The Politics of Comfort in J.M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year
Didymus Tsangue Douanla explores the centrality of comfort in notions of subjectivity, home, and self/other dynamics in the specific postcolonial diaspora depicted in J. M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year. He begins with the ambiguities underpinning the subject`s attempt to negotiate a comfortable sense of self amid the challenges posed by racism, sexism, ageism and the conflation of private and public life. He then identifies two different notions of comfort activated in the narrative through a polyphonic narrative structure that juxtaposes fiction and non-fiction on the same page. With recourse to Michael Rothberg's concept of »implicated subjectivity« and Timothy Bewes' ideas on postcolonial shame, the chapter argues that even postcolonial diasporic subjects who now reside in a safe western democratic nation are haunted by memories of past violence and an abiding sense of their implication. This leads to a sense of shame that complicates their experience and reality of comfort.