Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English and Cultural Studies


Eugenia Zuroski-Jenkins


Peter Walmsley



Committee Member

Rick Monture


Much of the critical discourse on J.M. Coetzee’s Foe does not fully investigate its relationship with Daniel Defoe’s texts, despite Foe’s intimate relation with them. This thesis offers a postcolonial reading of Coetzee’s Susan Barton, Cruso and Friday against Daniel Defoe’s original characters Roxana, Robinson Crusoe and Friday. Chapter one discusses Roxana-as-feminist, female colonizer, representative of her sex and Amazon and compares her to Barton. It reveals the tendency of critical discourse to attempt to ‘know’ Barton as they ‘know’ Roxana, by categorizing her, and reveals how Coetzee’s character frustrates attempts to define her. The second chapter addresses eighteenth-century knowledge of race and how it differs from present day, which offers an alternate reading of Robinson Crusoe and complicates its use as a colonial handbook. I also discuss masculinity in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as an individual characteristic Coetzee alters into something that can be appropriated. His characters are not masculine but can wield phallic symbols such as the pen and the knife to reveal power as systemic rather than individualistic. The final chapter offers an in depth postcolonial reading of Friday and interrogates critical discourse’s tendency to read him as representative of ‘the colonized,’ or as a colonial trope.

Half Title Page.docx (9 kB)
To be printed first

Final Thesis Intro.pdf (52 kB)
To be printed after "Half Title Page" and before "Sept 19 Leigha Bailey Thesis"

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