Reflection of FOE by J.M. Coetzee


After I had finished the book, one thing that interests me is the character which is Susan Barton. She is the ‘I’ and the main character. Susan is the one who tells whole story as the narrator to the narratee, Daniel Foe. She knows everything because she experiences the story and she remembers the treasure of the past. It is proved by the parenthesis which shows that Susan realizes she is telling story and has the right to put something in addition. Narrator doesn’t represent the author because it is a creation.

This book is divided into three parts. Chapter one is told by Susan in descriptive way. She describes all things she saw in the island, what happened there, how they lived, and what she felt specifically. Sometimes I feel bored to read her description. She addressed all explanation to Daniel Foe, a professional writer, in single quote that refers to diacritical marks. The second part is written like letters, she addressed it to Foe too. But the letters seem never been read or received. The last part is more like first person narrative.

Susan has an English mother and a French father. She has an only daughter who is kidnapped by an Englishman and he brought her to the New World. Susan tried to catch her back to Bahia, Brazil. She lived there for two years but it didn’t give any good result. So she made a voyage to Lisbon, Portugal and had a crush with the captain. Soon the crew of the ship mutinied and killed the captain. Then they threw Susan to a boat with Captain’s corpse. One day she drifted ashore in an isle and met Friday and Cruso. It is the beginning of the rest of the story.

Characteristic that I see on Susan is feminine yet masculine. She is so brave that she could survive from whole adventures in order to rescue her daughter. How she can live in Bahia for two years and in an island for one year with only two strangers. As a result, Captain Smith asked her to make a book about her adventures as a castaway. Meanwhile, Susan still shows her feminism side in how patient she was when she took care of Cruso who is sick, and how Susan gave attention to Friday, the slave.

The way Susan tells us her thought and her feeling in the story is so explicit. In my opinion it is her way to keep all memories of the journey, she also longs her story, but then I can’t decide which fact is and which fiction is. She preserves herself and her history in a way she attempts to give voice to Friday.


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