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Essay on IRP Notes Package: Allusion, Symbolism, and Motifs

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Allusion
Coetzee alludes often in his writing to literature, historical events and figures, classical mythology and pop culture. These allusions often hold a great deal of sub-textual information. The following is an analysis of two of the more significant allusions.
The youngest member of the trio of thieves that steal from the Luries and rape Lucy is named Pollux. This is likely an allusion to the Greek myth, Castor and Pollux. Castor and Pollux are half-brothers. Their myth involves in part the kidnapping and rape of the Leucippides, Phoebe and Hilaeira, who become pregnant as a result of the rapes. This aspect of the myth is very similar to the plotline of Disgrace as Lucy (note the phonetic similarity between Lucy and Leucippides)
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In this scenario, Teresa symbolizes Melanie. However, later on in the novel Lurie changes the premise of his show, making it instead about a “Teresa in middle age” (181). The description of this older Teresa as a “dumpy” woman with a “heavy bust” and “stocky trunk” is quite similar to the first description we get of Bev Shaw as a “dumpy, bustling little woman with black freckles, close-cropped, wiry hair, and no neck.” (72). As the change in Teresa’s character occurs after Bev and Lurie sleep together, the older Teresa likely symbolizes Bev Shaw.

Symbolism
Lurie’s relationship with Melanie symbolizes the relationship between colonists and Indigenous people. As I stated in my response to question 3, the relationship between Lurie and Melanie was exploitative as it involved one party benefitting as a result of the suffering of the other. This is also true of colonialism. The colonists benefit by exploiting the natural resources and Indigenous people of the land they are colonizing. When questioned by the member of the press, Lurie states that he was “enriched by the experience” (56) of being in a relationship with Melanie. The fact that Melanie pressed charges against him indicates that she does not feel “enriched” in a similar way. This again is reminiscent of the colonist/Indigenous relationship in that colonists are
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