54. No word about the marriage has passed between Hendrik and my father since the day when Hendrik came to ask leave to bring a wife on to the farm and my father replied, "Do as you wish." The wedding-feast was held at Armoede, the wedding-night on the road here, I do not know, and the next day after that Hendrik was back at work. My father increased his rations but offered no wedding-gift.
In this passage, Hendrik, a worker on the farm of the family at the center of J.M. Coetzee's novel "In the Heart of the Country," takes a wife. However, being the colonized, he must first ask permission to do so. Hendrik, the colonized,makes no request other than to being the woman there, and subsequently spends the period of time after the wedding, during which most people would go on a honeymoon, coming back to the farm and continuing work. Hendrik has no time to celebrate the union or get the know the girl whose hand he takes, and the entire event takes a mechanical nature.
The fact that Hendrik does not even attempt to ask for more time illustrates that he either knows it will be denied or that he has subconsciously submitted to the colonizer. As an extension of this, the marriage becomes more pragmatic than romantic, since he is most certainly taking a wife to perform the chores required in his own dwelling and bearing him to children to assist with work and inherit what he owns. The unemotional state of their union is further evidenced by the actions of the main character's father, who, instead of celebrating a normally happy and joyous occasion, simply gives Hendrik more food with which to sustain himself and his wife. His actions, or lack thereof, show the reader the view of the colonizer toward the colonized: disdainful and condescending. One can see these examples by the indifference with which he deals with Hendrik's request and his disinterest when he only gives them more rations.
Hendrik shows little agency in this case. Without even requesting more time, it shows one that he is either aware of his lack of agency or has subconsciously accepted that he has little. One can also see the view of the colonizer towards the colonized's agency, and in such a sacred example it becomes quite demonstrative.