Although most women
in these novels appear to be insignificant, they play structurally and
thematically important roles. By their presence and developments in the
stories these women expose the doubtful nature of the white men's claim
to superiority over the indigenous population: the hollowness of their
self-image as benefactors and redeemers, their insensitivity, self-assertion,
and greed, and the demoralizing and deteriorating consequences that result
from all this for the colony.
The Malay novels are in effect not only a record of the generally acknowledged consequences of white domination in colonial countries. Added to the complex of racial and national tensions and revenge is a sexual one the nature of which is mainly decided by the women's function to make truth assert itself.