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WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS Essay - Eng 214 Relationship...

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Eng 214 4/5/08 Relationship Comparisons In Waiting for the Barbarians, Coetzee gives strong relations to important characters in the book. Coetzee uses two parallel themes between the Magistrate and the young Barbarian girl compared to the Empire and the overall Barbarian population. The similarities that jump out in the book between these conflicting characters and the two societies are the lack of communication between the two, constant curiosity of the barbarian ways, and a sense of overwhelming control. The novel overall is indirect on specific meanings and feelings expressed, but it gives the reader room to interpret and relate to their own experience. Something for the reader to interpret is why the Magistrate has taken in the young barbarian girl given her a job and shelter, when he knows very little about her due to their lack of speaking to each other. Just as the Magistrate and the girl are not on speaking terms, the Empire has never actually communicated with the barbarians. The Empire views these people as uneducated and simplistic, yet they are not to be underestimated because they are wild creatures. The Magistrate continues to support this girl although, “it is a week since words have passed between us” he finds himself in a ritual of washing the girl as the only interaction between them for quite some time (30). Parallel to the idea of little interaction with this girl, the Empire is on a wild goose
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