Abstract

This article argues for a radical reassessment of J.M. Coetzee's novel Foe, claiming that the novel's current critical oeuvre duplicates rather than critiques universalizing discursive practices. In particular, it suggests that the critical assumption that Friday lacks a tongue results from a too-ready recourse to the established critical templates of postcolonial (and, to a lesser extent, feminist) discourse. These templates make it difficult to entertain ideas outside of their own methodologies and assumptions. The article recognizes that Friday may well have a tongue, and offers a provisional re-reading of Friday's silence as an act of wilful restraint and defiance rather than as the straightforward result of an act of physical mutilation.

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