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Not Out Of Hate A Novel Essay

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Not Out of Hate: A Novel of Burma.

By MA MA LAY. Translated by MARGARETAUNG-THWIN. Edited by WILLIAM H. FREDERICK. Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies.

Not Out Of Hate was Ma Ma Lay’s fifth and perhaps best novel published in Burma in 1955, as a result, she was conferred with a government literary prize. The translation of the novel which was initially published in Burmese into English rendered scholars and readers alike a glimpse into pre-world war II Burmese society as reflected through a contemporary Burmese author. The appearance of an indigenous perspective on this period (1939-1942) in Burmese history allows the readers to account for the turbulence occurring in the country, as epitomized by the vivid accounts in the novel of cultural discrepancy between the West and East in which imperialism, nationalism and moral corruption are all important factors.

The essence of the novel tells of a tale of how a bright but naïve young girl from an ordinary Burmese Buddhist family is attracted to an older Westernized Burmese man; of their marriage and the eventual unhappiness in the union due to the rift of cultural clash between their contrasting ways of lives, which ends with the death of the female protagonist.

The story is set in the real-life town of Moulmeingyun in Lower Burma, near the Irrawaddy River delta. In the early chapters, the readers are given a detailed picture of an extended Burmese family. The story’s main character, Way Way, is a young seventeen years old woman who lives at home with her aunt and ailing father, running the household and overlooking the accounts of the family’s rice brokerage business. Way Way’s older sister, Hta Hta is married to a government doctor, while her elder brother Ko Nay U is vehemently anti-British and is involved in the nationalistic movement. Way Way’s mother had left the family to become a nun several years ago but remains in contact periodically with the family. As we start to unravel the complex family dynamics prevalent within the Burmese society, t...

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