Seema Madhok

Designation: Assistant Professor, English

Research Scholar

Uttarakhand Technical University





Waiting for the Barbarians is a postcolonial novel and principally deals with the encounter with the “other” that is the encounter between the European settlers and the indigenous colonized people. It brings out the difference between the dominant culture of the colonist and the native culture. The paper examines how the marginalized groups are often treated as “others” and how the imperialists indulge in the process of constructing “others” in order to create a positive identity of self. It reflects the effect of colonial oppression on both the oppressed and the oppressor and the colonizers’ dependence on the “other” for their existence. The barbarian girl is the “other” both as a barbarian and as a woman. The Magistrate endeavors to assuage himself of colonial guilt and reach a greater understanding of “self” through his attempts at constructing the girl’s (other’s) identity. The paper studies how the construction of the “other” is fundamental to the construction of self.

The paper also inspects the use of the ‘female aesthetics’ as a means to represent the position of women and female subjectivity. Women are also considered as “others” in dominant patriarchal structures.

Key words: self, other, female aesthetics

Construction of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ in J. M. Coetzee’s

Waiting for the Barbarians