The transnational & intercultural dimensions of J.M. Coetzee's writing: poetics of servitude
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:37 by Monica Nye
The Transnational and Intercultural Dimensions of J. M. Coetzee's Writing : Poetics of Servitude thesis focuses on three novels written during the South African apartheid period (1948-1994) using three theoretical frameworks. The works are also interpreted through a servitude lens, a recurring motif in Coetzee’s oeuvre, as his formative years were spent in South Africa during the oppressive apartheid regime. Chapter one examines Life and Times of Michael K (1983) using Abraham Maslow's eight-stage human psychology Hierarchy of Needs framework. Servitude is examined from a coloured, physically impaired man’s point of view. The protagonist Michael overcomes near starvation and homelessness most of his life yet achieves ultimate transcendence. Chapter two examines Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) using Giorgio Agamben's Sovereign Power and Homo Sacer Bare Life philosophy. The status of the once- transcendent magistrate plummets when he is found guilty of consorting with the enemy. He is stripped of title, community and dignity and is classified as an accursed Homo sacer, who can be killed but not sacrificed in a religious ritual. Chapter three examines Foe (1986) using Michel Foucault's Power and knowledge political/historical lens. The female place in 18th century society as well as the use of slavery is also examined along with the power of black versus white narrative.