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L.DAronco - IV Chapter - Analysis
[author: Lorenzo D'Aronco - postdate: 2007-10-03]

Text: "Foe" by J. Coetzee
Task: Analysing Chapter IV

Cultural: Post-Colonial and Post-Modern writing
Intertextual: Links with other forms and texts
Linguistic: Practicing the writing skill





In the fourth chapter an unnamed narrator, possibly standing for Coetzee himself,  revises the story and dissolves the narration in an act of renunciation.

In fact there is this mysterious narrator who knows all the truth from Friday's mouth but he doesn't want to reveal it to the reader.

In the fourth chapter  the atmosphere is mysterious because it is set in a very dark room where an unnamed narrator tells about the situation.

In this chapter there are three characters: the narrator, a woman and Friday.

Narration starts with the description of the woman, maybe Susan Barton, who is sleeping and provides a lot of details about her ("her feet drawn up inside a long grey dress, her hands folded under her armpits").

After that the narrator describes Friday who is "stretched at full length on his back". After that he tries to open his mouth to hear the sounds and the story of the island.

The fourth chapter  has got a conclusive function because it illustrates the meaning of the title : the real "FOE" may be he/she who wants to re-write the story, that is the "enemy" of the book.

The reader may find some difficulties in this chapter because it has a very complex structure and so the meaning of the text can be misunderstood.

The reader can find a lot of elements about Post-modernism as well.

This chapter shows some of such elements. Post-modernism cultivates rewriting as a means to present an open mutilayered version of truth and meaning and tha danger of unique points of view.

"Foe" is an example of the  new trend: it is a new re-presentationof Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

You can find the problem of language, underlined by the character Friday.

In fact the novel has got an allegorical function in which only the intelligent reader can find hidden meanings.


Very Good