Waiting for the Barbarians

1603 Words7 Pages
The aim of Susan Van Zanten Gallagher's article, "Torture and the Novel: J.M. Coetzee's 'Waiting for the Barbarians.'" is to unravel further what the book Waiting for the Barbarians (J.M. Coetzee, 1982) is saying about the human psyche and how the novel criticizesimperialism. By locating its concern on the issues about morality and violence andexploring the limits of human cruelty Waiting for the Barbarians challenges humanityand imperialism in several ways. Presenting a psychoanalytic discussion of Waiting for the Barbarians this study focuses on the impact of fear in human psyche andimperialism’s self destructive power. How far fear and anxiety can go and how far members of society can follow a blind power is the main concern of this essay. AsCoetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians is an allegorical novel, this essay will try tointerpret the allegories created in relation to the tensions raised in the novel. The examination of the critiques raised in the book, may be broken down into thefollowing main components. After giving brief information about the writer and the book in the introduction part, the essay will continue on examining the characters as victims of the Empire, which represents the imperialist system. The first victim is the barbarian girl one in which will be examined in relation to her otherness as an outsider and as an enemy of the Empire. The Magistrate as the second victim and his self journey will be examined inrelation to his evaluation to become the other. Woman as the third victim of the Empire isthe part which I discuss women’s silenced and powerless positioning in the society. Thenin the following section Empire as the victim of itself and its self destructive power will be pointed. At the end in the conclusion part, novels ability to subvert issues will bediscussed. J.M. Coetzee is a South African novelist born in Cape Town in 1940.
Open Document