Teacher Guide

Foe Lesson Plan

Introduction to Foe

J.M. Coetzee retells a familiar story in Foe while simultaneously challenging that very familiarity. Even those who have not read Robinson Crusoe are likely familiar with the approximate plot: a man is shipwrecked on an island and, with the help of his mute black companion, builds a reasonably comfortable life. Coetzee poses the question: what if there was a third castaway whose role was eliminated from Defoe's text?

Coetzee introduces this theme by having his tale of Robinson Crusoe narrated by a brand new addition to the deserted island: Susan Barton. While searching for her daughter, Susan becomes part of a mutiny and is cast off of the ship. She finds herself washed up on Cruso's...

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