Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Women Just Can't Win

I must admit, during the first twenty or so odd pages of J.M. Coetzee’s “In the Heat of the Country” I had no idea what was going on in the story. Reading the abstract of the book I expected the story to have the traditional themes of a post-colonial text; which was composed of white dominant characters ruling over the black characters. I was completely wrong! The main character of the story Magda Johannes deals with physical and psychological oppression that leads to her rants, which are unbelievable and indescribable. As Austin stated, these types of actions can be attributed to the effects of double oppression. The effects of oppression expressed on page 71 when Magda is running through thoughts in her head and she states, “I want a second chance! Let me annihilate myself in you and come forth a second time clean and new… I was all a mistake!” The oppressive life that she has lived has placed her in this subaltern start. When see the effects that this state has on her when the roles of power shift between herself and Hendrick. However, this seemingly shift of power could be the male dominated society “righting the wrong” that was caused by her father’s death, and putting everything back to the way it should be where her life was dictated by a man.

1 comment:

  1. There is definitely a presence of both double colonization (which plays into your theme of oppression) and male domination. Though I discuss both of these themes' presence in the beginning of the novel in my post, it is definitely present throughout the entire book. It stems from her struggles with her father's relationships with her mother to trying to find acceptance through within a group. In this sense, I agree that she is apart of the subaltern because though she is clearly in the hegemony physically, her psychological oppression makes it seem as if she is more representative of the subaltern, where the dominant class represents those who are apart of a group.