Bali IB DP English

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The Editor’s Notes: Chapter 6

In Analysis of Plot, Batavus Droogstoppel, Max Havelaar, Scarfman, The Editor, Tina Havelaar, Verbrugge on 19/04/2009 at 14:05

Finally! This is the chapter where story itself, the actual plot, really begins.

Straight away we get more Malay words, more Indonesian names, (which, I must admit, were a little bit confusing at the beginning, but it is out of the question to edit it out or change it) and, for the first time in Scarfman’s story, new characters. We are introduced to Residents and Regents, servants (maas) and horsemen, and last but not least, an Assistant Resident by the name of Max Havelaar.

Our protagonist.

One of the most important parts of this chapter is, I think, Scarfman’s beautiful introduction to the kind of man that Max is (pg 89). It is again very noticeable how different Scarfman’s writing (and also the kind of person he is) in contrast to our own Droogstoppel. Oh the irony! It makes me chuckle at first, but I realize now how sad it is that the Scarfman, a man who Droogstoppel portrays as inferior to him in every respect, even in honesty and respectability, pays more attention to being objective and truthful than Droogstoppel has probably ever done in his life. For example, look at what he says here after his description of Max:

“Granted, all definitions are difficult in themselves, they become even more so when it is a question of describing a person who greatly deviates from the everyday norm. No doubt this is why novelists usually make their heroes devils or angels. Black and white are easy to paint; but it is more difficult to produce the exact shades and nuances that lie between them when one is bound by the truth and may therefore not tint the picture either too dark or too light. I feel that the sketch I have tried to give of Havelaar is extremely incomplete.” – page 91

Ha! If only Droogstoppel was smart enough to realize that he’s guilty of this all – especially in his descriptions and judgments of Scarfman! It seems obvious to me that it’s Scarfman who truly understands what it is to be truthful – not Droogstoppel. And, also, he is so humble! He recognizes his limits, admitting that his descriptions of Havelaar is ‘incomplete’, while actually he has written almost 3 whole pages on the man. It’s much more modesty than I’ll ever see out of Droogstoppel, that’s for sure.

                All in all those three or so pages gave a description of a man who Scarfman not only admired but respected very deeply; despite the flaws which he does have – Max Havelaar is neither a saint nor a sinner, but a man who is clever, just, sensitive and experienced; a man of humanity. I must applaud Scarfman for not only attempting but succeeding in avoiding the black-and-white approach to characterization – the people we’ve seen in this chapter, from Regent Adhipatti to Verbrugge to Tina Havelaar, all seem rounded and firmly grounded in reality.

                Scarfman deserves more credit than he gets.

The Editor, 44 Prinzengracht, Amsterdam.


Spy #3 – Max’s first speech

In Espionage, For the British East India Company (Undercover Agent), Verbrugge on 15/04/2009 at 11:11

Today I witnessed an incredible feeling; Havealarr is a true poet of discussion. His words are more powerful then a pointed gun locked and loaded, ready to fire. Working for the British East Indian trading company if they knew how I felt about this man it would ruin my reputation and most likely ban me from my job.

I cannot let this affect my work, I must continue to find out how the Dutch East Indian trading company works, (remember stay on the job!!!). Back to duty….. Havelarr gave a speech to many of the chiefs here in Rangkas-Betung, which I am told only occurs once a month. The speech began as all of us at the table were unprepared for what would come out of his mouth. He talked of slight changes that would lead to a better life not just for him but for the company and the people in Lebak. One move in a different direction would create an immense full change. I am beginning to believe that the truth behind the secret to the Company is not any one thing, but it is how important the leaders perform. It seems that the General was right in setting me this course. Even though Max was an Assistant Resident and had been working for less that 24 hours, he was talking as if he had been on the job for a decade, and knew everything he wanted for Indonesia and the Company.

As I was taking notes on all of his ideas, his main concern was of mistakes and that all humans make mistakes, but it was their job to minimize these. Havelarr used both justice and paternalistic leadership styles. It was not that he wanted to strike fear into his chiefs, but he wanted them to believe in him enough so that he would be respected and trusted

After his talk and all the chiefs dispersed, I stayed back as my secret identity. Havelarr took me aside and asked me if I knew anything about scandalous abuse of authority in Lebak. General had informed me of some backstabbing going on but I was unaware so I decided to play the part and act as if I knew what Max was talking about. I learned that the Regent used forced labor to do all his biddings (almost three times as many people). Max started getting very emotional and I saw his caring side. Max stated that once the coffee was gone, the regent would steal money from the people in his name. Why did the Regent would do this if he already had some fortune, while almost all the natives of Lebak are poor working every day for little or nothing? General I have done some fantastic research, and am slowly unfurling the web of the Dutch company. Max is a stable resource for information, and it looks like I’ll be playing the part for a while here. If possible could you please send me more disguises.