International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Waiting for the Barbarians: The Magistrate’s Identity in a Colonial Context
Abdullah F. Al-Badarneh

This paper puts into analysis the identity of the Magistrate in J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians from a post-modern perspective. It warns against the terror of colonialism that yields unstable and confused identities such as that of the Magistrate. As the Magistrate spends a long time in the service of the Empire in the colony, his mode of thinking about colonization gets changed especially with the coming of the military Colonel Joll, who represents the aggression and violence of the colonizer. Living in such kind of conflict between his identification with the colonized and his loyalty to the Empire, the Magistrate’s self gets divided and fragmented. Alienation, lack of cultural belonging, and fragmentation are among the post-modern themes this paper analyzes in relation to the Magistrate’s identity. Loss and vagueness are anticipated by the Magistrate to identify the colonial figure in an atmosphere of mess and chaos.

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