Well, that was unexpected. Before last week I’d had no idea that Foe was a remodelled version of Robinson Crusoe. Interesting. I find it ironic that Susan struggles so much with her story being distorted by Foe, when the very book itself is a distorted story. I’m trying to figure out if I should be getting more of a statement out of that than just irony. Also, Defoe? Foe? Coetzee is just playing with us here. I just don’t know what to make of it. I mean, Foe is the writer, but he’s also the, well, foe! We’re led to dislike him, Susan dislikes him, she calls him a spider! He wants to turn her story into something she doesn’t want it to be. But are we meant to think of Defoe when we think of Foe? I have no idea, I feel like I must be reading too far into this.
Foe, the character, was just so incredibly frustrating. He felt condescending and forceful, I really just wanted Susan to ditch the whole thing and either do it herself or find someone else. The light repetition of “at last I could row no further” was significant in expressing the struggle she has with encountering so much resistance to the way she wants to do things. She struggles to find her daughter. She struggles to live. She struggles to tell her story. That’s something that the reader finds impossible to avoid, and it’s frustrating in many ways. Without this struggling there would not be much of a novel, but still, I couldn’t help thinking, what’s the point of all this? Couldn’t this all be avoided? However, I’ve heard it said, and I think I agree with it, that people write because they have to. When you have something to write about, you simply have to let it out and, often, show it to the world. I’m sure most of you know the feeling I’m talking about, a sort of need to get something down on paper, to let the gates down and have your words flow out? Susan has to tell her story. Foe becomes the vessel through which she can tell her story, and he attempts to bar her story. He forces parts that she doesn’t want to tell, and mutes the parts that she needs to have written in detail. That’s why I felt like he is the foe, the opposition. But I’m open to opposition here, does anyone feel like Mr. Foe was really not a foe at all?