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Disgrace: Parent-Child Relationships

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Family is often a common theme that is shared across many of J.M Coetzee novels. Family members are usually distant to each other or the relationships between parents and children do not succeed in a conventional way. When Coetzee allows for members to engage in relationships with one another they are either “strained” or tainted by “violence” (Splendore 148). This is especially true in his novel Disgrace. In Disgrace David Lurie, an English professor, is arguably forced to resign from his position at the University, because of this Lurie moves to his daughters’ farm in Eastern Cape. The pair appears to have a normal relationship most of the time, but there is some obvious discomfort. As time progresses the relationship begins to improve, only to be ruined by an attack. Lurie is locked up, beaten and set on fire, where Lucy, his daughter, is gang raped and left with a pregnancy. It is at this point that their relationship begins to crumble. Although Lurie loves his daughter it is his failed attempts to understand her situation and his eagerness to push her in the right direction that lead to a colder, more distant relationship.

Lurie’s displays of love towards Lucy are undeniable. From the attack on Lurie shows overwhelming amounts of love for Lucy. This is mostly apparent during the attack, where Lurie very seldom shows any concern for his own well-being, but shows enormous amounts for Lucy’s, even when his own life is in jeopardy. As soon as Lurie regains consciousness, and realizes that he has been locked in the bathroom he begins to worry about “his child in the hands of strangers” and that “whatever is happening to her will be set in stone” (Coetzee 94). With these thoughts in mind Lurie attempts to escape by kic...

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...e end of the novel Lucy and Lurie have grown so far apart that they rarely speak or spend any time together, this is all a result of the problems that Lurie’s arrogance to her situation.

Works Cited

Coetzee, J.M. Disgrace . New York: Penguin Books, 2000. Print.

Dooley, Gillian. J. M. Coetzee and the power of narrative . Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2010. Print.

Kossew, Sue. "The Politics of Shame and Redemption in J.M Coetzee's Disgrace." Research in African Literatures 34.2 (2003): 155 162. Project Muse . Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

McDonald, Bill. Encountering disgrace: reading and teaching Coetzee's novel. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2009. Print.

Splendore, Paola . ""No more mothers and father": The Family Sib-Text in J.M Coetzee's Novels." Journal of Commonwealth Literature 38.3 (2003): 148-161. The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Web. 26 Oct. 2010
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