Prompt: After reading the novel Disgrace and then the New York Times article “Out of South Africa,” consider which side you’ll take in the controversy surrounding this author. Although he does not tell us Melanie’s race, later in the novel the protagonist calls her “the dark one.” Is J. M. Coetzee’s novel more about power struggles or the tensions between races?
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In his perplexing novel Disgrace, Joe Coetzee presents us with a story of David Lurie, a 52-year old professor at the Technical University of Cape Town, who experiences divorce twice. Lurie lives for his emotional and monetary needs. Additionally, he gets sexual satisfaction by visiting a prostitute. The twist reveals itself when he seduces his students (Coetzee 82). Melanie is a student having a relationship with Lurie. Although her presence is for a diminutive time in the novel, it is insufficient to judge her from the novel. The author presents Melanie as fashion-oriented, fresh, dynamite and an elite woman. Later on in the novel Melanie drastically changes the moment she gets into a relationship with Lurie. According to my understanding, the novel reveals minute incidences of power struggle and tensions between races. Evidently, the author left his home in South Africa concurrently when character Lurie left his home in Cape Town, as per the novel. Additionally, it can be deduced from the story that Lurie used his authoritative power to accomplish the relationship with Melanie. Coetzee ran away from South Africa because of the deleterious reactions from his students.
the article Out of Africa, it reveals that the white characters were fleshed
out while the black ones were not. Also, the article reveals that Coetzee’s
complex novel was an encouragement to the defense of a new nation. It also
“explored the unresolved tensions of the post-apartheid order” (Donadio). If I were Coetzee
or Lurie, I would have left the country due to the “disgrace” brought upon my
position. This novel is a masterpiece of his works as well as a revelation of a
pandemonium from within the country’s walls.
Coetzee, J. M. Disgrace. Penguin Publishers, 2000.
Donadio, Rachel. New York Times. 16 December 2007. 21 September 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/books/review/Donadio-t.html?_r=0>.