Nita Novianti



Over the years, new theories of literary criticism have invariably emerged as a response, critique to, and development of the earlier criticisms. This paper introduces a relatively new literary theory that can enrich the repertoire of literary criticism in Indonesian context, namely family systems therapy or FST, through a critical analysis of Seize the Day by Saul Bellow, an American author whose works mainly deal with the theme of family and the issues revolving it. Partly a critique to Freud’s psychoanalysis and its variants, family systems therapy holds that one’s identity is a part of a matrix of identity, thereby requiring the analysis of one’s interrelatedness with the others involved in the matrix in order to understand one’s self. The analysis shows that the protagonist of the novel, Wilhelm, is involved in a triangle in his effort to cope with his anxiety. Triangling is also found to be merely one of the many outlets for the protagonist’s anxiety. The paper concludes that family systems theory is appropriate to critically analyze literary works dealing with family matters, such as Seize the Day. This theory offers new insights not only into the practice of literary criticism but also into seeing problems in life.

Keywords: Family systems therapy, triangle, anxiety



Teori-teori kritik sastra terus bermunculan, baik sebagai tanggapan, kritik, atau perkembangan dari teori-teori sebelumnya. Makalah ini memperkenalkan sebuah teori yang cukup baru yang bisa memperkaya khasanah kritik sastra di Indonesia, yaitu terapi sistem keluarga, melalui sebuah analisis terhadap novel berjudul Seize the Day karangan Saul Bellow, seorang penulis Amerika yang karya-karyanya terutama mengangkat tema keluarga dan permasalahan yang melingkupinya. Sebagai kritik terhadap teori Psikoanalisis oleh Freud dan variasi-variasinya, terapi sistem keluarga percaya bahwa identitas seseorang adalah bagian dari matriks identitas, sehingga analisis terhadap keterhubungan seseorang dengan orang lain yang terlibat dalam matriks tersebut diperlukan jika ingin memahami diri seseorang. Analisis menunjukkan bahwa protagonis novel tersebut, Wilhelm, terlibat dalam sebuah hubungan segitiga atau triangling dalam usahanya untuk menghadapi kegelisahan hidupnya; selain itu, hubungan segitiga hanyalah satu dari sekian jalan keluar untuk kegelisahan yang dihadapi protagonis. Makalah ini menyimpulkan bahwa teori psikoterapi keluarga cocok untuk menganalisis secara kritis karya-karya sastra yang berkenaan dengan masalah keluarga, seperti Seize the Day. Teori ini menawarkan sudut pandang baru, tidak hanya terhadap praktik dalam kritik sastra, tapi juga terhadap cara melihat permasalahan dalam hidup.

Kata kunci: Terapi sistem keluarga, segitiga, kegelisahan.

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