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The Hybrid Subject in J.M. Coetzee’s "Boyhood"



Throughout the 20th century, notions such as identity, self and the other have been consequently constructed and deconstructed and have received new areas of interest. The notion of hybrid identity, for example, has been transformed from a technique of distinguishing pure from infected blood (from a racial point of view, but not only), to one of the key elements of political correctness: nations have become overrated, while cultural and regional identities have gained ground.

In this essay, I propose a closer view into the cross-identities structures of an Apartheid South-Africa ruptured by race, religion, political and cultural views, and so on. J. M Coetzee is indeed the typical result of this hybridization: he is an atheist Dutch, living in Africa, going to a Catholic school alongside with the Coloured, Americans and Russians, not to say that he’s a man amongst women. He is the result of the clash of histories: Dutch, Anglo-Saxon, Eastern European, African heritage have joined into one cultural identity artifact.

As previously stated, identity plays a lead role in the demonstration. It can be viewed as a way of gaining awareness of oneself and the other, but, throughout history it has been used as a means of subjugation in the name of imperialism. Usually the self (the conqueror, the Empire) is the point of origin, the genesis of civilization, while the other is the exotic, the savage, that is interesting until it becomes dangerous for the ways of the Power.

Postmodernism has brought a changing of roles, moving the viewpoint from the centre to the margins, from the Empire, to its victims.

Power, as seen by Foucault is a path to dominating the weak. According to the French philosopher, it “has no structural relation to a social totally neither does it presuppose an institution as the origin of its activities”, and “following Foucault’s archaeological analysis, is also non-subjective” (Williams, 177), as it doesn’t belong to one subject or another. The self is now seen as a subject, as a representation of the subject-ed, as the controlled (left) or constituted (middle) in a relation of Power, that is, Power discourses of any kind constitute the subject (Butler, 50-1).

Boyhood… is the starting point of an autobiographical series of novels. It represents the struggle of a child who cannot find his own identity, but is gradually built into a confusing whirlpool of different, simultaneous versions of the same Coetzee. Each version is catalyzed by a different encounter with the other, that is, the self is seen in the mirror of the other. He cannot exist without the other, he is the Frankenstein of imperialism. There is no egocentric “I”, there is no mirror in which he can say “I am this” or “I am that”. The mirror has become an ocean of percents and trends.

Coetzee feels the need to keep certain appearances to prevent his family from noticing the infection with outer elements:

He shares nothing with his mother. His life at school is kept a tight secret from her. She shall know nothing he resolves, but what appears on his quarterly report, which shall be impeccable. […] As long as the report is faultless, she will have no right to ask questions. (5) The great secret of his school life, the secret he tells no one at home, is that he has become a Roman Catholic, that for all practical purposes he ‘is’ a Roman Catholic. (18)

But this other is not only viewed through the perspective of the child. It has a very strong geographical and cultural valence, with an either/or relation between the elements that make up the society, in this case, South Africa. These schizoid relationships between groups cannot be omitted when dealing with post-colonial literature.

He not only keeps his school/social life well hidden from the eyes of his parents, but also his allegiances: he has hidden a number of drawings where he would show Russia’s naval victories, for “liking the Russians was not part of the game, it was not allowed”. Mixing was not allowed either. The society is constructed so as each member plays one particular role, and the Power made sure they were kept through such means as propaganda:

There are white people and Coloured people and Natives, of whom the Natives are the lowest and most derided. The parallel is inescapable: the Natives are the third brother.

[…] Although, in examinations, he gives the correct answers to all the history questions, he does not know, in a way that satisfies his heart why Jan van Riebeeck and Simon van der Stel were so good while Lord Charles Somerset was so bad. […] Andries Pretorius and Gerrit Maritz and the others sound like the teachers in the high schools or like Afrikaners on the radio: angry and obdurate and full of menaces and talk about God. (65-66)

Coetzee is an Afrikaner (Dutch), as well as the majority of the South-African population. There is a small English minority, “aside from himself and his brother, who are English only in a way” (67). He sees himself as English, even though appearances would say otherwise. Afrikaners are seen as dangerous:

They wield their language like a club against their enemies. On the streets it is best to avoid groups of them; even singly the have a truculent, menacing air. […] It is unthinkable that he should ever be cast among them: they would crush him, kill the spirit in him. (124-5)

Apart from the racial and national segregation, as any traditional society, South-African women also have a well diminished status in the society. Coetzee’s mother is not allowed to own a horse and to replace it, she buys a bike ignoring her husband’s categorical reproaches that women should not ride bicycles. Nor can she claim her possessions when her husband goes bankrupt. She is the typical image of a woman’s social sacrifice, as she “spent a year at university before she had to make way for her youngest brothers”. (124). Coetzee is caught between his parents during fights, but, even though he supports his mother, he cannot be but a (future) man.

There is also a very strong sense of repressing sexuality: even though his parents are rather open about the subject (his mother actually owned a book about that), the school officials totally reject even to mention it. When he takes the book to school, it instantly becomes a study material for all the boys, but when discovered by the authority, he is silently, but nonetheless violently reprimanded:

[…] his heart pounds as he waits for the announcement and the shame that will follow. The announcement does not come; but in every passing remark of Brother Gabriel’s he finds a veiled reference of the evil that he, a non-Catholic, has imported into the school. (147)

Edward Said, in one of his most famous works, Culture and Imperialism, states that the largest part of Earth’s population has been affected in some way or another by empires of the past (4). He adds that “Imperialism did not end, did not suddenly become ‘past’, once decolonization had set in motion the dismantling of the classical empires” (341). Consequently, we deal with a highly complicated equation of History and Power:

If at the outset we acknowledge the massively knotted and complex histories of special but nevertheless overlapping and interconnected experiences – of women, of Westerners, of Blacks, of national states and cultures – there is no particular intellectual reason for granting each and all of them an ideal and essentially separate status. Yet we would wish to preserve what is unique about each so long as we also preserve some sense of the human community and the actual contests that contribute to its formation, and of which they are all a part. (16)

Therefore, Coetzee is an eclectic result of a hybrid community, with an identity of his own, not pertaining to any individual groups, but a part of them all. Homi Bhabha defines this rhetoric of hybridity as “the location of culture”: hybridity is a limited paradigm of colonial anxiety. Therefore, colonial hybridity is a “cultural form”, which “produced ambivalence in the colonial masters and as such altered the authority of power”. Also, Bakthin’s polyphony is a very popular item in folklore and anthropological studies. (Wikipedia, Hybridity).

Coetzee manages to create a distance between himself as a character and an objective viewer by referring to himself using the 3rd person, but, at the same time, he cannot escape from himself. What he is may be impossible to define through introspection, but when adding the other(s) in the equation, the result is prone to appear: J.M. Coetzee.

Works Cited

Coetzee, J. M. Boyhood, Scenes From A Provincial Life. Lodon: Vintage, 1998

Rohmann Chris. The Dictionary of Important Ideas and Thinkers. London: Arrow Books, 2002

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. London: Vintage, 1994

Butler, Christopher. Postmodernism, A Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002

Williams Caroline. Contemporary French Philosophy. London: The Athlone Press, 2001

Hybridity. Wikipedia link

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Are Loaded Longboards Right for Me?




Although the longboard style of skateboarding has been popular for quite some time Loaded longboards are an enticing possibility for riders who have moved beyond the beginner level, and have started to learn about features that are most advantageous for their type of longboard riding.

Types of Loaded Longboards to Consider

The company is based in California and currently has six skateboard models to choose from. Some of the differences between the models include the overall length, and the size of the wheelbase. The boards are also designed with eye-catching patterns so riders can glide in style.

All of the boards are built for high-performance, but some have features that cater to specific types of riding or environments.

For example, some skateboarders prefer to spend most of their time at nearby skate parks. These areas feature large pavement spaces and hills that are perfect for achieving impressive speeds. Another advantage of skate parks is that they allow people to share tips and get encouragement from other riders. The skateboarding community is generally very close-knit and supportive of each other’s efforts. People who want to ride Loaded longboards at a skate park might prefer the Fattail model. It’s perfect for paved areas and parking garages, and also has a large tail to promote quick turning ability.

Alternatively Loaded longboards that focus on the freestyle discipline have shorter wheelbases for extra responsiveness while performing tricks and staying secure through tight turns.

Purchasing Loaded Longboards

Understandably, the cost of longboards is of great concern to many riders, especially if their income is limited. As with most other types of investments, it’s well worthwhile to consider the personal significance of the purchase, and also consider how the enjoyment of the skateboard continues over time, especially as a rider’s skills develop.

Also, keep in mind that the ultimate cost will depend on which Loaded model riders choose, and whether they wish to make their own customizations to the board after buying it.

To aid in the purchasing process of your own Loaded longboards, start by making a list of certain characteristics that are most important. Then, do research to see which model of longboard offers all or most of those features. Whether you’re looking for a commuter board, or a compact deck, Loaded has a model to suit your needs.

If you need help, consider asking your chosen retailer about the most commonly selected model among other riders who also perform your favourite discipline. Although the board types look similar at first, they’re designed with features that excel for certain needs.

Even though a methodical purchasing process takes more time and effort overall, it will help you get a board that’s more fun to ride, and can bring years of satisfaction.

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Inspirational Quotes for the Disheartened Soul




You sometimes hurdle times where in you feel extremely down that you just want someone to throw you some inspirational quotes. Here are some selection of inspirational quotes and ways to apply it in real life.

1. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it the present. – Babatunde Olatunji

Most people, they set their future goals too high that it is almost impossible to reach it at a realistic timeframe. Stop complaining about the past. No matter what you do, time will never rewind itself on that day you made a mistake. So cherish the moment now. Who knows, you may regret the time that you never took a chance to ride that roller coaster when you still can.

2. Do not let what you cannot do stop you from doing what you can do. – John Wooden

This inspirational quote tells us that everyone has a weakness but that does not mean you do not have strength. You must be good at something and that is what you should cultivate.

3. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius

This inspirational quote says that the heart of a champion always pursues his goals. That is why when they reach their aim, they often reap the sweetest glory for the reason that they rose after the fall.

4. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde

True indeed, most people are solely on earth for mere extinction. The bible even tells us that we should do things in the name of the Lord. At the start of the day you should say, “I dedicate my work to you, oh Lord.” That way, you do not just exist, you are living. One distinction between living and existing is HAVING A PURPOSE.

5. The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything. – Theodore Roosevelt

Of course, how can you achieve something if you do not act on it? You are a human being, not a thing who does not move or breathe.

6. Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting. – Elizabeth Bibesco

This inspirational quote tells us that when we give or share something, we oftentimes expect something in return. But it is indeed always better to give than to receive. You may not be compensated here on earth, but God will not forget that good deed you just made.

7. If you want to be happy, be. -Leo Tolstoy

Most people wallow in sadness because they choose to. If your lover left you for another person, why mourn over them. There are more than 6 Billion people around the world and one of them can appreciate you even more and will be afraid of losing you. So choose to be happy instead.

8. Never tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon. -Anonymous

This is the real world and as crazy as it is, you are only limited by how far you think you can achieve. So do not stop achieving your dreams.

9. Everything is okay in the end, if it is not ok, then it is not the end. -Anonymous

This is one of the inspirational quotes that tell us not to give up. Challenges are already part of life what you need to do is keep going until everything falls into the right place.

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The Different Types of Modern Ferry




The simple task of carrying passengers and sometimes cargo across a body of water might not seem that remarkable, but it is something that dates back centuries. There are various writings and published works from ancient times that suggest the profession of a ferryman was a crucial aspect of former cultures and civilisations.

Today, ferryboats remain an essential means of transport all over the world. In several waterside cities and destinations, these vessels form part of the public transport system, providing the means to travel over water without the use of a bridge or tunnel.

What’s more, ferries are also commonplace in larger seas or oceans, connecting countries and even continents. Although the manufacturing and construction of these colossal vessels is staggering, each and every component, no matter how tiny they may be, can be crucial. Therefore, we like to think our range of high quality products, from BSP adaptors to NPT fittings, might come in handy.

But what is the history of the ferry? How many different types of vessel are there? And what are the biggest ferries and busiest routes in the world?

History of the ferry

In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman of Hades, who carried newly deceased souls across the rivers Styx and Acheron, which separated the worlds of the living and the dead. You still had to pay a fare to Charon though, usually a coin placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. In the days before steam and diesel, this ferryman’s chosen method of propulsion was a long pole held in his right hand, while receiving the deceased with his left.

In Anonymus De Rebus Bellicis, a piece of 4th century Roman literature, there is speculation that a pair of oxen once propelled a ferry. This principle could theoretically work, especially when you consider Kevin J. Crimson’s booked entitled When Horses Walked on Water: Horse-Powered Ferries in Nineteenth-Century America.

But the first steam-powered ferry was said to be the Juliana, invented by John Stevens. It began operating on 11th October 1811 between New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey. However with the advent of diesel engines in 20th century, steam-powered ferryboats have become a rarity and are reserved for special occasions or tourist routes.

While the majority of modern ferries still use diesel as their primary fuel source, the shipping industry is constantly looking at cleaner alternatives, which won’t damage the environment as much. Studies have found that vessels running on Liquefied Natural Gas are slightly more efficient, while electric and hybrid alternatives have also been developed in recent years.

Types of modern ferry

Despite the fact there are several different types of ferry in operation today, each one usually shares certain characteristics. However, the length of the route, the passenger or vehicle capacity, speed restrictions or requirements and the weather conditions will determine what ferry is used at a particular location.


The front and back of this kind of ferry, known as the prow bow and stern, are interchangeable. Therefore, they can travel back and forth between two ports of call without having to turn around. While this saves a great deal of time, it is sometimes absolutely necessary due to the size and area restrictions of certain terminals.

Famous double-ended vessels include the Staten Island Ferry, Washing State Ferries, Star Ferry and numerous boats on the North Carolina Ferry System and the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. There are also double-ended ferryboats in operation in the Norwegian fjords, British Columbia and Sydney, Australia.


Even though hydrofoil ferries might seem like a fairly advanced concept, prototypes date back over 100 years. Essentially, a hydrofoil is a boat that initially floats on the surface, but when velocity is increased the hull lifts out of the water, decreasing drag and allowing for greater speeds. The benefit of this type of vessel is that passengers can be transported quickly while minimising fuel costs. For this reason, they are commonplace on the English Channel and compete against Eurostar trains that use the tunnel.

However, they have their disadvantages too. Due to their technically complex nature, they are expensive to build and require ongoing maintenance. What’s more, a hydrofoil’s sharp edges that reside in the water during operation can also injure or kill marine mammals such as whales.


The development of the modern hovercraft is typically attributed to British mechanical engineer Sir Christopher Cockerell. In the 1950s, he developed a seagoing vehicle that used blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull. The difference in air pressure above and below the hull generates lift and allows a hovercraft to float above the water surface.

Due to their adaptability and cost-effectiveness, they soon became a commercial success, predominantly around the UK and in the English Channel. Before long, hovercrafts were also adopted by the military and even used for recreational purposes.

But just like hydrofoils, they require a great deal of maintenance and can be susceptible to damage from adverse weather conditions. On top of that, hovercrafts are constrained to a given payload and their sea keeping ability is dependent on size.


These ferries feature two parallel hulls of equal size, which are geometry-stabilised. Due to their lightweight nature, thin hulls that reduce drag and no ballasted keel, a catamaran has a shallow draught and can travel at fast speeds. They also heel much less than a monohull, allowing for a more comfortable and efficient ride.

Traditionally, they relied on the wind for power and their sails would spill less than alternatives. But modern-day catamaran ferries combine the features of a motor yacht with the characteristics of a multihull.

Due to their countless advantages, catamarans are the ferry of choice for several high-speed services. They can replicate the speeds of a hydrofoil without suffering the effects of strong waves or foul water.


Mainly used to transport wheeled cargo such as automobiles, trucks and trailers, roll-on/roll-off ships have built-in ramps that allow vehicles to effortlessly embark. When the vessel reaches its destination, the cargo can exit the other end just as easily.

In the past, vehicles had to be specially prepared before being hoisted into a ship’s hold, which was a time-consuming and expensive exercise. On top of that, the cargo was subject to damage as well. But in 1849, Thomas Bouch came up with the idea of a train ferry featuring an efficient roll-on, roll-off mechanism to maximise efficiency.

While these were used extensively in World War I, purpose-built landings ships capable of carrying military vehicles were developed for World War II. Today, they are still widely used for passenger and commercial purposes.


The combination of a cruise ship and a ‘Ro-Pax ferry’, this kind of vessel is typically used by holidaymakers on seagoing vacations or simply as a means of transportation. They are like a cruise ship in that they have numerous on-board facilities such as restaurants, bars and even entertainment or accommodation. RoPax ferries are those with a large garage intake and substantial passenger capacity.

Cruiseferries are typically found across Europe in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel and Mediterranean. However, they also operate between China and Australia.

Pontoon ferry

Not the most advanced or modern vessels in the western world, but pontoon ferries are widely used in less-developed countries. Due to their inexpensive yet versatile nature, pontoon ferries are often used to carry people and vehicles across large rivers or lakes where the cost of a bridge is too expensive.

The most common pontoon ferries borrow design ideas from a catamaran. But instead of featuring two narrow hulls, they usually have pontoons either side of the platform or raft. Ramps will be installed on either side of the vessel to increase the efficiency of passengers and vehicles getting on and off.

Cable ferry

Also known as a chain ferry, swing ferry, floating bridge or punt, this type of vessel is guided and often propelled across the water by cables connected to both shores. Traditionally, rope or steel chains were used, but by the late 19th century, more stronger and durable wire cable became commonplace.

A reaction ferry uses the power of the river to tack across the current whereas a powered ferry has an engine or electric motor to wind itself along. Cogs or drums on-board pull the vessel, but the cables or chains have a fair amount of slack, as they have to sink below the surface and allow the vessel to pass.

Fast-disappearing hand-operated ferries are also still in existence, such as the Stratford-upon-Avon Chain Ferry in the UK and the Saugatuck Chain Ferry in Michigan, USA.

Modern ferry facts and figures

World’s largest car ferry in service – The MS Ulysses, operated by Irish Ferries between Ireland and Wales. Launched in March 2011, this vessel stands 12 decks high, but six are specifically designated for vehicles. In total, the Ulysses can carry 1,342 cars and 240 trucks.

World’s largest passenger ferry in service – The Stena Hollandica and Britannica, operated by Stena Line between the Netherlands and Great Britain. This ship features 1376 beds, 538 cabins, an on-board cinema, lounge, bar, buffet and a la carte restaurants, a sun deck and free Wi-Fi throughout.

World’s fastest car ferry in service – The Luciano Federico L, operated by Buquebus between Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Capable of a maximum speed achieved in sea trials of 60.2 knots, it holds a Guinness World Record. The boat can also carry 450 passengers and 52 cars along this 110-nautical mile route.

Oldest ferry service in continuous operation – The Mersey Ferry between Liverpool and Birkenhead or the Rocky Hill to Glastonbury Ferry. This is a contentious record, as a couple of different ferries claim to be the oldest service still operating today. In 1150, monks from the Benedictine Priory in Birkenhead used to charge a small fee to row passengers across the Mersey Estuary. However, there may have been a break in service following the dissolution of the monasteries. The ferry between Rocky Hill and Glastonbury, Connecticut, which has been running ever since 1655, only stops operating when the winter freezes over in winter.

World’s largest ferry system – On Scotland’s west coast, Caledonian MacBrayne operate a fleet of 29 vessels, which call at 50 different ports. Elsewhere is the world, BC Ferries in British Columbia have 36 ships that visit 47 terminals, while Washington State Ferries own 28 boats, which go to 20 destinations around Puget Sound.

Even though jumbo jets and high-speed trains have replaced ferryboat routes in some areas, they remain an incredibly important and crucial means of transportation for millions of people worldwide. The most modern vessels are also incredibly quick, very efficient and can transport scores of passengers in comfort and style.

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