First, we should see how the Magistrates words and actions work in the undermentioned context, as described by Ray B. Browne in Objects of Particular Devotion: Fetishs and Fetishism in Popular Culture:
A Fetish is an point possessing some sacred, charming __ normally dark__ power. It is like an icon but different. [ Like an icon ] a fetish is besides an object, individual, construct, theory or doctrine believed to possess extraordinary charming or supernatural power. But they are different. Fetishs are deformed, bogus icons. To a degree beyond the icon, the fetish carries the contamination of the off-color, an unnatural fond regard, a ‘closet ‘ devotedness, something that the individual attached to the fetish should be remarkably sensitive to or ashamed of. ( Browne 1 )
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Right from the beginning, there is a conflation of organic structure and force, which has complicated the relationships between the Magistrate, Colonel Joll, and the barbaric miss. The mirror-like analogy between Colonel Joll and the miss is drawn every bit early as the first page of the novel. Coetzee opens the first scene with the image of Joll ‘s dark spectacless, which foreshadows the barbaric miss ‘s blinding at his custodies. The Magistrate asks: “ Is he blind? I could understand it if he wanted to conceal unsighted eyes. But he is non unsighted ” ( WB 1 ) . As good, he points to the corners of his eyes to demo the deficiency of Markss ( furrows in this instance ) ; the miss, on the other manus, has a “ gray puckering as though a caterpillar ballad there with its caput under her eyelid, croping ” ( 33 ) . Interestingly, when we receive a description of the miss ‘s unsighted eyes, she is portrayed as “ white ” while Joll is portrayed as “ dark ” : “ I wave a manus in forepart of her eyes. She blinks. I bring my face closer and stare into her eyes [ aˆ¦ ] The black flags are set off by milky Whites every bit clear as a kid ‘s ” ( accent added, 28 ) . This is a elusive reversal of colonial stereotypes, which Coetzee undertakes along the narrative, climaxing in the Magistrate ‘s realisation that the impression of savage is flexible and can stand in for the actions of members of Empire as good. Therefore, every bit early as the first page of the novel, the reader is intrigued into a procedure of fetichism. The first conversation between the Magistrate and Colonel Joll is charged with bodily force, as the accent on the organic structure is readily evident. A few lines after get downing the conversation, the conversation itself turns to violence: “ He tells me about the last great thrust he rode in, when 1000s of cervid, hogs, bears were slain, so many that a mountain of carcases had to be left to decompose ” ( 1 ) . This correlativity between force, which will turn to torment, and the bodily presence of the Other is the lens through which we should research the fetishistic ambivalency of the Self.
The first marks of fetichism are evident really early in the narrative as the Magistrate ‘s captivation with Colonel Joll starts to blossom, particularly, when Joll begins to originate the Magistrate into the rites of anguish, albeit as an outside perceiver, but one who is however complicit by this act. The Magistrate has, after all, offered to “ assist with the linguistic communication ” ( 3 ) . It is the rites of the anguish that steadfastly set up the thought of a anguish fetish for Joll and a turning dark captivation for the Magistrate. The Magistrate ‘s inquiry: “ You would prefer me non to be at that place [ inside the question room ] ? ” is rather equivocal, particularly when we see Joll ‘s answer: “ You would happen it boring ” ( 4 ) . It is non obvious whether it is an implied petition to go to the question, or it is merely a kind of protocol or “ set processs ” ( 4 ) . A farther conflation develops ; the Magistrate is fascinated with Joll and is, hence, fascinated with anguish. It is at this point that the Magistrate ‘s compulsions begin to develop. He says he is “ cognizant of what might be go oning, and [ his ] ear is even tuned to the pitch of human hurting ” ( 5 ) , but it is equivocal whether or non he is genuinely fed up. The ambiguity continues and the growing of a dark compulsion is realized when the Magistrate contradicts himself a short clip subsequently, stating of the same event, “ I did non sit off: for a piece I stopped my ears to the noises coming from the hut by the garner where the tools are kept, so in the dark I took a lantern and went to see for myself ” ( 9-10 ) . The relationship between the Magistrate and Joll at this phase suggests a form of relationship between a coach and an learner. The flood tide of this complicity takes topographic point at the scene where the Magistrate sees the contemplation of Joll in the eyes of the barbaric miss: “ the image of a face masked by two glassy insect eyes from which there comes no mutual regard but merely my twofold image cast back at me ” ( 47 ) .
The compulsion with the effects of anguish on the organic structure begins to take form when the Magistrate concludes that: “ Pain is truth ; all else is capable to doubt ” ( 5 ) . Still imbued with captivation with Joll ‘s organic structure, when he rapidly follows that statement with descriptions of Joll ‘s “ tapering fingernails, ” “ mauve hankies, ” and, most significantly, “ his slender pess ” ( 5 ) . This is a prefiguration of a possible pes fetish refering the miss ‘s distorted pes. The Magistrate continues to be fascinated with Joll and his function as a torturer. Of this he tells us,
Looking at him I wonder how he felt the really first clip: did he, invited as an learner to writhe the tweezers or turn the prison guard or whatever it is they do, shiver even a small to cognize that at that blink of an eye he was intruding into the forbidden? I find myself inquiring excessively whether he has a private rite of purification, carried out behind closed doors, to enable him to return and interrupt staff of life with other work forces. Does he rinse his custodies really carefully, possibly, or alter all his apparels ; or has the Bureau created new work forces who can go through without anxiousness between the dirty and the clean? ( WB 13 )
This transition suggests that Joll ‘s “ first clip ” __ ” turning the prison guard, ” so to talk __was like a first sexual experience and it is no admiration that the Magistrate should utilize such words to depict it. The rite of cleansing that the Magistrate focal points on here is closely connected to the Magistrate ‘s ain titillating lavation and massaging rites with the miss. Is he, as so many critics have argued, trying to read her by puting his custodies on the Markss left by Joll ‘s rites of anguish?[ 2 ]On the other manus, is he ordaining a rite of cleansing in an effort to be like Joll? Finally, what is the phantasy behind the ritual, the ground for the conflation of force and bodily captivations?
The conflation of organic structure and force becomes obvious when the Magistrate goes to see the immature miss at the hostel, subsequently identified as “ the Star. ” When the miss asks him of the dreams he was holding during the dark. He does non state anything to her, but the reader is privileged to cognize what he thinks: “ The Canis aureus rips out the hare ‘s bowels, but the universe rolls on ” ( 24 ) . The Magistrate seems to be fascinated with force insofar as he regards it as a natural thing. Subsequently on, the narrative moves into the debut of the barbaric miss, and the fetish truly begins to take form. At the first brush, he tells the miss “ [ T ] his is non what you think it is ” ( 29 ) __ upon a first reading, it is non what the reader expects either. However, he “ prowl [ s ] around her ” and admits that “ the distance between [ himself ] and her torturers [ aˆ¦ ] is negligible ” ( 29 ) . Finally, he says: “ Show me your pess ” ( 29 ) . A physical manifestation of his turning fetish is realized. What follows is a animal, titillating description of his lavation and rub downing ritual, get downing with her pess and traveling upward to the remainder of her organic structure. He says, “ I lose myself in the beat of what I am making. I lose consciousness of the miss herself. ” Ultimately, the ritual ends in “ blissful silliness ” ( 30 ) . The repeat of Acts of the Apostless of sleeping, sleepiness, giddiness and limbo that follows the rites of rub downing indicates the inability of the Magistrate to perforate the object of fetichism. His captivation is limited to surface of the fetish, which is reflected in the mechanical Acts of the Apostless of rinsing and rub downing. At this phase, the first portion of the organic structure fetish is realized. However, it is non long before this phase seems non plenty. His captivation begins to travel outward, from the pes, to disfigurement, to cleansing, to the act of anguish itself: “ It has been turning more and more clear to me that until the Markss on this miss ‘s organic structure are deciphered and understood I can non allow travel of her ” ( 33 ) .
The fetichism at this phase is has developed into the Magistrate ‘s compulsion with anguish, Joll, and the organic structure. Before that, we have to detect that the Magistrate ‘s captivation with the barbaric miss is non merely titillating ; instead, the Markss of anguish on her organic structure are at the Centre of his involvement. Unlike the miss at the hostel, he calls the “ Star ” with whom he has an irregular sexual relationship, the Magistrate feels no “ desire to come in ” the barbaric miss ( 32 ) . In fact, the barbaric miss forces a separation of sex and the turning organic structure fetish. She says, “ You should non travel runing if you do non bask it ” ( 44 ) , mentioning literally to his efforts to state a narrative about runing. He dismisses her statement, as cogent evidence that she does non understand but her undermentioned actions do non needfully back up that fact, as his compulsion with her anguished organic structure takes the signifier of runing for truth. Immediately following her statement, she gives him a full history of the Acts of the Apostless of anguish she has undergone as an reply to a inquiry about what happened he has asked at their first brush. More significantly, the miss seems to be the 1 who propels the object of the fetish from her organic structure to the act of anguish itself, giving him inside informations that he has non yet been able to possess through either his conversations with Joll or his geographic expeditions of her organic structure. It is after this exchange that the Magistrate throws himself back into a more traditional sexual relationship. He revisits the hostel miss, as an act of rebelliousness against his “ bondage to the rite of the oiling and friction, the sleepiness, the slack into limbo ” ( 44-45 ) . He acknowledges the failure of his present compulsion:
All this titillating behaviour of mine is indirect: I prowl about her, touching her face, fondling her organic structure, without come ining her or happening the impulse to make so. . . Is this how her torturers felt runing their secret, whatever they thought it was? For the first clip I feel a dry commiseration for them: how natural a error to believe that you can fire or rupture or chop your manner into the secret organic structure of the other! ( WB 46 )
The Magistrate is clearly confused at this point. When he asks her “ What do I hold to make to travel you? ” ( 47 ) he sees his reply obviously when he sees the contemplation of Joll alternatively of in the miss ‘s eyes[ 3 ]. He resists what has become clear to him: a torturer, stating: “ How can I believe that a bed is anything but a bed, a adult female ‘s organic structure anything but a site of joy? I must asseverate my distance from Colonel Joll! I will non endure for his offenses! ” ( 48 ) . But that is non what he truly wants. The Magistrate ‘s effort to counterbalance for these conflicting feelings by sing his kept woman more on a regular basis fails as he suffers from turns of powerlessness: “ there were unsettling occasions when in the center of the sexual act I felt myself losing my manner like a narrator losing the yarn of his narrative ” ( 48 ) . This is a complicated metaphor that can be read many ways, but here, it is an of import intimation that the storyteller ‘s compulsions may be making a closing. The miss has played out her function in the organic structure fetish and is no longer physically necessary. The Magistrate says, “ While I have non ceased to see her as a organic structure maimed, scarred, harmed, she has possibly by now grown into and go that new deficient organic structure ” ( 61 ) . What follows is the Magistrate ‘s fatal determination to return the miss to her people.