More Disgrace

March 20, 2007

On page 77, Lucy suggests that her father attempt to fill his time by assisting Bev Shaw in the animal clinic.  He eventually agrees, but when he does, he says this, “All right, I’ll do it.  But only as long as I don’t have to become a better person.  I am not prepared to be reformed.”  I think this goes back to the quote I mentioned from the beginning of the book that gives temperament as being one of the hardest parts of the body.  While David has had to move out to this area, he is not ready yet to have it change him.

On page 99 there is a depiction of David giving Lucy a hug after their incident, “When she does not come, he puts aside his blankets, stands up, and takes her in his arms.  In his embrace she is stiff as a pole, yielding nothing.”  The obvious comparison here goes back to what we have called the “rape/non-rape scene” between David and Melanie, “Not rape, not quite that, but undesired nevertheless, undesired to the core.” (page 25)  David experiences this feeling twice, but with Lucy it is more serious because it involves the rape of his daughter and not a seemingly uninterested sexual encounter with Melanie.

 A passage I found particularly interesting is on page 102 and involves Bill Shaw picking up David from the doctor: “Bill Shaw believes that if he, Bill Shaw, had been hit over the head and set on fire, then he, David Lurie, would have driven to the hospital and sat waiting, without so much as a newspaper to read, to fetch him home.  Bill Shaw believes that, because he and David Lurie once had a cup of tea together, David Lurie is his friend, and the two of them have obligations towards each other.”  Considering the negative thoughts David has about the Shaws, Bill still feels close enough to David to retrieve him from the doctor.  Or maybe it has nothing to do with David, Bill was instead doing it as a favor to Lucy.  I think David’s utter surprise that someone who he does not feel close to would simply perform a good deed is interesting.  I think even today people are surprised when someone is willing to go out of their way to help them, and they always feel there is a catch attached to this favor. 

I cannot figure out why David feels the need to do what he does with the bodies of the dogs from the animal clinic.  I don’t know if it’s out of guilt, and if so, from what? 

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2 Responses to “More Disgrace”

  1. annieeinna said

    Its really odd how so many different connections between rape/non-rape than acutal rape. It seems like everything in this book reflects another aspect of something else that goes on. David really “has his way” with certian women, but than Lucy gets taken advatange of. The rape things as well…David “kinda” raped Melanie, than Lucy gets raped.
    I am unsure about Davids connections with the dogs too. Its really odd.

  2. Marina said

    Hey Ryan,

    I like the connection you made to Lucy and Melanie and their relationship with David. Along with that I made the connection that what Coetzee is doing with the role of women in this novel is really interesting. After reading to the end of the novel I found myself feeling as though Lucy’s silence and holding back about her rape can really connect to Melanie’s rape/not rape incident with David in the sense that Lucy is letting those men mark her and take her over just like Melanie let David mark her. It is explicit in the novel how Melanie would turn away from David but at the same time help him undress her. She let him get away with it in the beginning just like Lucy let those men get away with raping her. I still believe, in some odd way, that Melanie wasn’t really the one that wanted to turn David in, but who really knows?! Just some thoughts!!

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