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Waiting For The Barbarians Chapter 1 & 2

Posted on February 11, 2018

I find it interesting how the book automatically begin on Joll and the way he was dressed and how he behaved. From the start readers are aware of his difference from the narrator of the story, the magistrate of the area he was visiting. I believe his glasses, beside helping him see in the when its sunny, help him be distant,so when he is interrogating these “prisoners” he feels no empathy. He seems to be of higher authority than the narrator because though the narrator seems to disagree with much of Joll’s methods and decisions he has no choice to go along with it. I am surprised that the narrator has been in charge for a while, he seems to be too nice to watch over a village of people; I would think that someone would test his authority, but it seems he is  assertive to the guards and people who are under him than to Joll. The first chapter of the book, reminds me of the salem witch trials panic. With rumors of barbarians uniting to go against the empire has Joll ready to accuse anyone. The narrator, on the other hand, seems to be questioning the empire and their paranoid decisions of searching for barbarians or anyone in alliance with them. With Joll’s presence and this fransic going around the empire the narrator seems to be losing faith in the empire and his purpose. This is seen when thinks things like;  “Show me a barbarian army and I will believe.”(pg. 9), or  “..I stand over the head of a magistrate like myself, another grey-haired servant of Empire who fell in the arena of his authority..”(pg.17) His choice of the use of the word “servant” to describe his job position is very interesting; servants are less respected than magistrates and the fact that he uses that word to describe his position gives us an insight on how he feels about himself. As the story goes on I come to realize that the magistrate only felt low in hos position because Joll made him feel inferior.   I find it very wierd how he forms a bond  with the blind barbarian girl. 


  1. Jessica Hautsch

    Good discussion of the significance of Joll’s sunglasses. I like that you connect it to his lack of empathy, perhaps an inability to see the humanity of the barbarians. Your comparison to the Salem witch-trials is also insightful; there does not seem to be much evidence to support the actions of the empire.

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