Analyzes on “Waiting for the Barbarians”

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Analyzes on “Waiting for the Barbarians” The main character in the story of Waiting for the Barbarians is the magistrate who for years has governed an unnamed colonial frontier, living among the native peoples but not living with them. He governed generously and judiciously. He says, “Of course one cannot be sure. But even if they are lying, how can they be of use to you, simple people like that?” when he sees Colonel Joll wants to question these barbarians (4). He was comfortable in his role as magistrate and the native peoples of the area had learned to adapt to him. However, with the arrival of Colonel Joll at the beginning of the novel, all this begins to change: not only is the magistrate's position and authority damaged, he is also forced to begin viewing himself and his world in radically different ways. Gradually the magistrate begins to see what he had not been able or willing to see before: the peoples he had long governed, but had never known. He begins to see the social injustices as well as the personal tragedies caused by a cruel colonial regime. Therefore, we see the transformation of the magistrate who used to be loyal to the Empire without doubt. Post Colonialism often analyses what hap Continue...


The Magistrate's experiences of torture at the hands of the authorities have a psychological detachment from his body. As long as they stay in the town, the Magistrate is the colonized and the girl is the colonized. The terms which frequently occur in post-colonial literature are self and other; the oppressor and the oppressed. The Magistrate's relationship with the girl represents the effect on the colonized and the colonizer. I am swinging gently in the breeze" When the Magistrate comments (again, he is still 'being' hanged) "I am relaxed, floating. It is impossible for him to be sure of his feelings while he is influenced by the Empire. If it was not for the Empire, he would know perfectly well the difference between right and wrong since he is a good man, who in his heart is not a barbarian. As the Subject the girl becomes the active part and for the first time they have sex and the girl is the one to take the initiative. The Magistrate was belonged to the Empire who dominates indigenous regions. He develops the other personality and see things from the barbarians' perspective when the day Colonel Joll appears (1). The western civilization makes the lake become salty and dry out, the animals are gone, and s the fish are dead (51). Although the Magistrate is a complex character, it is quite clear when to regard him as the self and when to regard him as the other. In a woman's clothes," it is as if the actual wearing of the 'woman's clothes' facilitates his displacement of pain; disguised by the woman's smock, his body is no longer 'present' and therefore the pain that it feels is displaced, perhaps even replaced by pleasure. At the beginning, the Magistrate acts like a father figure to the girl, but in a strange way he is also sexually attracted to her.