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The impact of language on Friday life in Foe - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: The impact of language on Friday life in Foe J.M. Coetzee’s novel Foe is a story about a girl, Susan Barton, who was a castaway bound to Lisbon from Bahia when the crew on the ship killed the captain and threw the body together with the girl in the water…
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The impact of language on Friday life in Foe

Download file to see previous pages... Upon arrival in England, Susan offers to accommodate Friday (McGrath 1). She had a desire to document her experiences while on the Island, but is limited in her language skills. Thus, she requests Daniel Foe, a writer, for assistance. This mission is not fully accomplished since Foe, being the language expert, chooses what he thinks is entertaining to write about, thus frustrating Susan’s efforts to have her story told (Caracciolo 105). Language is one of the themes in J. M. Coetzee’s book Foe. Language is key and paramount in any communication and accurate or inaccurate presentation of issues through language as a tool of communication can impact positively or negatively on the message being communicated. If not well presented, it could give the wrong message and impression about the content value of any work of art. Language gives a person power to communicate adequately. By Daniel Foe suppressing and omitting part of Susan’s story does an immense disservice to what she, in reality, wants to communicate. Lack of proper and/or appropriate language skills and knowledge can also be a significant impediment (Caracciolo 105). This is the case with Susan when she is frustrated by Foe for choosing to incorporate the truth about her, but feeling the book bibliography with fiction. Susan’s case highlights the power of language because, if she was well equipped with proper writing skills, she would have been in a better position to write her own story. In her frustration, she attempts to write the story herself but fails due to her lack of proper writing skills. Through the character of Susan, Coetzee is highlighting the plight of the voiceless. Since Susan cannot communicate well, she is left helpless, thus representing the people in society who cannot be heard because of their incapability to communicate effectively (McGrath 1). Foe, on the other hand, represents the people who tyrannize the underprivileged by downplaying their issues resulting in them not being heard at all. Using the theme of language, Coetzee brings out the plight of those who are oppressed because of their language handicap and the oppressors like Daniel Foe who ensures that the oppressed remain downtrodden. Coetzee uses another character, Friday, to further the theme of language in his book. He is said to be mute because, according to his master Crusoe, his tongue was chopped off by his previous master. This can be interpreted to show the extend oppressors would go to silence the marginalized in the society. Cutting off his tongue totally stops and impairs the downtrodden such as Friday form speaking or having a say in matters concerning or affecting them (Woelert 118). The writer being from South Africa may through these characters be highlighting the brutality of the Apartheid system. It can be construed as a way that those in authority used to silence the minority. His inability to speak because his tongue was cut off by his colonial masters totally limits his language communication skills and ability. Friday brings to mind not only the plight of the Africans in South Africa, but also the unvoiced oppressed people in the society. Crusoe is another character in the novel whose refusal to talk about his past can be seen as to portray Coetzee’s language theme on non verbal communication. He is in a position to tell his story but instead chooses not to in comparison to Friday who if given a chance may be willing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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