of the weather becomes something decisive in curing the disease by assuming that sunny days will bring them closer to the medication while rainy days will carry them to dead end. To Camus, this way of hoping contribute to nothing. It does not make thing better. They cannot rely on the weather. They have to do something other than depending on the weather forecast. Another futile habit done by the inhabitant of Oran is consuming prophecies. This is done in order to hope that the plague will end (P, 199), diverted from reading the love-stories that are usually consumed before the coming of the plague, reading Nostradamus and St. Odilia. The habit of consuming prophecy results in nothing other than the profit gained by the local printing firms. Here, actually Camus wants to criticize the habit of hoping which is considered as meaningless. Other habit can be a simple thing to do, for example, having a chat. The conversation between the team members is a great example. While filing the 71

(83) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI reports, Grand and Rieux would have a chat, and then formed the habit of including Tarrou and Grand in their talks (P, 123). This simple chat, incredibly, creates a sensation of relaxation of the strain. This type of simple pleasure means a lot during the plague. The mechanism of cultivating new habits in confronting absurdity also exists in Simatupang’s Kering. After all of the inhabitants left the transmigration area, Our Hero has to face the absurd in the form of drought and alienation. By becoming aware of this condition and to confront it, Our Hero develops new habit of talking and making conversation with inanimate things, and also a dead body. The habits in Kering is called “kesibukan”. As Simatupang mentions: Kesibukan adalah dalih untuk menerima kehidupan di perkampungan ini (K, 15). Simatupang, in addition to Camus, believes that one way to deal with the absurd condition is by cultivating a new habit. This habit is intended to counter the absurd to defeat the man to live his life. In Kering, the implementation of cultivating new habits are manifested in several things. The first, Our Hero tries to develop a new habit after the departure of all inhabitants in the transmigration area. He needs a thing to do to defeat the unbearable heat of the sun, the earth which becomes a wasteland, and other things caused by the drought. Therefore, he decides to dig a well until he finds water. He keeps this as his routines, starting from very early in the morning with the rising frequency. This cultivation of a new habit is a coping mechanism for the changed world. The normal life of Oran is suddenly changed because of the existence of the plague. The life in the transmigration area is also changed because of the drought. The 72

(84) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI regularity of life has changed. The characters in the novels then develop new habits. These new habits are developed of course under the conscious belief that something has changed, therefore they have to change their way of living. This is the way an individual adapts with the absurd situation. This way of adaptation can also be considered as rebellion because they have self-awareness, specifically, and collective consciousness, in general, that the absurd exists and they have to confront with it. 4.4. Building Solidarity to Form Collective Rebellion “Man’s solidarity is founded upon rebellion, and rebellion, in its turn, can only find its justification in this solidarity,”81 Camus writes. Therefore, solidarity and rebellion are two unseparated elements important in confronting the absurdity. To Camus, this act of building solidarity and rebellion does not imply on individual only. This proves his philosophy can also be applicable in the social scope. The Plague and Kering are the example of the manifestation of Camus’ concept of solidarity and rebellion. In The Plague, Camus puts Rieux as the role model of this concept, while in Kering Simatupang makes Our Hero as the representation of men who build the solidarity with other characters to form rebellion against the absurd, the drought. In Camus’ The Plague, after a period of time, the pestilence eventually comes into point that it terrifies the citizens in the city. One of the way to overcome it is by establishing a good relationship with another individual. For example, Cottard 81 A. Camus, Rebel, p. 22. 73

(85) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI experiences a drastic change after his attempt of suicide. He tries to be “in everybody’s good books” (P, 50). Rieux also feels the same. The thought about the plague really consumes him. That is why he thinks he feels, just like Cottard: “a need for friendly contacts, human warmth” (P, 53). The feeling of solidarity is also recognized at the beginning of Part Two of the novel. As the gates of the town were shut (because of the plague), the inhabitants realize that they were “in the same boat” (P, 61) and becoming “the concern of all” (P, 121). Camus later sums up that: “a feeling normally as individual as the ache of separation from those one loves suddenly became a feeling in which all shared alike and—together with fear—the greatest affliction of the long period of exile that lay ahead” (P, 121). In order to achieve collective rebellion towards the absurd, the important ingredient is solidarity or collective consciousness. Whereas collective consciousness is built from individual consciousness as well as it is seen in the way Rieux sees the problem. In one occasion, Rieux realizes that the attempt to recover from the plague and its impacts is urgently needed. As Camus puts it: It was, indeed, the hour of day when all the prisoners of the town realized their dereliction and each was thinking that something, no matter what, must be done to hasten their deliverance (P, 101). To reach the level of collective consciousness, the inhabitants of Oran is of course going through process. Some of them probably forced by the situation to accept this “single destiny” and the same feeling shared by all (P, 151). The example is the case of Rambert. He always tried several ways to leave the town until he realizes that he has the same destiny, to have to deal with the plague and be 74

(86) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI quarantined, and decided to stay in the town and join the sanitary squad. All of these are caused by the fact that they have to face this “general feeling of unrest” so that the plague becomes “everybody’s business”. Collective consciousness is also seen in the change of Peneloux’s second sermon. In the first sermon, he positions himself as an outsider, simply preaching the people with his religious dogma on the plague as punishment. However, after he experiences several incidents in the city and interactions with Rieux and his sanitary squads, he changes his perspectives. He no longer considers himself as outsider but as the person who stays with the victims of the plague. This is indicated by the change of the word “you” in his second sermon into the word “we” (P, 200) as it is noticed by the audiences. However, as the plague stays longer in the city, the feeling of collective consciousness is put into a challenge. People who are used to gather outside when they hear the groans are no longer curious in doing so. Their heart now tends to toughen. They lived beside those groans or walked past them as if they had become “the normal speech of men” (P, 104). In another occasion, the inhabitants of Oran sometimes turn their back from their neighbors and twist themselves in the cars, simply to avoid infection. Before coming into decision of fighting the plague, or to rebel against it, the narrator of the novel formulate the question through: “in this predicament the issue was whether or not plague was in their midst and whether or not they must fight against it” (P, 122). This question asks whether or not the citizen are going to fight 75

(87) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI the plague. To Rieux and his other friends, the answer is clear, that: “a fight must be put up” and “no bowing down”. The foundation of Camus’ rebellion is clear: Therefore the individual is not, in himself alone, the embodiment of the values he wishes to defend. It needs all humanity, at least, to comprise them. When he rebels, a man identifies himself with other men and so surpasses himself, and from this point of view human solidarity is metaphysical. But for the moment we are only talking of the kind of solidarity that is born in chains.82 This Sisyphean spirit is brought out to save more people from the plague, no matter what the result is. To fight these plague, Rieux, Tarrou and other friends (with Grand later as the secretary) build a voluntary “sanitary squad” consisting of people who are free from contagion. These teams are built under the principle on their belief of humanity, and their mistrust on the government, not under the name of religion. These teams have two basic functions: to keep the sanitary area untouched by the official and to help Rieux in conducting visits to patients. Later, as more people join the squads, they also drives the vehicle conveying sick persons and dead bodies. As the influence of collective consciousness spreading, the team grows progressively into 5 (P, 148) and the good thing is that they never lacked of men for their duties (P, 159-160). All of these efforts in confronting the plague has to deal with many challenges. One of the most difficult challenges is the death of Tarrou, Rieux’s best friend. He has to suffer to death because he also became one of the plague’s victim. He is one of the most loyal member of sanitary squad who struggle with Rieux since the beginning of the plague. 82 A. Camus, Rebel, p. 17 76

(88) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI Simatupang’s Kering also contains Camus’ manifestation of human’s solidarity as the ingredient for collective rebellion. The persistence between Our Hero and The Beard is the first proof of solidarity in confronting the absurd, in the form of drought. This is shown in their belief that they will never be alone as long as they agree each other (K, 107). This happens in their second arrival on the strange isolated village after realizing that all of their provisions of water and food were already gone. The sample of non-selfishness is also shown by Our Hero, at the time he knows that the government does not accept the proposal in building the bandit hideout as a new city, he struggles to find a way out. Fortunately, after the death of little fat man, he bequeathed his entire estate which he can collect at any time from the public notary. This act of non-selfishness is a noble act. Based on the belief that the common interest is more important than his individual needs. This is clearly shown that he receives a very large amount of money, he actually can buy anything he wants, but he decides to build a town, which also surprised the public notary. Our Hero believes that this is all he needs to do after experiencing through several processes in his life. The feeling of “being in the same boat” is indeed needed by them to stimulate them to their collective consciousness. This consciousness then will be converted into what it is called as metaphysical rebellion, either individual or collective. As Camus puts it: “We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in 77

(89) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI ourselves and in others”.83 This is the principle that Camus held to confront with absurdity. A human being not only fights by himself but also they fight along with other individuals in order to rebel against the death sentence of the plague and the drought. 4.5. Fighting with or without God In confronting the absurdity of the plague, the higher religious authority of Oran decides to organize a Week of Prayer. This is undertaken as a weapon to battle the plague. The event is going to be led by Father Peneloux, a famous priest on his research on St. Augustine. He is going to preach a sermon in the event. However, Camus writes, to scorn this attempt, by writing that the Prayer which has become the topic of conversation for weeks is crowded by the people not because they have an increase in their faiths and choose to have the churchgoing or have a “sudden change of heart” but it is because the town is closed and they cannot do their habits of sea-bathing the way they used to have. The other thing about this religious thing and religion is that the citizens take this issue just like the other issues. They do not take them as a sacred thing. However, they do not take this neither as “indifference” nor “fervor” (P, 86). There is a name which is considered suitable to this frame of mind. They call it “objectivity.” Here, Camus, once again, wants to show that the religious activity, which are carried out by the inhabitants of Oran, is based on non-religious reasons. There is a contradiction in Father Peneloux’s sermon. The citizens who are initially touched by the emotional introduction of the sermon are brought into the 83 A. Camus, Rebel, p. 301. 78

(90) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI contradictory situation, between seeking of religious help from the church or to believe the human’s effort. This contradiction is because these two different perceptions should be taken as an option. As it is described, the church (represented by Father Peneloux proposes two big issues during the Week of Prayer. First, the church accuses the inhabitants of Oran as if they conducted sin, and the coming of the plague is served as God’s punishment (P, 87). The second one is that the church believes that the medication can only be attained by the religious activity or heavenly power and considers “earthly power” such as science cannot save them from the plague. Through the sermon, Father Peneloux and the church offer the way out from the plague, by being obedient to God, accepting that the plague is one of God’s wills, and accepting that religion is the source of all truth. Although the inhabitants of Oran still consider Father Peneloux’s sermon as their consideration on the way they see the plague, they somehow change their way of thinking as the time goes on and the plague chooses to stay. As they start to develop their new habit of living, they put God and religion in the later priority. There is one occasion, through the Tarrou’s observation, that an evangelist who promotes the dogma “God is great and good. Come unto Him” is neglected since the citizens prefer “more immediate interest than God” and give their “thoughts to pleasure” (P, 111). Tarrou emphasizes that he himself just like another citizen, being rebellious to death as God’s punishment as he notes: “But what matter? Death means nothing to men like me. It’s the event that proves them right” (P, 111-112). In Paneloux’s second sermon, he still believes that from the plague someone can still learn something, to be a good Christian. However, the reaction of Rieux 79

(91) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI and the other people in the church are beyond expectation. They believe that there is nothing to learn from the plague. As it can be seen in: “Rieux gathered that, to the Father’s thinking, there was really nothing to explain” (P, 201). Paneloux, as the representative of God, has to confront with Rieux in their principle in seeing the plague. For example, Paneloux’s principle of suffering: “For who would dare to assert that eternal happiness can compensate for a single moment’s human suffering?” (P, 202). This is the important requirement to be a good Christian, as formulated by Paneloux. Paneloux believes that “it was God’s will, we, too, should will it” (P, 203). However, this belief is contradictory to Rieux’s. Since Rieux believes that human suffering is ‘a complete nonsense’ or illogical, especially for children suffered from the plague. Another Paneloux’s statement which is contradictory to Rieux’s belief is that when he says: “The sufferings of children were our bread of affliction, but without this bread our souls would die of spiritual hunger” (P, 203). Later, Paneloux also mentions that the plague is part of the “fatalism,” with adding the word “active” if it possible, which believes that all events are predetermined in advance for all time and human beings are powerless to change them. It is also reflected on the belief that: “As for the rest, we must hold fast, trusting in the divine goodness, even as to the deaths of little children, and not seeking personal respite.” The foundation of living the life and dealing with the disease, in The Plague, is not religion. As prescribed by Camus, the motives of human life is to live the life as it is. Camus proposes Rieux as the model of Camus’ concept of rebellion. When he is asked whether he believes in God or not, he answers that he does not believe 80

(92) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI in Him therefore he fights for every victims of the plague. If he believes in Him he will absolutely leave everything to Him so that He can solve all of the problems with the plague in the city (P, 116). To Rieux, God simply sits in silence in a peaceful heaven since He did not do anything on the victims of the plague, therefore there is no point of believing in Him. Another proof that it is not religion and God which becomes their reason to fight the plague which can be seen in Rieux’s principle: “the only means of fighting a plague is – common decency” (P, 150). Another principle which is held by Rieux is that he struggle with their own effort without involving God because it is “suffering” (P, 118) that teaches him. The absent of God is also agreed by the members in the sanitary squads. The foundation of their involvement is something more practical like “it was the only thing to do” (P, 121). In Kering, the existence of God and religion, which is represented by the priest, is also challenged by the main character, Our Hero and the inhabitant of the silent city. Usaha pastor – setelah mayat-mayat habis – untuk meingkat ke taraf berikutnya, yakni mengetuk pintu dan hati mereka yang masih hidup dan masih saja berkurung dalam rumah-rumah, hingga kini sia-sia saja. Dia tak peroleh jawab apa-apa. Pintu tetap terkunci rapat. Tak ada suara menyahut. Hanya di beberapa rumah kepadanya disiramkan air panas, disusul oleh bunyi pintu dibanting keras-keras (K, 130). (The priest’s efforts—once he had run out of corpses—to advance to the next stage of his campaign, by knocking at the doors and hearts of the living still locked in their houses, failed. There ws absolutely no response. The doors stayed tightly shut. No one spok to him. At a few houses he was doused with hot water and doors were slammed in his face.) Although the emergence of the priest in the town is a bit strange, because no historical mentioned previously, but the mission of the priest is clear. He wants to 81

(93) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI ask the people in the city to believe in God and to pray so that the drought ends. However, it does not work since the inhabitants of the city give no response. After his disagreement with the priest, Our Hero went back to the bandit hideout. What he met is the mysterious old man, who surprisingly, fulfills everything ne needs: the abundance of food, with more varieties than before, water, and house. These daily needs is more than enough for himself, therefore he plans to build the bandit hideout into a more proper place. To build the place, all he needs is the equipment: boards, posts, nails, paints, and others. This emphasizes that in building a new place, a new life, his necessity is fulfilled by the mysterious old man, and Our Hero’s own efforts. It does not need the involvement of the priest or the need to believe in God, as it is offered by the priest. To conclude, both The Plague and Kering contain the character of religious figure (Father Paneloux and the priest with no name) as the representative of God and religion on Earth. However, their roles are challenged by other characters in term of their involvement and perspective toward the disease and disaster. Both of the novels illustrate that the perspective and involvement of God and religion are rejected. The inhabitants of Oran (in The Plague) and the city (in Kering) decide to struggle to rebel against the disease and disaster with their own efforts. These efforts are based on non-religious reasons as mentioned previously. 82

(94) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI CHAPTER V CONCLUSION Camus’ The Plague (1948) and Simatupang’s Kering (1972) are two literary works that tell about the struggle of humans in their confrontation with the problems in life. In The Plague, the problem is manifested in the form of disease caused by the spreading virus from the rats in semi fictional world of Oran. While in Kering, it is manifested in the form of drought disaster experienced by the people in a transmigrant area. The problems, the disease and the disaster, are used by the writers as the medium to expose human to many forms of absurdity. This research has shown the types of absurdity and rebellion in Albert Camus’ The Plague and Iwan Simatupang’s Kering through the concept of Philosophy of the Absurd prescribed by Camus. To reveal the implementation of Camus’ concept of rebellion, this research firstly focuses on how absurdity is manifested in both of the works. In the first analysis, this study has revealed that absurdity discussed by Camus is manifested in several forms, beginning from the concept that absurdity is the gap between human expectations on something compared to the reality that occurs. The absurdities discussed here are some of the similar things that appear in The Plague and Kering. While the others are different. The first is that the novels contain a very contrasting condition. In accordance with Camus’ conception of absurdity, it appears as the ingredients of an absurd condition. The second form of absurdity is alienation. There are two types of alienation that appears in the novels, namely individual alienation and collective alienation. The third form of absurdity is the 83

(95) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI government’s foot-dragging repsonse in dealing with both The Plague’s disease and Kering’s disaster. This appears in the two novels. The final form of absurdity is death. Just as Camus put it, death is the most obvious form of absurdity. Death in the two novels afflicts both individuals and some individuals which can be called collective death. The collective death is “brought” by Camus as a form of ordeal for the mankind as a form of hyperbole of absurdity. In the second analysis, this study has also revealed that the manifestation of Camus’ concept of rebellion in confronting the absurdity in the novel can be seen in various ways. Departing from the most basic concept to deal with absurdity, Camus believes that the most fundamental thing to deal with is to acknowledge it, to be aware that absurdity exists. After that, if human already has self-awareness, he will try as hard as he can, regardless of whether the effort will result in something or not. The meaning of life may be found in that process, not the result. Departing from the principle of “mal du siècle” Camus was different from the philosophers of his day, which tended to end in denunciation of living or life, finding justification on committing suicide, or believing in nihilism. Camus believes that the true duty of a writer of the era is as a model for young people to bring a good example. In principle, it takes more courage to live than to die. For Camus, giving up and choosing to die is easier, while surviving to live and try is a nobler matter. Not only stopped there, Camus spreads the spirit of solidarity which might be rare or even forgotten because humans are more busy thinking about themselves. He said that awareness, solidarity and rebellion are actually things that are difficult to separate. 84

(96) PLAGIAT MERUPAKAN TINDAKAN TIDAK TERPUJI The concept of rebellion prescribed by Camus is relevant in the context of Indonesia since it brings optimism rather than pessimism or desire to hope or commit suicide. Camus and his concept of rebellion is intended to “reverse” the stigma that living a life full of the absurd condition simply leads to pessimism and despair. Reading Camus’ works either fiction or non-fiction will lead their readers to understand that the scope of his philosophy is not limited only in one individual but also covers the social coverage. His philosophy on solidarity and rebellion reminds us that in order to live one’s principle of life, when he rebels, a man identifies himself with other men and so surpasses himself, and from this point of view human solidarity is metaphysical. Overall, this study concludes that in order to confront the absurdity, one needs to rebel. In order to rebel, one needs to be aware first that absurdity exists. Then, in the broader context, he needs to recognize that he has the shared feeling with other man. By doing this, this group of people can built their solidarity to rebel against the absurd. This study focuses mainly on the relation between the forms of absurdity and the way to confront it, therefore it leaves room for the ecological aspect to be analyzed. The aspect of man versus nature, both in The Plague and Kering, can be the issue to be analyzed in the context of ecocriticism. It is because there are contestation of power between man versus disease and man versus disaster. 85

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