Metafiction and JM Coetzee's Foe Essay example

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Metafiction and JM Coetzee's Foe

Is writing not a fine thing, Friday? Are you not filled with joy to know that you will live forever, after a manner? (Susan Barton, Foe, 58)

Of the many literary conventions used to describe JM Coetzee's Foe, one of the more commonly written about is metafiction. Since about 1970, the term metafiction has been used widely to discuss works of post-modern fiction and has been the source of heated debate on whether its employ marks the death or the rebirth of the novel. A dominant theme in post-modern fiction, the term "metafiction" has been defined by literary critics in multiple ways. John Barth offers perhaps the most simplified definition: metafiction is "a novel that imitates a novel rather
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Metafiction is not the definitive mode of post-modernism, some would argue, and works that are metafictional are not always post-modern, as post-modern works are not always metafictional. Hamlet is often cited as an early work of metafiction, which may be contrasted with the more post-modern Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Often described as self-conscious, narcissistic, introspective, introverted, and autorepresentational, there are several characteristics and literary techniques that allow the reader to identify whether the work is metafictional. First, metafiction employs intertextual references and allusions by Examining fictional systems, Incorporating aspects of both theory and criticism. Creating biographies of imaginary writers, and presenting and discussing fictional works of an imaginary character. The author is often puts himself into the metanarrative by intruding to comment and involving himself with fictional characters. Coetzee's creation of a fictional author, Foe, is a good example of this. Metafictional authors directly address the audience and question how narrative conventions can filter reality. Metafiction tends to flaunt itself as subverting reality and exaggerating instability. (As the role of the daughter in Foe capably displays).

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