Sexual disgrace

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SpringerPlus volume 2Article : Cite this article. Metrics details. South Africa going to second democratic elections saw two path-breaking works exploring disgraceful crimes and emotional commotions in an intriguing era. One is J.

The Protagonists of both the works are middle-aged caught in the noose of Eros and are seen resisting the change of tides and reed to the fateful happenings in store for them. The novel portrays the transitional apprehensions of the whites, the power-wielders of the yester- years to adapt to the syndrome of power withdrawal and deprivation. The story depicts individual self-denigration in a changed political environment dictating a code of moral uprightness and ethics. The redeeming consolation of comic, grotesque and lunatic overtures that Beckett ingeniously provides in his fiction do not find a place in Coetzee.

Instead Coetzee forces his readers to look into ineluctable gaps that mark the narration. In the late s, Coetzee is at work on another compelling novel set in South Africa. The struggle against the repressive, racist state is finally over, apartheid is a discredited policy of the past, and democratic government has finally been established. The age of iron is no more. The new novel, Disgracepublished incertainly suggests that the ten or twelve years that have passed since Mrs. A time of rampant crime, inefficient police services, middle-classes barricaded into their fortress-homes: have we followed Mrs.

Inventing a new mode of narrative and discovering a new syntax every time, Coetzee in the succeeding novel, The Master of Petersburg peers into the abyss of revolution, chooses the plunge into writing, and mocks the romantic-apocalyptic connotations conventionally associated sexual disgrace both those choices.

Disgrace b has a clear thematic connection as Coetzee explores in The Master of Petersburgthe protagonist, learning to love by humbling himself and by coming to terms with violence and death. The novel also presents the national public spectacle of sexual disgrace, confession, and forgiveness that was the Truth and Reconciliation Commissionproblematizing notions of morality and engaging with Dostoevskyan skepticism. The struggle against the repressive, racist state is finally over as apartheid is a debris heaped upon which the democratic government has been established.

It explores the conflict between desire and love, and public disgrace and individual grace. It portrays the transitional apprehensions of the whites, the power-wielders of the sexual disgrace years to adapt to the syndrome of power withdrawal and deprivation.

It delineates the tragic outcomes of sexual deviance enslaved by sensual indulgences and imposing sexual brutality as an invincible weapon for taking control of a hapless woman who resolves to make her own life thereby enlivening the relations and confrontations of the communities dictated by history. Disgracing himself through an affair with a female student, Melanie Issacs, Lurie loses his job and finds himself adrift in a society variously hostile, inscrutable and unpredictable South Africa.

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Lurie is broadly representative of an older social order and the officially defunct South Africa of Afrikaner dominance, statutory racial oppression and the uneasy pleasures of the white sexual disgrace. His uxorious but uncommitted feelings for Soraya are disturbed, when he sees her shopping in town with her sons.

The unpredictably of the quotidian breaks into their enclave and she refuses to see him again. His amorous powers suddenly departed, he albeit stalks the enigmatic Melanie and their affair further perturbs his sexual confidence. Expelled from the University after Melanie files a complaint against him, Lurie finds his assumptions about sex — as controllable and governed basically by the principles of the hunt — challenged. After the seduction of Melanie has come to an unholy end, Lurie, now the unceremonious figure of an official harassment enquiry dines with his former wife.

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She curtly tells David. No sympathy, no mercy, not in his day and days. Perhaps these lines echo the process of dehumanization and the demands of rationalization. Coetzee articulates the change of times through sexuality which becomes a kind of flexible but ambiguous trope for the wider historical changes he registers. Forced to re from the university, Lurie seeks refuge with his daughter Lucy on a smallholding in the Eastern Province, where she grows flowers and vegetables for the market in nearby Grahmstown and runs dog kennels.

The times reflect not just those who are bare of privileges but who in true sense experience the deprivation as such. Lurie is resistant to these demands since he is averse to the newly-asserted institutional rights and newly-emergent collective mores that relegate him to submission.

This shift is not a consequence of the apartheid but the dynamics happening tossed in the global milieu. The disciplinary committee charged with punishing Lurie for his sexual affair requires him to publicly concede in a confessional statement that triggers polarizing resonances. In lieu sexual disgrace his earlier disparagement of legal redress, after becoming the object of crime, Lurie seeks not only retribution but also the symbolic verification offered by the law. Much of the early section of the novel re like a satire that is unlikely of Sexual disgrace poised to claim relevance with his situation as Professor of Literature in the University of Cape Town.

It initially appears as a retreat from the complexities of life in post-colonial South Africa. Though separated from the increasingly urban life of contemporary South Africa, the countryside forms a theoretical blank slate upon which a new culture is to be formed. It gets transformed when one day the strip of land is attacked by two men and a boy, all black. They shot down the dogs in the kennels, burnt Lurie and stole his car and the worst of all Lucy is gang-raped.

This event turns the novel more solemn and darker. A risk that one owns of possessing anything. Not enough to go around, not enough cars, shoes, cigarettes. Too many people, too few things. What there is must go into circulation, so that everyone can have a chance to be happy for a day…. That is how one must see life in this country: in its schematic aspect. Otherwise one would go mad. Cars, shoes; women too. There must be some niche in the system for women and what happens to sexual disgrace.

Save for a patch over one ear, he seems to have no hair, his whole scalp is tender. Everything is tender, Everything is burned. Burned, burnt The three intruders being black and shown in negative light has become the object of controversy. Lurie is a typical white South African that grew up with apartheid — he was just born after three years after Nationalist Government won power. He possesses the liberal views claiming of his intellectual allegiance to the English speaking white population.

He is restless to bring the culprits to law falling oblivious to his own sexual crime. Lucy, in contrast has a different attitude not entertaining any initiative to bring charges against the man who molested her. She says. What happened to me is purely private matter.

In another time, in another place it might be held to be a public matter. But in this place, at this time, it is not. It is sexual disgrace business, mine alone. Lurie, who views Petrus as the Other suddenly, is moved by the change that happens in Lucy to whom he has been a loving and attentive father. Lucy wants a new shelter, a new accommodation that can guard her.

Lurie cannot digest the situation, he becomes helpless and just recalls the old days. In the old days one could have it out with Petrus. Petrus know it, and he knows it, and Petrus Knows that he knows it. The question of race getting faded away by the dynamics of human relations is so inconsistent and unreliable. Strange to the political triggers of South Africa, the changed times do not reflect the huge strides of technological advancement of the new era but portrays the dark story sliding into fathomless atavism.

Lurie, in the grip of inability to control the situation treats the attack as inevitable, the result of a deterministic historical process over which individual human beings can possess no control. Even though the post-historical mood that Coetzee utilizes negates such a sense of history right from the beginning, Lucy thinking of the bad memory tells. It was so personal. It was done with such personal hatred…. I had never set eyes on them. It was history speaking through them…. A history of wrong. Think of it that way, if it helps. Lurie is struck by the violence unleashed with so much of disgusting hatred.

He cannot simply justify that history revisits with retaliating vengeance, an outcome of European colonialism in Africa. He is hapless as he assumes himself to be in a savagious place haunted by bloody cannibals besieging his fortunes. He says. Italian and French will not save him here in darkest Sexual disgrace.

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He is helpless, an Aunt Sally, a figure from a cartoon, a missionary in cassock and topi waiting with clasped hands and up cast eyes while the savages jaw away in their own lingo preparatory to plunging him into their boiling cauldron.

Mission work: what has it left behind, that huge enterprise of upliftment? Nothing that he sexual disgrace see. The change for Lurie is intangible as he is bogged down by the stepping up of violence and his perplexity at the religious zeal of the missionaries drawing bland blankness of emotional transformations. Lurie suspects Petrus as an accomplice in crime to evacuate Lucy from the land she owns. To realize this plan he resorts to the endemic violence characteristic of South Africa, a resort to the genre of tribal foundations of African life.

He ple. Close down the kennels. Do it at once. Lock up the house, pay Petrus to guard it. Take a break for six months or a year until things have improved in this country. The emotional distance of being a South African is perceptible in Lurie which stands no case for Lucy as she denies. Lucy is firm in staying back and she never estranged herself from the identity of being a white and a South African.

Lucy tells her father. Petrus is not offering me a church wedding followed by a honeymoon on the wild coast. He is offering an alliance, a deal. I contribute the land, in return for which I am allowed to creep under his wing. Otherwise, he wants to remind me.

I am without protection, I am fair game. More and more she has begun to look like one of those women who shuffle around the corridors of nursing homes whispering to themselves. Why should Petrus bother to negotiate? She cannot last: leave her alone and in due course she will fall like rotten fruit. Lucy resolving to marry Petrus shows the drastic assimilative moves of the power structures of South Africa whose identity is no longer immune to the racial code but sheerly exists in a state of true hybridity alongside a plethora of post-apartheid identities.

The utterances of Romanticism by J. Coetzee are really intriguing and engaging since they point to deeper implications of their presence in the text. The Ethical and political ramifications of early half of nineteenth century Romanticism cannot just be relegated to mere sophisticated metropolitanism.

The South African context is attributed the ideal parallels steamed out by Romanticism throwing challenges sexual disgrace the conventional odds and conservative pretexts, characteristic of the troubled decodes of early 19th century Europe. Romanticism contested the much prompted atomistic tendencies augmented by industrial revolution with its coincidental destruction of the planet, the revival of humaneness is once again given a fresh lease by Coetzee allowing the growth of empathy and sexual disgrace sensitive to the needs of both humans and animals.

These Romantic factors draw attention of many well known critics. Coetzee brings the sexual disgrace contrasting poets together from the High Romantic period negotiating the difficulties underlying human relations of the contemporary world.

Coetzee deftly handles the Romantic interventions of Wordsworth and Byron that spell out dichotomies that affect the structure of the novel. The novel, Disgrace opens up in Cape Town and moves to a farm near Salem, a shift from the urban to the rural. Devil plays the centre of all these tracts. Lurie plans of writing an opulent Gluck-like opera, Byron in Italy, which suggests Romantic eroticism through notorious seduction.

Lurie is concerned with his waning sexual passion and his inconsequential interrogation of Melanie is deeply a Byronic concern. Byron created works like Cain, Mazeppa, Don Juan the heroes of which are autobiographically revealing. Sexual passion is too important to Byron which is not the case with father. Though the heart be still as loving and the moon be still as bright.

Sexual disgrace

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