White Woman under Colonialism: Existential Crisis in Coetzee’s In The Heart of the Country
Dr. Shakira Khatoon

White skin is generally been associated with power, particularly in countries with deep racial prejudices such as South Africa. Under colonialism, the relations between whites and blacks had been that of master and slave. The word „slave‟ here brings to mind the images of hundreds and thousands of black men, women and children, toiling for their masters under the apartheid regime, whereas the word „master‟ conjures up the figure of a white „male‟ only. Never does the image of a white woman comes to mind while speaking of master-slave relations in a racially charged society. White woman remained mostly invisible during the centuries‟ long colonialism, and the reason that can be assumed for this absence of her is that she, like blacks, has also been a victim of the white patriarchal regimes. Thus, her existence has remained in dark – ignored or avoidable. Her white skin did not accrue as much benefit to her as that of a white male, her whiteness having been overshadowed by her woman-ness such that she is neither slave, nor master. She belongs to nowhere in a white-black master-slave dialectic. She is assigned no role and hence has no way to assert herself and get her existence acknowledged, leading her to an existential crisis. This paper analyses Coetzee‟s In the Heart of the Country, a farm novel, in the same vein, focusing on the character of the Protagonist Magda, a white spinster living on a lonely farm with her colonial father and some black servants. The whole novel is a monologue by her, written in the form of a journal, different entries narrating different incidents in her life (real or imagined?) in an incoherent manner.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jflcc.v8n2a1