THE POINT OF VIEW AND THEME IN SHORT STORY
“JOSHUA KARABISH” WRITTEN BY BUDI DARMA
A. Point of View
In fiction, who tell the story and how it is told are critical issues for an author to decide. The tone and feel of the story, and even its meaning, can change radically depending on who is telling the story.
There is always someone between the reader and the action of the story. That someone is telling the story from his or her point of view. This angle of vision, the point of view from which the people, events, and details of a story are viewed, is important to consider when reading a story.
There two kind of point of view in general: First person point of view and third person point of view. In the first person point of view, the narrator does participate in the action of the story. He can be the protagonist, or minor character who has little to do with the action of story. The first person point of view is easily identified from the use of “I”.
In the third person point of view, the narrator does not participate in the action of the story as one of the characters, but lets us know exactly how the characters feel. We learn about the characters through his outside voice.
Joshua Karabish is one of Short story written by Budi Darma (BD) in the compilation of “Orang-Orang Bloomington(OOB)”.The story of Joshua Karabish derives the name from the character, Joshua Karabish. The title creates the impression that the one concerned is the principle character of the story. The story is told by an I who thus functions both as narrator and as participant in the story. The relation between focalizer (the I) and the person focused on, Joshua Karabish, is essential to the story. It is around this relationship that the stories revolve.
The first point of view used in the story brings about a number of consequences.
- The readers do receive direct information about Joshua Karabish, but they do not receive such direct information about the I. The information about the I can only be gleaned indirectly from the way the I describes events and reacts to the title-figure. The title-figure have distinct name, whereas the I remain anonymous. Because the story is set in Bloomington, and because Budi Darma stayed in Bloomington when he wrote his story, so the reader may assume that the narrator is the author himself. However, In the story, there is no evidence supported such identification. The lack of information about the I is not only restricted to his name , but also concerns his age, his previous history, and his social background. The effect of this lack of information of the I to us is we are more concern with the I and his often curious way of thinking and behaving, than with the title-figure who are supposed to be highlighted.
- Another consequence is that a highly subjective view is given of the characters and events described. They are only seen from the point of view of the I. He colors the story according to his point of view and leaves out whatever he wants to. This subjectivity can be exploited by the author as means of manipulating the reader. For a reader has no choice but to accept the fictional reality as it is presented by the I. The more the fictional reality differs from the reader’s own reality, the more the latter will have his doubts about the I’s reliability. Thus a tension can be created between the reality as presented and reality as imagined by us as readers. This tension is exploited to the full by Budi Darma and plays a most significance role in his short stories.
It is hard to believe that Joshua is a good in writing poem but he doesn’t want to admit as a poet as told by The I.
“ … If I claim to be a poet and probably I’ve the talent to be a poet who ia really a poet, people will certainly tend not to believe that I am a poet. They might laugh at my poem as they laugh at me. My poem will eventually sink because of my personality…..”
Of Course this is confusing for the reader. In the reality no one does that. The readers of poetry or prose do not see the character of the writer, but the quality of their works.
As we have seen above, the one-way focalization with the I as focalizer gives rise to a lot of confusion. It is precisely this confusion that reinforces the theme. The theme in Joshua Karabish can be define as: a feeling of total alienation, the alienation between man and his own self. This alienation becomes manifest in three different ways: disgust with one’s own person; the continual identification of oneself with others; behavior of which one is not really sure
First, The disgust with one’s own person is clearly expressed in Joshua Karabish. Joshua fears that people will not judge his poems at their intrinsic value because: “ … my poems will eventually sink because of my personality. And as you know also know, I’m physically disgusting…..”
Second, The identification of oneself with others can lead to such an absorption in these others that one becomes alienated from oneself in this way as well. In Joshua Karabish, the I seems to display exactly the same symptoms as Joshua, but each doctor he consults assures him that his physical condition is quietly normal. One is nearly led to believe that the I actually wants to hear he is suffering from the same illness as Joshua:
“ Suddenly I was awakened one night. Why? Because my throat was extremely hot, as if it was burning down. Not only that my nose was extremely painful as if a crowd of tiny ruthless leeches in the nostrils were absorbing blood greedily. And not only that, My ear rang aloud as if the whole components inside the ears were all of a sudden swollen”
“……. I hope vaguely, however, that blood would drip again from my nostrils, but my hope did not come true.
And the result of Dr. White’s examination was the same. He convince me that I was extremely healthy. There was nothing wrong with me. My ears, nose and throat were all right……..”
The third, The performance of acts one is not really sure about can be identified in Joshua Karabish story. The I in this story put his name under Joshua’s poems, this committing plagiarism. That the I is not quite happy about this is apparent from the fact that he feels guilty, and subsequently the more so when he actually wins a prize with Joshua’s poems. In point of fact there is no need for him to feel guilty, because it was Joshua’s own wish that his poems should be published under some one else name. The I tries to rid himself of his feeling of guilt by sending the money he wins to Joshua’s mother. However, She refuses it, and sends him another cheque, thus increasing his feeling of guilt even more.
To sum up, the focalization of this story is the first person of view, and this is very subjective. It creates confusing because the readers must accept the fictional reality as presented by the I. and those are different from the reader own reality. This creates tension. This tension is exploited to the full by Budi Darma and plays a most significance role in his short stories. The theme presented by Budi Darma is about alienation, alienation between man and his own self. The characters in the story, the I and the title figure feel disgust with his own self, and this identification continue to the relation with others, for they are not sure with what they have done.