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76. Geisha’s Life In Japanese Culture Before World War Ii Reflected In Memoirs Of A Geisha A Sociology Study in Literature


1.1 Background of The Study

Reading English novels is enjoyable. It is advantageous as well. Rees (1973, 11-13) gives the opinion that people learn literature to help them understand another country and its people, to appear well educated, to pass an examination or simply to enjoy. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, novel is an invented story in prose, long enough to fill a complete book. By studying the novel, we can learn human experience of the author. We cannot enjoy reading prose fiction or novel unless we comprehend what the author wants in transferring the idea, so we should have more imagination if we want to know the idea of the author. Literature allows the readers to enjoy the vision and imagination of the writer.

By studying literature people are exposed to many kinds of reasons and a background which causes many happenings. Studying literature also makes readers aware of the problems of life. According to Rees in his book English Literature (1973: 3), literature is a writing which expresses and communicates thoughts, feelings and attitudes toward life. Literature in widest sense is just about anything written. Literature, whether it is in the form of a novel, short story, poetry or play, always serves a real life values such as ambition, love, friendship, history, moral, knowledge, and cultures, imagination include art and religion.

By reading a literacy we can also learn about other culture from different countries in the world. Every country in the world has culture and custom. As an archipelagic country, Indonesia also has a culture from the various tribes and each of the tribe is different. Consequently we can learn a lot of cultures from the different tribes. Moreover, another country also has tribes, culture and their own custom, like Japan. As a monarchy, Japanese society also has a custom that they cherish from their ancestors. The cultures and customs in Indonesia and Japan are so different, so that we can learn the culture and custom from both countries.

As a sociological issue, culture has a big correlation with literature. Sociology it self means the systematic and objective study of society and social behavior (Popenoe, 1983: 2). Because literature is a writing which talks about a society, and how people interact with each other. I analyze a literary work using sociological approach through the relationship among the characters, to know how they interact, and respect each other in the society although they come from different societies.

Sociology is relevant to other disciplines and everyday life issue because it deals with the familiar world of people and society and has a goal of understanding human society, human beings and their lives. Sociology has a wide range of society and social behavior that include culture, family, gender, ethnicity, politics, population, and also religion.

Now, there are various novels and films that reflect cultures of societies and nations. One of them is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. After reading the novel and watching the film Memoirs of a Geisha I learn new cultures. They are Japanese culture and Geisha lifestyle. Geisha only exist in Japan and Geisha are a part of Japanese culture. Geisha also only exists in Japan. Here, I try to do research to find the problem solution which disturbs my mind.

Moreover, literature is a part of my major and as a student of the English Department of Semarang State University who studies it to get bachelor degree; I attempt to conduct a research focusing on the Geisha’s life in Japanese Culture as found in Arthur Golden’s novel and film Memoirs of a Geisha by using sociological approach.

1.2 Reasons for Choosing the Topic

According to Bond (1984: 2), reading is the recognition of printed written symbols which serve meanings built up through the reader’s past experience. New meanings are throughout manipulation of concept already in his possession. The organization of these meanings is governed by purposes clearly defined by the reader. In short, the reading process involves both the acquisition of meanings intended by the writer and the reader’s own contributions in the form of interpretation and evaluation of and reflection on those meanings.
In this study, there are some reasons why I choose Memoirs of a Geisha as the topic of the study. Memoirs of a Geisha are interesting story. The story is about the
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