FOE A NOVEL BY J M COETZEE (Important for UGC NET English Literature 2020)
J. M. Coetzee retells a familiar story in Foe yet challenges that very familiarity. Even people who have never read the novel Robinson Crusoe are relatively well acquainted with its iconic portrait of survival after a shipwreck, as well as with Crusoe’s dependence upon Friday, his black companion. But what if there were another castaway who played a vital role in that island tale, but whose part in the drama was excised?
Coetzee introduces this fascinating and challenging theme by having his version narrated by a brand new addition to the deserted island, Susan Barton. Even more challenging and fascinating is the addition of the title character to a tale which in its very familiarity is transformed into an unfamiliar, postmodern metafiction. Eventually, this narrative forces those who actually have read Robinson Crusoe to want to go back and check it against Coetzee’s version.
It turns out that Daniel Defoe (Foe) bought the tale of Crusoe, Friday, and Barton from a Barton on the verge of desperation. Defoe betrays Barton by editing the tale to make it his own. Friday cannot provide a version because his tongue has been cut out. Barton decides to write the narrative, but has trouble communicating with the mute Friday.
Important for understanding the full context of this version is Coetzee’s standing as a white man in Africa. As such, the themes of a black person being unable to relate the narrative of his own experience, and the battle between commerce and art in the rush to get a story told, take on a new level of significance, thus making Foe far more than just another postmodern reinvention of a story told from a slightly different perspective.
MCQS based on this novel.
1Who wrote Foe?
MIGUEL DE CERVANTES
2What novel is Foe based on?
3When was Foe published?
4Who is the protagonist of Foe?
5Who is Friday?
THE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP THAT SUSAN TAKES TO LISBON
A BLACK MAN WITH NO TONGUE
A SLAVE ON THE SHIP THAT SUSAN TAKES TO ENGLAND
6How does Susan meet Friday?
SHE RESCUES HIM OFF A SLAVE SHIP.
SHE MEETS HIM IN BAHIA.
SHE WASHES UP ON THE SHORE OF THE ISLAND WHERE HE LIVES.
HE'S A FICTIONAL CHARACTER WHO SHE NEVER MEETS.
7Who is Cruso?
THE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP THAT RESCUES SUSAN
A FICTIONAL CHARACTER FROM FOE'S NOVEL
A FAMOUS WRITER IN ENGLAND
A SENILE WHITE CASTAWAY
8What does Cruso do all day on the island?
LEVELS THE LAND INTO TERRACES
WRITES TALL TALES
WEEDS HIS GARDENS
CATCHES FISH AND MAKES MUSIC
9How would you best characterize Cruso?
CHARMING AND KIND
MEASURED AND THOUGHTFUL
HUMOROUS AND ECCENTRIC
IRASCIBLE AND IRRATIONAL
10What does Foe wear on his head?
A DIRTY BEANY
A PEAKED STRAW HAT
A PIRATES HAT
11What does Friday wear on his feet?
HE HAS NO FEET.
HIGH LEATHER BOOTS
12How would you best characterize Susan Barton?
THOUGHTFUL AND PERSEVERING
IRASCIBLE AND DEFENSIVE
LOST AND CONFUSED
13Where was Susan coming from when she arrived on the island?
14Where was she going to when she arrived on the island?
15Why was she in Bahia?
SHE WAS SELLING COTTON.
SHE WAS SELLING SLAVES.
SHE MARRIED A BRITISH SLAVE TRADER.
SHE WAS LOOKING FOR HER DAUGHTER.
16Where is Susan from?
17What happened to Susan's ship?
THERE WAS A PLAGUE.
THERE WAS A SLAVE REVOLT.
THERE WAS A MUTINY.
18What was Susan's relationship to the captain?
SHE HAD NO RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
SHE WAS SLEEPING WITH HIM.
SHE WAS HIS WIFE.
HE HATED HER AND THREW HER OVERBOARD.
19What did the crew do to the captain?
PUT A STAKE THROUGH HIS EYE
MADE HIM WALK THE PLANK
20How does Susan get to shore?
SHE SWIMS THE WHOLE WAY.
SHE ROWS AND THEN SWIMS.
THEY DROP HER OFF.
A MIRACLE HAPPENS.
21What is there to eat on the island?
CASSAVA AND RICE THAT CRUSO GROWS ON THE TERRACES
BITTER LETTUCES AND FISH
BANANAS, FISH, AND GREENS
WILD BOAR AND SHELLFISH
22What is the weather like on the island?
SUNNY WITH INCESSANT WIND
RELENTLESSLY RAINY WITH MOMENTARY SUNNY BREAKS
ICY AT NIGHT, TEMPERATE IN THE DAY
CALM WINDS, TROPICAL CLIMES
23How can the island best be described?
A SMALL GREEN NUB
A FLAT EXPANSE OF SAND
ROCKY AND HILLY WITH THORNY WEEDS
24What animals are on the island?
25What does Cruso believe is on the island?