Earth Dance

Book — Women in Translation

by Oka Rusmini
Translated by Rani Amboyo Thomas M. Hunter

Format: Paperback, English
166 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: 9798083822/9789798083822
Published Oct 15, 2012 by Lontar Foundation

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Also see Tarian Bumi

Earth Dance,” the story of four generations of Balinese women, centers on conflicts that arise between the demands of caste and personal desires. Narrated by Ida Ayu Telaga, a Balinese woman in her thirties, the novel shows Balinese women-as depicted by her mother, grandmother and female peers-to be motivated by two factors: the yearning to be beautiful, and the desire for a high-caste husband. Headstrong Telaga defies her mother’s wishes and marries the man of her dreams, who is a commoner. Thus, in a reversal of societal expectations, as shown in the novel by images of women who aspire to “liberation” through “marrying up,” Telaga’s emancipation is implicitly characterized as a move downwards, through transformation to the status of a commoner.

“Earth Dance” also reveals that-like high-caste status-beauty, too, has a price. Behind the thick, glossy hair and golden complexion, lies a web of jealousy, derision and intrigue. Telaga, whose life is controlled by her mother’s avarice, her mother-in-law’s bitterness and the greed of her sister-in-law, has frequent cause to wonder: “Is this what it means to be a woman?

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