Analysis Of J. M Coetzee's Waiting For The Barbarians

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J.M Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians A summary by Alexander Arnberg T1 Waiting is one of the major themes in Coetzee’s story about the sleepy town on the edge of the civilized world. As the townsfolk await the coldness of winter, a whisper of an invasion looms over their everyday life. The reader is invited into the thoughts of a rather conflicted man known only as the Magistrate, whom has been appointed by the imperialistic Empire to govern the town on the outermost frontier. With the arrival of Colonel Joll, he is informed that neighboring tribes of nomads, known as the barbarians, are uniting and preparing an assault on the Empire. Although he initially believes it to be accurate, he soon finds himself questioning the supposed invasion. As the curious man he is, the lack of evidence is quite troublesome and he thinks to himself: “Show me a barbarian army and I will believe”. He has experienced quite a lot on the frontier, due to his old age. He recalls that every once in a while there is a hysteria regarding the nomads, but little has come out of it. Why would it be any different this time? His doubts are later cemented, as the brutal side of the Empire is revealed. Colonel Joll extracts information from captured nomads with exceptional cruelty. As the Magistrate realizes that the Empire is most likely torturing innocent people, he is filled with guilt, for he is also a representative of the system. It is this guilt that leads to him caring for an abandoned

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