Waiting For The Barbarians Short Story

1370 Words6 Pages
The Sense of Self and Place in Postcolonial Fiction in J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians and Nadine Gordimer’s Burger’s Daughter

Abstract – Postcolonial literature has created a voice for the oppressed and powerless, it was born out of people’s hope, fears, frustrations, as well as dreams for the future and their need for a personal identity. Even more, postcolonial South African writing involves a firm reaction against the unfavourable stereotypes which were composed during the colonial period, and battles with the highly political matter of the apartheid regime in the country. J.M. Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer, both postcolonial writers from South Africa, present their key issues of transculturation and diaspora to their readers in
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Secondly, Gordimer’s novel Burger’s Daughter materialized from the darkest days of apartheid, and the main character Rosa finds herself at a loss in a South Africa that she no longer recognizes: “The central character, Rosemarie Burger, is the daughter of a white communist, who spends much of the novel attempting to escape the political expectations put upon her” (O’Reilly 43). As a consequence, she is, as is the Magistrate in Coetzee’s novel, desperately in search of her own identity and sense of place. The powerful language usage by Gordimer in Burger’s Daughter resulted in a ban from the Directorate of Publications’ censorship committee in South Africa; “Burger’s Daughter is a political novel […] destined to engage political questions […] the central consciousness is very largely preoccupied with public issues” (Boyers 67). Even though, Coetzee’s novel Waiting for the Barbarians addresses similar themes his novel was not banned, because of the fact that Coetzee used more fictive and allegorical language. Gordimer’s novel Burger’s Daughter is explicitly more realistic and politically charged. In an interview with David Attwell, Coetzee stated that he; “regard[s] it as a badge of honor to have had a book banned in South Africa […] This honor I have never achieved nor, to be frank, merited” (Coetzee ed. Attwell 298). Be that as it may, both fictional novels address how distorted and unequal relations between human subjects were created under colonial rule, resulting in a loss of identity for some and a sense of place among the colonized for
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