Revisiting the Colonial Text and Context: Parody in J. M. Coetzee’s Foe

Olfa Belgacem


In many novels written by the South African writer J. M. Coetzee, oppression is the background in which he sets his narratives, whether within the general context of colonization or the more specific context of Apartheid. In his novel Foe, written five years before the abolition of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Coetzee revisits a canonical colonial text of the eighteenth century through the parody of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. This time, in Coetzee’s text, it is the female narrator Susan Barton, rather than the male voice of Defoe’s protagonist Crusoe, who tells a story about shipwreck and loss but most importantly she recounts the story of the black servant Friday who, so far, has been silenced by Defoe’s white hero. This paper shall offer a study of the way Coetzee uses parody in his novel Foe in order to revisit both the colonial text and context.


Parody, canon, colonial, postcolonial, subversion, silence.

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