Raising Introspective Awareness in Resisting Colonizing Ideologies: Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians

Sameer M. Al-Shraah


Deconstructing colonization and the colonizing discourse is a long and continuing process. Many intellectuals participated, and still participate, in this noble mission. However, "Waiting for the Barbarians" is a literary work that resists the colonial ideology through raising the colonizer's, and consequently the reader's, awareness of the pervasive ideology of dehumanization; it is this ideology that makes possible the severe torture of the prisoners without the torturers' feeling or awareness of their criminal deeds. This ideology of dehumanization and the struggle against its domination is manifested by the character of the protagonist who, as a representative of the colonizer, experiences a gradual process of confusion, introspection, and remorse that enables the reader to experience closely, rather than merely witness from a distance, an exemplary process of self-questioning. This theme of self-questioning is one of the main themes of Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians. The novel creates in us an ability to question the different ideologies that enslaved us unconsciously, especially at our modern time when It seems that we became so obsessed with materialism and our existential needs that risking one's physical safety or financial security to stand up for one's principles will never be an issue for most people, especially those living in what was known as colonizing countries or, in modern terminology, the developed or first world. Thus, the aim of this paper is to investigate how the novel creates in its reader a revival of a moral and ultimately political sensibility that is usually inhibited by the ideology of dehumanization. 


colonization, dehumanization, self-introspection, empire, the other

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.5p.103


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