Psychoanalytic Criticism INSIDE A Post Apartheid Book English Literature Essay

Set in post-apartheid South Africa J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace relates the story of David Lurie, a middle-aged professor, who deals with his intimacy issues by having meaningless affairs which in the end lead to his forced resignation from the Complex University of Cape Town and his following exile to his daughter Lucy's smallholding in the rural municipality of Salem. As a result of the extreme change Lurie's repressed feelings towards women and ethnicity start to surface only to be suppressed and projected onto "guiltier men". By the means of psychoanalysis reinforced by the compare between Lurie's academic comfort zone and the extremely tough yet gratifying country life, to which his child Lucy belongs, I am going to endeavour to elucidate the development of David Lurie's character as well as his fear of intimacy and exactly how both have been damaged by the political environment of South Africa.

As a unaggressive member of the long dominating white society of South Africa Lurie does not purposely begrudge the inescapable recent political changes and in reality his mindful thoughts do not seem to be to linger on images such as race, as can be seen in his first meeting with Lucy's co-proprietor Petrus whom he vividly describes without a one mention of skin area colour (Coetzee 63-64). Nevertheless, as can be viewed by Lurie's reaction to the advice that he can work for Petrus and also to the thought of Lucy becoming Petrus' wife (Coetzee 202), it is obvious that he's not as free from prejudice as he'd like to believe. In addition, as Lurie himself places it: "The greater things change the more they stay the same" (Coetzee 62), i. e. while he previously not been removed from his secure educational environment where the old hierarchies remained much the same Lurie acquired no reason to openly fear or dislike nov white supremacy. Nevertheless, when he was challenged by the reversal of assignments in a dark-colored and white modern culture the repressed unconscious feeling of superiority emerged. Much like modern day South African politics and population Lurie is divided, therefore the undeniable fact that he represents Petrus so precisely without talking about something as uncomplicated as dark skin tone suggests a Freudian slide that uncovers his unconscious conflict that needed to be suppressed by the rupture of the apartheid plan.

This lack of self-insight will not only characterize Lurie's relationship with different ethnic teams but also the connections with all the women in his life. "His childhood was put in in a family group of women. As mothers, aunts, sisters dropped away, these were replaced in anticipated course by mistresses, wives, a daughter" (Coetzee 7). Lurie promises to be a "fan of women" (Coetzee 7) yet his fear of intimacy has ruined both of his marriages and has lead to varied affairs which he makes sure to end before the women get a chance to land in love or reject him first. Lurie's only recent permanent liaison was with a prostitute whom he fantasized about welcoming to his own house, a desire which he never satisfied since "he knows too much about himself to subject her to a morning hours after, when he will be chilly, surly, impatient to be only" (Coetzee 2). The irony in this failure to commit emotionally is the fact while Lurie professes to be filled up with passionate fire (Coetzee 166) also to identify with Wordsworth and Lord Byron he becomes repulsed by the intimate pleasure of his fans (Coetzee 9) and the most ardent love-making feels as though "the copulation of snakes: extended, absorbed somewhat dried, even at its most popular" (Coetzee 3).

Accordingly, Lurie's failing to connect at any personal level has not provided him with psychological fulfilment and interestingly enough he rates Oedipus on the subject affirming that people should "call no man happy until he is dead" (Coetzee 2). Although Lurie never openly confirms his reverence for his mother it is noticeable that it is her image that has held him from accepting women as associates rather than equipment. Removing his ideal girl, the Mother, has lead to a pathological concern with intimacy and the unresolved Oedipus complex caused Lurie's believe sexual relationships are intrinsically split from the higher feelings of interest, which relatively clarifies his detachment when seducing his unwilling pupil Melanie. His Id looks at gender as a simple need and reputation or slighter things, such as Melanie's thoughts are irrelevant until that are looking is satisfied. Symbolically, Melanie is looking at a picture of Lurie's mother when he offers her the best argument of the womanizer: "A woman's beauty will not belong to her alone. It really is part of the bounty she brings in to the world. She's a duty to talk about it" (Coetzee 16). Since she actually is not a Mom but merely a female her full contribution is not required when Lurie's urge to fuck her overcomes him which is not until after he has still left her that he just a bit perceives the offensiveness of his take action (Coetzee 25).

However, despite her huge importance, Lurie's mother is not really the only influential factor in his marriage with women. For an affluent person in the apartheid system male chauvinism is as innate as racial bigotry. As Caroline Flepp claims in her article Women under apartheid; 'a triple oppression

By adopting the key points of the patriarchal contemporary society, the apartheid system has accentuated the subjection of women. Some of the rights that they had in pre-colonial days and nights, like the right to work, which in rural areas consisted typically of gathering berries and working the domains, have been taken from them. In some regions, where it did not are present before, the White regulators have even legalized polygamy. In other parts they may have re-introduced corporal abuse (14).

However, like Lurie's racism his sexism is never completely on view but rather lurking below the top of his courteous, lovely and slightly aloof manner. In that way he also resembles the heart of South Africa itself where equality has been constitutionalized since 1996 (SAGI), an amazing achievement which nevertheless can't be entirely successful before millions who grew up believing usually will have previous away.

Lucy Lurie and her child belong to the generations who will effectuate the changes South Africa has truly gone through; for better or for worse. She is the daughter of your Dutch woman who seemingly has discontinued South Africa in the days of its independence. She represents Lurie's only wish of spiritual improvement since he could have the ability to connect with her due to the asexual nature of these romance. Lucy is touching the center of the land; she enjoys it and its people and allows them for what they are simply without grand ideals. However, he cannot embrace these features and needs that she were "simple, neater" (Coetzee 170) without noticing the contradictoriness of his words. When Lucy is violated Lurie is devastated by his incapability to help her while he fails to recognize the post-apartheid figure of the assault as well as the aching similarity between the effect of Lucy's rape and his exploit of Melanie. Whatever the simple fact that Lucy is older than Melanie she is his 'child' and "they [Lucy and other lesbians] are so vehement against rape" (Coetzee 105), i. e. as though heterosexual women were less delicate to intimate assault because of what Freud called 'penis envy'. The brutal cultural and intimate collision in Lucy's rape has nonetheless had one positive final result which is the kid she would usually not have had and gives her (and the audience) hope for a future reconciliation between all parties.

Fixing a time frame for the rupture of the government or the establishment of an constitution is a relatively straightforward matter, however, it is quite clear that shifts in paradigms and mentality will be more continuous and certainly do not happen per day. In the case of David Lurie it would probably be wisest to utilize his own words: "I suspect it is too later for me. I'm just a vintage lag serving out my sentence" (Coetzee 216). Up to he is met with his demons and pressed to overcome chauvinism and concern with intimacy the repression is a lot too strong. Nonetheless there still is present the nice that change will come as Lurie in his academic mode meditates on broadening his study of Victor Hugo (Coetzee 218) while letting go of Byron to be able to gain the virtues of grandfatherhood which would profit the unborn child a lot more than bogus ideals and romanticism.

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