Role of Literary Community in Character Building

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In the last decade, literary communities in Indonesia have grown fast. The creation of literature follows the rapid growth of literary communities. Literary works produced by writers from the existing literary communities is essential especially for character building as the literary communities grow from local wisdom. The existence of literary communities and literary production are interrelated. Literary community in society is a significant “container” in creating literature. It was from the literary community that writers were born – especially young writers – who also created literary works.

In reality, literary communities existing in Indonesia – need serious attention because many literary communities are in fluctuating condition, with ups and downs. However, in Indonesia, there are still literary communities actively producing creative works. We need to explore the patterns and strategies of those communities so that we can apply them in other less active communities. Therefore, we need to uncover the role of the active literary communities and study it to optimize the role of literary community as creative “container” for writers in producing literary works.

In this regard, a study of the literary community was carried out over a wide area, representing Indonesia, in the literary community located in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Padang, Balikpapan, and Makassar. These eight cities are considered representations of Indonesia. The study about the literary community has importance because it tries to find out how literary communities act as sources of literary works. In a sense, how does the literary community foster the creative potential of its writers so that they are willing and able to work and produce works that are useful for the reading community.

We also need to ask further: what is the actual existence of the literary community and its role in character building? The literary community in Indonesia, besides produces works also contributes to the empowerment of existing literary communities, especially the less active ones. It is important, so that the literary communities can be optimally managed.

Furthermore, the existence of the literary community in the future needs the attention so that it can be productive and can be a driving force and at the same time reinforcement in the nation’s character building. Ratna (2003: 1) and Hall (1979: 2) viewed that it is indeed important to study the literary communities because they are related to efforts to understand the study of literary sociology, which in essence is a paradigm that opens opportunities for further studies related to literature.

Someone who studies with this paradigm can develop and expand the study to other studies. This research is focused more on uncovering the role of the literary community with its work in Fcharacter building. To uncover the role of literary community, we first need to understand the active literary communities in Indonesia, which in this study used as a representation. After that, we could see its role in character building.

The results of this research have significance in understanding the literary communities representing the literary communities in Indonesia and its role in character development. Later on, the results of this research are expected to support the government’s efforts in national character building. Character building is needed in Indonesian society as it is still related to the condition of humans and Indonesian society experiencing mentality and character problems, characterized by the presence of corrupting behavior, dishonesty, violence, and dehumanization.

Thus, there are at least four important things related to the literary communities in this paper. First, the active literary communities in Indonesia tend to produce writers from different generations. On the contrary, this regeneration does not occur in less active literary communities. Second, the active communities produce not only literary works but also produce other works, such as other creative arts and cultural activities. The literary communities are not only about literature, but they tend to develop with related fields of art.

Third, the active literary communities give birth to writers with great potential to produce quality literary works full of local wisdoms. Fourth, each local wisdom is revitalized in literary works produced by literary community writers. The style of the literary work has the potential to be utilized in character building.

Author: I.B Putera Manuaba

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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).

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