oa Alternation - The Wives of Henry Fynn: 'Unwritten but Potentially Transfiguring Texts '? The Untold Biographies of Vundhlazi of the Zelemu and Christina Brown1

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



In his novel Foe, J.M. Coetzee provides the mute character Friday with the ultimate narrative power. The actual narrator, Sue Barton, struggles with her own function as author, as well as with Foe as a superior white male and Friday as a subordinate black male (Coetzee 1986). For Coetzee, the power of silence marks the limit of Susan's self-knowledge but at the same time provides the means for Friday's potentially transfiguring mute statements (Coetzee & Attwell 1992: 247). At the same time, Susan herself represents the female voice which underlies a story which on the surface is an imperial narrative, based on one of the earliest European male focused adventure texts, Robinson Crusoe. As Ridley (1983:50 has noted, Defoe's novel marks the beginning of colonial discourse in fiction and as such underpins further empire-based fiction.

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