Olga Tokarczuk’s use of foiling in Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead gives the story a powerful twist. The foils are Janina and the law enforcement that are present in the novel. Throughout the novel, Janina is at odds with law enforcement, whether that be for her being a suspect in a crime, or for her reports on animal cruelty.
In the majority of the novel, the reader is pushed to interpret that Janina, despite her eccentricities, is generally a moral person. The depiction of her caring about animals portrays Janina as a woman with a caring heart. However, when Janina goes to the police about animal cruelty that she notes, she is shut down and demeaned. The law enforcement doesn’t seem like they actually care about upholding the law; instead, they are portrayed as a lazy and insensitive group of people who don’t take women very seriously, seeing how they called Janina a old hag. The law enforcement are then portrayed as antagonists, while Janina contrasts them as somewhat of a protagonist.
Because law enforcement is portrayed in a negative light, the reader is pushed to sympathize with Janina, who had multiple negative encounters with the police. The sympathy that the reader is directed to give Janina backfires when Janina is revealed as the killer at the very end of the book. With the foil of Janina and law enforcement and also with Janina being portrayed as more of the protagonist, the ending leaves the reader with a sense of betrayal towards Janina. So, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is an example of a plot twist done right.