An Evaluation of J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace

The book Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee has drawn wide readership and examination since its first publication. Set in the post-apartheid South Africa, the storyline revolves around the main identity David Lurie, a divorced 52-year-old professor who earns a living by educating communication programs at the Cape Technical School. The resounding issue in the novel is introduced right from the first paragraph where visitors observe Lurie's insatiable intimate desire for food. He "had affairs with the wives of fellow workers; he picked up tourists in bars on the waterfront or at the Club Italia; he slept with whores" (7). Lurie's romantic relationships thus surround women, many who wrap up in engaging in sexual activities with him. On this paper, the topics of arrogance, disgrace, and reconciliation are explored by reviewing Lurie's connections with the women in the book. Despite the portrayal of the female gender as items of erotic gratification, the characters Soraya, Desiree Isaacs, and Rosalind signify, to a reasonable extent, the rejection of male hegemony on erotic matters.

A critical evaluation into the life of David Lurie uncovers a character whose ideal flaw rests in the inability to control sexual drive. Visitors get an idea of the flaw in the first paragraph when Lurie is created as a divorced, 52-year-old man who, to his mind "has solved the challenge of sex somewhat well" (1). We also learn that the challenge that Lurie alludes to above has been resolved through his sexual relationship with Soraya, an exotic Muslim prostitute doing work for Discreet Escorts. Whereas both are committed to a ninety-minute sexual session every Thursday night Afternoon, their proposal is clearly without love and satisfaction, especially from the side of Soraya. Elizabeth Lowry, an editor at London Overview of Books, finds the partnership of Lurie and women as exploitative. She submits that, "both prostitute Soraya and Melanie-Melani are 'used' women and, significantly, they are both dark" (Lowry 15). Money is what drives Soraya to honor this appointment. Actually, the objectification and commoditization of Soraya is revealed from the knowledge that a single sexual session requires a length of time of ninety minutes and costs a total of R400 (Coetzee 2).

The marriage between Lurie and Soraya however ends in a state of disgrace for both individuals. Disgrace being truly a theme which underpins much of the story, Lurie first occasion of disgrace happens when he catches the look of Soraya walking with her two sons along a streets that he frequently walks. The look of Soraya and her two sons live a long-term impression in Lurie's mind that, in up to he would prefer to forget, "the two little kids become presences between them" (6). Evidently, the truth of Soraya double life leaves Lurie at circumstances of shame when he attempts to imagine what both sons and their daddy would do if indeed they discover what he does with Soraya. The feeling is even compounded by the fact that he himself has no son and it is divorced. Pity, regret, and dishonor cloud the brains of both these people. Lurie talks of "she [Soraya] changes herself into just another girl and him into yet another customer" (Coetzee 7). Additionally it is in this fact that Lurie involves terms that he could just be a subject in the prostitutes' gossip. McDonald (2007) puts this new actuality into point of view by submitting that "the illusion shattered [that is when Soraya eyes found that of Lurie] is not of her objectivity, but of his own subjectivity, as he becomes alert to how she perceives him (McDonald 20). For the very first time, he appears embarrassed of his years body as prostitute have a tendency to "shudder" over more aged clients (Coetzee 8).

Another theme that Coetzee reveals through the relationship of Lurie and women is that of arrogance. Arrogance requires an overbearing frame of mind directed to individuals who are perceived as inferior. This arrogance brings to light the hegemonic gender relationships between men and women. For example, after Soraya rejected Lurie's inclination to get back dominance over her, Lurie re-asserts his dominance when he asks rhetorical questions: "what should a predator expect when he intrudes into the vixen's nest, in to the home of her cubs?" (Coetzee 10). McDonald (2009) suggests that objectifying Soraya by using animal metaphors was a strategy employed by Lurie to reclaim dominance and expert (21). Despite the fact that the details surrounding their Lurie's relationship to Rosalind are scarce, we can gain a wind of Lurie's arrogance in the marriage set-up through the thoughts that run through his mind. For example, so that they can justify his sexual escapades with Soraya, he seems to claim that; who requires a wife, home or marriage when "ninety minutes weekly with a woman's company are enough to make him happy?" That is arrogance of the highest order especially to women who, in matrimony setup, have a tendency to be very devoted and submissive. Arrogance is further unveiled through Lurie's encounter with Desiree Isaacs. Even though he has frequented their house to make apology for sleeping with Melanie (a student from his school), one cannot help but question how again Lurie still views Desiree through lustful lenses. He for occasion identifies her as "the wonder" and the "desired one". He even imagines "each of them [Melanie and Desiree] in the same bed: an experience fit for a King" (164).

However, still through Lurie's marriage to Soraya, Desiree Isaacs, and Rosalind, the theme of reconciliation is explored as even male hegemony in gender relationships is rejected. For instance, Lurie's makes an effort to reconcile with Soraya by tracking her to her home. Soraya rejects this and subsequently demands [directions] Lurie to never phone her home again. Desiree on the other side finds it very hard to reconcile with an old man who got messed up with her sister. In approximately the family acquired discussed about Lurie and his planned visit, Desiree still considers that he's unwanted visitor. She just can't come into terms with the truth that her sister, Melanie, had slept with "this old man". The process of reconciliation between Isaacs, specifically women, is complicated by the gender sexuality that comes into play. We for occasion read of Lurie's apology when he, "with careful wedding ceremony he reaches his legs and touches his forehead to the ground" (Coetzee 173). This gesture however leaves the mom and Desiree unmoved. It can be argued that the rejection of the apology has more regarding the components of insincerity. Matching to J. M. Austerities (2016), it is argued that the "gesture neither transcends not negates the predicament of gendered sexuality" because, a few lines later, we see Lurie experiencing "again the existing leaps, the existing of desire" as he checks the eye of mother and princess (J. M. Austerities 160).

Nonetheless, Rosalind depicts a woman who have gained control over her life and is also inclined to reconcile with her partner but not automatically psychologically. She openly expresses distaste for Lurie's sexual escapades with Melanie. She says, "The whole lot is disgraceful from beginning to end. Disgraceful and vulgar too. And I'm not sorry for declaring so. " (45) Through Rosalind, we visit a woman who is not scared to operate against a man who got divorced her. However, we can also sense an element of Rosalind that is determined to reconcile their distinctions and become on civil conditions. For instance, she expresses matter over an article in the Argus reports article discussing Lurie. By telephoning and urging Lurie "to metal himself", there isa sense of a woman who is on the reconciliation quest.

In bottom line, the designs of arrogance, disgrace, and reconciliation are explored in light of gendered-sexual relationships between Lurie and characters Soraya, Desiree Isaacs, and Rosalind. Objectification and commoditization of women as sexual tools will be the way to obtain Lurie's arrogance. His persona eventually disgraces him when he becomes the things of self-shame and public ridicule. Due to Lurie's hegemonic views when he involves gender relations, the process of reconciliation is complicated to prospects who cannot describe or recognize his patterns.

Works Cited

Coetzee, J M. Disgrace. Penguin Posting Group, 2017. Internet source.

J. M. Coetzee's Austerities. NY. Routledge, 2016. Print

Lowry, Elizabeth. "Such as a dog. " London Review of Books 14 (1999): 12-14.

McDonald, William E. Encountering Disgrace: Reading and Coaching Coetzee's Book. Rochester, N. Y: Camden House, 2009. Printing.

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