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Age of Iron

Age of Iron

by J.M. Coetzee

Family Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

How I longed for you to be here, to hold me, comfort me! I begin to understand the true meaning of the embrace. We embrace to be embraced. We embrace our children to be folded in the arms of the future, to pass ourselves on beyond death, to be transported. That is how it was when I embraced you, always. We bear children in order to be mothered by them. (1.10)

Sometimes parents need their kids as much as kids need their parents.

Quote #2

Home truths, a mother's truth: from now to the end that is all you will hear from me. So: how I longed for you! How I longed to be able to go upstairs to you, to sit on your bed, run my fingers through your hair, whisper in your ear as I did on school mornings, "Time to get up!" And then, when you turned over, your body blood-warm, your breath milky, to take you in my arms in what we called "giving Mommy a big hug," the secret meaning of which, the meaning never spoken, was that Mommy should not be sad, for she would not die but live on in you. (1.10)

Some of Mrs. Curren's happiest memories revolve around her experience as a mother. Again, we see how parents can derive comfort from their children. Mrs. Curren feels as though her daughter's existence is some sort of reassurance that even though she (Mrs. Curren) is dying physically, she'll live on in her daughter.

Quote #3

"I have a woman who helps with the housework," I said. "She is away till the end of the month, visiting her people.  Do you have people?"

A curious expression: to have people. Do I have people? Are you my people? I think not. Perhaps only Florence qualifies to have people. (1.39-40)

Here we see family depicted not just as a group of people that you're related to, but moreover a group that you belong to. Mrs. Curren and Vercueil, in this instance, seem to be similar in that neither one seems to belong to anyone else.

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