Expiation and the Reconciliation Process: J M Coetzee’s Disgrace as a National Allegory

  • Kavya Rajeev Assistant Professor of English, National Defence Academy, Pune, India.


Fredric Jameson's essay, "Third-World Literature in an Era of Multinational Capitalism," declares that unlike the literatures of the First World, Third World literatures are necessarily national allegories. A dark depiction of transitional tremors in post-apartheid South Africa and the idea of the nation and the national consciousness that seeps into the lives of private individuals is the crux of J.M Coetzee’s Disgrace. The paper attempts an analysis of Disgrace and the inextricability of the categories of race, gender and class in the ruins of a colonial apartheid state. The novel explores the life of a 52 year old adjunct professor David Lurie who loses his job because of his sexual predatory nature. He sets off to live with his Lesbian daughter Lucy and the rest of the novel traces the aftermath of the sexual violation of Lucy and its implications. The paper will explore along the lines of the national allegory and what David Attwell and Barbara Harlow had called the “the refashioning of identities caught between the stasis and the change” and also how the feminine body becomes the site of contention of power in the novel. The novel demonstrates that rape, be it Melanie’s or Lucy’s, is not basically a gendered crime, it is also complicated by considerations of race or class and “a deeply discursive phenomenon whose material consequences are constituted by the profoundly racialized and class-based discourses that give it meaning”(Mardorossian). Keywords: allegory, apartheid, Coetzee, nation, violence

How to Cite
RAJEEV, Kavya. Expiation and the Reconciliation Process: J M Coetzee’s Disgrace as a National Allegory. IJELLH (International Journal of English Language, Literature in Humanities), [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 9, feb. 2018. ISSN 2321-7065. Available at: <http://ijellh.com/OJS/index.php/OJS/article/view/3146>. Date accessed: 18 mar. 2018.