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Age of Iron

Age of Iron


by J.M. Coetzee

Age of Iron Theme of The Home

You know that old saying, "a man's home is his castle"? Well, let's just say that when Age of Iron begins, Mrs. Curren definitely seems to take that adage to heart. To her, her house is her own personal refuge, which helps to explain why she's so freaked out when she discovers Vercueil camped out on her property. And Vercueil isn't the only one who starts squatting on her territory: Florence, Florence's kids, and Bheki's friend John all make themselves right at home there soon after. Mrs. Curren doesn't take kindly to this encroachment on her space; she seems to think that people are taking over her space as if she's already died. By the end of the novel, the tables turn and then turn back again: after Bheki dies, she's more than willing to let John stay there because he has nowhere else to go. Still, when the police come and raid her house, it feels even less like her own refuge than when it was crawling with unexpected visitors.

Questions About The Home

  1. Why do you think Mrs. Curren is initially so resistant to having other people staying at her house?
  2. Why do you think Mrs. Curren chooses to stay home instead of receiving treatment at the hospital?
  3. Why do you think Mrs. Curren eventually accepts Vercueil into her home?
  4. Who do you think will live in Mrs. Curren's house after she dies? Florence? Vercueil? Someone else? Justify your answer.

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Mrs. Curren's home is her only protection from the outside world.

Even Mrs. Curren's home is vulnerable to the outside world.

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