The Othering of Majority and Minority Groups in Lessing and Ajidarma’s Literary Works: A Postcolonial Analysis

Nandy Intan Kurnia, Burhan Nurgiyantoro, Cindy Elsa Fitri


A postcolonial reading of literary works remains relevant since the characters, stories and various issues related to the colonial domination discussed in literary texts may serve as a means for its readers to learn more about life under colonialism. This article examines how Doris Lessing, a British-Rhodesian author, and Seno Gumira Ajidarma, an Indonesian author, reveal the issue of discrimination of African native community and Indonesian-Chinese community because of the act of othering, respectively, from a postcolonial lens. This study used the critical content analysis technique on two literary works, namely Lessing’s short story entitled “No Witchcraft for Sale” and Ajidarma’s short story entitled “Clara”, which is based on Spivak’s theory of othering. Specific dialogues and utterances related to instances of discrimination were analyzed to uncover the othering of individuals, in this case, the main characters of the stories Lessing’s short story captures the struggles encountered by the main character named Gideon, who belongs to the majority group, while Ajidarma’s short story provides the portrayal of a young native Indonesian-Chinese descent who is a member of a minority group. The study found that Gideon faced racial discrimination and on the other hand, Clara faces racial and gender discrimination. By comparing two different literary works coming from two different cultures, nationalities, and historical backgrounds focusing on the issues of othering from a postcolonial perspective, this article can serve as a means for its readers to learn more about how the discrimination stemmed from different histories and how cultural background can create similar outcomes.



discrimination; postcolonial; racial; gender; No Witchcraft for Sale; Clara

Full Text:



Ajidarma, S. G. “Clara”. Retrieved November 3, 2019 from -atawa-wanita-yang-diperkosa/

Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., 7 Tiffin, H. (2007). Post-colonial studies: The Key concepts. 2nd Ed.

Barry, P. (2002). Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. 2nd ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Basuki, N. (2018). “Benarkah Partai Komunis Cina Paksakan Ateisme”. Retrieved December 18, 2019 from


Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The Location of Culture. London: Routledge.

Britannica. Retrieved July 1, 2020 from

Chandran, G., & Vengadasamy, R. (2018). Colonialist Narrative in a Post-Colonial Era Travel Writing, Into the Heart of Borneo. GEMA Online® Journal of Language

Studies. Vol. 18(4). Retrieved from:

Dhani, A., (September 1st, 2016). Sejarah Kebencian Terhadap Etnis Tionghoa,

Retrieved December 18, 2019 from

Dobie, A. B. (2012). Theory into practice: an introduction to literary criticism. 3rd ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., Carr, D. (2009). Intrduction to Sociology. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

Hagen, A. S. (2018). D. Lessing: “No Witchcraft for Sale”. Retrieved January 8, 2020 from

Jaiyeola, E. O. & Issac, A. (2020). Patriarcy and colonization: The “Brooder House” for gender inequality in Nigeria. Journal on Women and Gender, Vol. 10, 3-22.

Lessing, D. “No witchcraft for sale”. Retrieved October 23, 2019 from Witchcraft%20for%


Louw, P. (2009). The vexed “colour problem”: Doris lessing and the “african renaissance”. Inkanyiso, Jnl Hum & Soc Sci, Vol. 1(1).

Mushtaq, H. (2010). Othering, stereotyping and hybridity in fiction: a Postcolonial analysis of Conrad’s Hear of Darkness (1899) and Coetzee’s Waiting for the

Barbarians (1980). Journal of Language & Literature (3), 25-30.

Neuberg, S. L., Kenrick, D. T., & Schaller, M. (2011). “Human Threat Management Systems: Self-Protection and Disease Avoidance”. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral

Reviews 35 (4), 1042-1051.

Oxford learner’s dictionaries. Retrieved from https://www.oxfordlearners

Powell, J. A., & Menendian, S. (2018). The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging. Retrieved February 05, 2021, from the-problem-of-othering/

Pradhan-Malla, S. (2005). Racism and gender. In Dimensions of Racism. Proceedings of a Workshop to commemorate the end of the United Nations Third Decade to

Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. New York and Geneva: United Nation.

Rakhman, A. K. (2014). Ambivalensi nasionalisme dalam cerpen “Clara atawa wanita yang diperkosa” karya Seno Gumira Ajidarma: Kajian poskolonial. Jurnal Poetika,

Vol. 2(2).

Resnitriwati, C. (2014). “Clara” Karya Seno Gumira Ajidarma Dalam Kajian Stilistika. Humanika, Vol. 19(1).

Rezkiyana, P. A. (2017). Deconstruction Analysis: The Ideas of Keeping Tradition in “No Witchcraft for Sale” by Doris Lessing. Advances in Social Science, Education

and Humanities Research (ASSEHR), Vol. 148. Sixth International Conference on Language and Arts (ICLA). Atlantis Press.

Said, E. W. (1978). Orientalism. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Sarwoto, P. (2020). “Reimagining The Fluid Categorization of The Communist, Chinese, and Jews in Umar Kayam’s Fiction”. Kritika Kultura 35: 194–212

Shands, K. W. (2008). Neither east nor west: Postcolonial essays on literature, culture, and religion. Elanders.

Sharma, A. (2016). The emergence of postcolonialism: A historical aspect. BEST: International Journal of Humanities, Arts, Medicine and Sciences, Vol. 4(3), pp. 49-

Spivak, G. C. (1985). The Rani of Sirmur: an essay in reading the archives. History and Theory, 24(3): 247-272

Staszak, J.F. (2008). Other/Otherness. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Elsevier.

Storey, J. (2018). An introduction to cultural theory and popular culture (8th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Vichiensing, M. (2017). The othering in Kazuo Ishiguro’s never let me go. Advances in language and literary studies. Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Retrieved December 12, 2019 from



  • There are currently no refbacks.




eISSN : 2550-2131

ISSN : 1675-8021