Disgrace, By J. M. Coetzee Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

David Lurie is a professor of Communications at Cape Technical University in Cape Town, South Africa. He is an unhappy, twice-divorced, middle aged man, living alone. He finds zero pleasure in his career. He previously taught a position in modern languages, however, the department was eliminated. Consequently, David now teaches students a subject he shows no interest in. The only thing in David’s life that he finds interest in is the pursuit of a prostitute at a brothel that he attends regularly. However, one day he sees the prostitute, Soraya, in the city with her two sons and he shortly learns that she has left the brothel. He is left alone again and becomes intrigued with a younger female student, Melanie Isaacs. David is a man who has had his share of women and most of these women are strangers or one-time affairs that end as quickly as they begin. The pursuit of Melanie is a challenge for him, he is so isolated with his life that he does it anyways no matter how wrong and twisted it is. He forces himself upon her similar to the way his new position at work was forced upon him. Because he is unable to find excitement in his work, he finds excitement in Melanie through her protests and complete lack of interest in him. With the pressure and urgency of her family and boyfriend, she files an official complaint against David with the University. David is given the chance to save his job by apologizing and taking blame for his actions, but finds no remorse in the action and decides to leave the University. David temporarily stays with his daughter, Lucy, on an eastern farm in Cape. David learns Lucy’s female companion has recently left and that Lucy is a country woman alone working on a farm with her neighbor, Petrus. Petrus is a black man who was once Lucy’s employee but bought a piece of land from her so now he is a true landowner.
David worries for Lucy’s safety and has every right to do so especially after her farm is attacked. Three black men take all of Lucy’s belongings, set David on fire, and brutally rape Lucy. David is in shock after the attack and is insanely concerned with the fact that Lucy is in disbelief. She refuses to tell the police about the attack and wants to keep to herself. To recover, David continues to live on the farm and often helps out Bev Shaw who runs an animal clinic. He helps with the morbid task of putting down unwanted or very sick dogs. He feels a strange connection to the dead dogs, and goes to unmeasurable lengths to ensure that their bodies are disposed of in a meaningful way. David and Bev sleep together on a couple of occasions, even though Bev is married. David feels he is doing her a favor because of her unhappiness with her husband’s ability to show her intimacy. David eventually finds out that Lucy is pregnant and that one of her rapists is living next door with Petrus. Petrus is now an independent man and even offers to marry Lucy in order to keep her safe. Lucy knows that...

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