J. M. Coetzee’s retelling of Robinson Crusoe, Foe, makes no effort to help the reader understand the novel. As a result critics have interpreted the novel in a variety of different ways. For example, the last section of the book, which is arguably the most ambiguous part, has been interpreted as anything from a baptismal cleansing of how the reader perceives fiction to an allusion to Daniel Defoe’s unwise investment in a submersible diving engine used to search sunken ships for treasure. However, through the self-reflexive nature of the novel, Coetzee seems to embrace the post-modern concept that there is no singular, absolute Truth. In this presentation I argue that Coetzee utilizes metafiction to suggest that since authors are unable to create an absolute Truth through fiction, novels, like Foe, depend upon the reader to extract their own understanding.
Dan Kise, ’11
Majors: English and Creative Writing, Philosophy
Sponsor: Shannon Reed