J. M. Coetzee: Disgrace

(1575 words)
  • Lindsay Sullivan (University of Wales, Cardiff)

Disgrace, set in Coetzee's native South Africa, tells the story of fifty-two year old David Lurie, Professor of Communications at Cape Technical University. Lurie becomes infatuated with one of the students from his Romantics course, Melanie Isaacs, and they have sex on a number of occasions. The narrative implies that Lurie's sexual acts constitute rape. We read his recollection of one event: “A memory floods back: the moment on the floor when he forced the sweater up and exposed her neat, perfect little breasts” (Chapter 3). The verbs “forced” and “exposed” suggest a moderated and reluctant admission that Melanie is coerced into the act of intercourse. On a further occasion the verbs similarly indicate …

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Sullivan, Lindsay. "Disgrace". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 September 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5577, accessed 07 July 2015.]