Disgrace by J.M Coetzee

1222 WordsFeb 17, 20185 Pages
Disgrace as a novel explores colonialism and its aftermath by approaching various issues and themes, and some major ones are of body politics and the differences in experiences of the ‘post-colonizer’ and ‘post-colonized’. In this paper I will be looking at prospective analogies; the female body being a territory for colonial and post-colonial conquest and also the protagonist Lurie himself being symbolic of the colonial enterprise whose power exists in residual. Beginning with the issue of body, there are two major characters who despite being constructed differently in different spaces experience patriarchal and colonial power equations. Melanie is introduced to us in the first half of the text through the gaze of Lurie. She is described as both exotic and striking. His pursuit is more than just a sexual endeavor, the powerlessness and loss of control over women had left him in an “anxious flurry of promiscuity” (Coetzee, Disgrace 19). She is rather easily coaxed into an intercourse and “since David’s voice controls the narrative, his interpretation of Melanie’s behavior should be suspect.” (Giles 13) It is here when the parallel between gender relations and relationship between the colonizers and colonized can be observed. Just as incidents were documented by the narratives of colonizers, voice of the natives were either presented as complacent or mute. David’s opinion of women in the earlier parts of the novel (some places later as well) is as objectifying and
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