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Age of Iron
Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee

Age of Iron Analysis

Literary Devices in Age of Iron

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Things seem like they'd be bad enough in Age of Iron even without throwing a terminal disease into the mix, wouldn't you say? So what's up with the fact that Mrs. Curren has to be dying from cancer...

Setting

Age of Iron, like many of J.M. Coetzee's other novels, takes place in his native South Africa. For many years (we're talking 50), South Africa was ruled under a system of racial segregation called...

Narrator Point of View

Mrs. Curren, an elderly woman dying of cancer, tells her story in the first person. What's really cool about the narrative technique in Age of Iron is that she's not just yammering the story to an...

Genre

J.M. Coetzee is known for writing some pretty highbrow fiction, and Age of Iron stands as a case in point. While this novel definitely hooks you and takes you on an incredible ride, it is by no mea...

Tone

One aspect of Age of Iron's tone that really stands out is how intimate it feels. The entire novel is written as a long, extended letter from the narrator, Mrs. Curren, to her long-lost daughter....

Writing Style

Age of Iron is a great example of an epistolary novel, which is one that's written in the form of a letter from one person to another. What sets Age of Iron apart is that the letter we're reading d...

What's Up With the Title?

On a literal level, the Iron Age was a prehistoric time during which tools and other implements were made out of iron – but that doesn't really seem to be what we're dealing with here. Rather, th...

What's Up With the Ending?

OK, let's quickly recap what happens as the novel winds down to a close. Bheki is killed out in Gugulethu; a gang of officers shoots John (or Johannes, or whatever his "real" name happens to be) to...

Tough-o-Meter

J.M. Coetzee is a very learned man – this guy has a Ph.D. in English, so it goes without saying that a whole lot of scholarly references pop up in his writing. Age of Iron is chock-full of refer...

Plot Analysis

Mrs. Curren finds out that her cancer is incurable; the very same day, a homeless man starts camping out on her property.The novel begins with our protagonist, Mrs. Curren, finding herself at the b...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Mrs. Curren finds out that her cancer is terminal. That very same day, she discovers that a homeless man (Vercueil) is camped out on her property.Things are definitely out of whack for Mrs. Curren....

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Mrs. Curren finds out that she's going to die of cancer. That very same day, she discovers that a homeless man has camped out on her property.Mrs. Curren goes to Gugulethu with Florence; they disco...

Trivia

J.M. Coetzee has won some of the most prestigious literary awards in the world – he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003, and he also won the Booker Prize twice: once in 1983 for his no...

Steaminess Rating

Age of Iron isn't the sexiest book ever, folks. Let's consider the following line: "Sixteen years since I shared a bed with a man or boy. Sixteen years alone. Does that surprise you?" (3.203). Thi...

Allusions

Johann Sebastian Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier (1.126)Frederic Chopin, Composer (1.126)Johannes Brahms, Composer (1.126)Johann Sebastian Bach, The Art of Fugue (1.134)Johann Sebastian Bach,...

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