IRP Notes Package

analytical Essay
1657 words
1657 words

Disgrace is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a “loss of reputation or respect as the result of a dishonourable action”. The word Disgrace has two subtly different meanings- it can either be used as a noun or a verb. A person can be in disgrace (noun) or person can disgrace themselves or others (verb). Either way it implies a dishonourable event occurred that casts a shadow over a person or a group of people. A dictionary definition cannot truly convey what the meaning of ‘disgrace’ is. As with many words in the English language, ‘disgrace’ has a highly elusive nature. This is caused in part by the negative connotations associated with it and, as a result, the subtle nuances that it evokes when used. In the context of the first 50 pages the title could refer to the act and aftermath of the affair that takes place between David Lurie and Melanie Isaacs. In fact, Lurie’s ex-wife says that the event “is disgraceful from beginning to end. Disgraceful and vulgar too.” (45). Allow me to refer back to the definition of disgrace as a “loss of reputation or respect as the result of a dishonourable action”. We see each aspect of the definition in this event. It has indeed brought Lurie a loss of respect and reputation. Melanie loses her respect for him (37), students stop attending his class, and colleagues act cold to him (42). This affair eventually leads him to lose his job. The title could also refer the state Lurie is living in- the state of growing old and still pursuing younger women. Coetzee suggests in the very first chapter that “…ageing is not a graceful business,” (9). After having disappointing sex with a colleague, Lurie remarks that castrating himself would be “an ugly sight, but no more ugly, from a certai... ... middle of paper ... ...up rape culture. Another jarring quote from Lurie occurs when he is trying to seduce Melanie for the first time. He claims that “’… a woman’s beauty does not belong to her alone… She has a duty to share it.’” (16) This idea that a woman has a “duty to share” her beauty with men is another concept reminiscent of rape culture. It’s no great mystery why my peers and I couldn’t immediately identify the reason that Melanie stayed silent for so long. We students, living in Canada, aren’t as exposed to rape culture as much as those living in countries such as South Africa and India where that ideology permeates every institution.1 1It is interesting to note that many countries where rape is endemic were at one point colonized. I wonder if there is a correlation between being a country being colonized and a country adapting a nonchalant attitude to sexual assault.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that apartheid in south africa occurred between 1948 and 1994. the population was racially segregated as a part of the active government, the national party.
  • Describes how a student uprising was mobilized when high school students left their classes to march peacefully across soweto. the peaceful march was met by heavily armed government forces who opened fire on the crowd.
  • Explains that lord byron was a british poet born in 1766. he is widely recognized for his writing as well as his promiscuous tendencies which raised many eyebrows at the time he was alive.
  • Analyzes how disgrace is defined by the oxford dictionary as a loss of reputation or respect as the result of dishonourable action.
  • Explains that the african national congress has been in power since the apartheid ended in 1994. it is in favour of decreasing the gap between the poor and the rich that arose from colonialism.
  • Explains that the initial situation of unrest or conflict in any novel can be defined as the situation that sets up the events of the novel and puts them in action.
  • Analyzes how a relationship that crosses "power relations with sexual relations" is dangerous because it could easily lead to exploitation of the party with less power.
  • Analyzes how melanie isaacs was not engaging in sexual advances voluntarily, and that she was being pressured and sometimes forced into it. the argument that if she reported lurie, he would lose his authority in that matter.
  • Proposes that an understanding of rape culture could help a reader understand melanie's actions.
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