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Waiting for the Barbarians Summary
John Maxwell Coetzee

Everything you need to understand or teach Waiting for the Barbarians by John Maxwell Coetzee.

  • Waiting for the Barbarians Summary & Study Guide
  • 1 Encyclopedia Article
  • 8 Literature Criticism
  • ...and more
  • 30 Waiting for the Barbarians Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
  • 20 Essay Questions
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Waiting for the Barbarians Summary

Plot Summary

A magistrate in charge of administering the law in a colonial town witnesses the torture of the invaded indigenous population. The colony or the place is unspecified. Most characters have no names, although the circumstances surrounding the events indicate that the colony is South Africa while the barbarians indicate the black population. The magistrate is of unspecified age although he refers to himself as approaching retirement. At first loyal and dutiful the magistrate becomes skeptical about the legal system he represents. He questions its effectiveness, but if he were to leave his successor could be more ruthless.

The magistrate is content with his life until the investigation to examine the alleged barbarian uprising occurs. Colonel Joll is sent to establish the extent of danger that the barbarians, who live behind the border may pose to the colony. He captures natives to extract information from them about any uprising...

(read more from the Study Guide)

Study Pack

The Waiting for the Barbarians Study Pack contains about 102 pages of study material in 13 products, including:

Waiting for the Barbarians Study Guide

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Waiting for the Barbarians Lesson Plans contain 119 pages of teaching material, including:

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