The absurdist imagination and its indigenization in Salleh Ben Joned’s The Amok of Mat Solo

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Using Martin Esslin’s authoritative study, The Theatre of the Absurd (1961/1980), as a framework to read Salleh Ben Joned’s play, The Amok of Mat Solo (The amok of Mat Solo: A play. Silverfish Books, 2011), this chapter is predicated on two primary objectives, namely to demonstrate how the text, on the one hand, inclines towards the theatre of the absurd of postwar Europe and, on the other, concurrently indigenizes this inclination to address local concerns related to the sociopolitical situation of a postcolonial nation. In the case of the former, emphasis will be given to the formal features and aesthetic techniques enlisted by Salleh’s play that establishes its association with the absurdist tradition. The latter, on the other hand, will involve investigating the cultural motifs engaged by the play—specifically the kampong, the Malay hero, and amok—to elicit the ideological significance embedded in it. Finally, to conclude my discussion, I will briefly analyse the play’s closing scene in terms of how it implicates ambiguity to compromise closure.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading Malaysian Literature in English
Subtitle of host publicationEthnicity, Gender, Diaspora, and Nationalism
EditorsMohammad A. Quayum
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789811650215
ISBN (Print)9789811650208
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameAsia in Transition
ISSN (Print)2364-8252
ISSN (Electronic)2364-8260

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