"The Year of Living Dangerously" by Christopher Koch is a profound and intricate novel in which the Wayang Kulit, the mysterious shadow puppet play of Indonesia, plays a central role as an extended metaphor. The Wayang Kulit shapes the actions and thoughts of the characters throughout the text as each of the characters are a physical manifestation of prominent puppets of the Wayang. We can see through the 3 main acts of the Wayang Kulit, the Patet Nem, the Patet Sanga and the Patet Manjura, how Guy's relationship with Billy, Guy's relationship with Jill and other relationships of these characters, develop and change as according to the Wayang Kulit. This is because they are dualities of those in the Wayang Kulit, and this is essential in the understanding of character relationships in the text.
In the first section, Patet Nem, we see the beginnings of the relationships.
Guy and Billy's relationship mirror that of Arjuna and Dwarf Semar of the Wayang Kulit.
"Billy's got himself a new hero." This remark of Wally's is "a remark I would remember." The audience's understanding of Billy's hero-worship of Guy is furthered in the Wayang Kulit, as we understand that Dwarf Semar of the Wayang regards Prince Arjuna as his role model.
One of the main themes in the novel is the idea of duality. This is furthered in Billy's dual role as Dwarf Semar, and the Dalang puppet master of the Wayang Kulit.
Through his dossiers, we can see that Billy indeed is controlling the show. "The little bastard's playing God," highlights Billy's duality in the Wayang Kulit.
Guy displays all the characteristics of Prince Arjuna; he is selfish and self serving, "Hamilton had done so by numbing his feelings at crucial times" highlighting how his journey has only...