Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee
Age of Iron Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
To whom this writing then? The answer: to you but not you; to me; to you in me. (1.13)
Mrs. Curren claims to be writing to her daughter, but we can tell from the beginning that it's not entirely clear whether or not she expects her daughter to ever read her letters. It seems as though she's writing as much for her own sake as for her daughter's sake.
Six pages already, and all about a man you have never met and never will. Why do I write about him? Because he is and is not I. Because in the look he gives me I see myself in a way that can be written. Otherwise what would this writing be but a kind of moaning, now high, now low? When I write about him I write about myself. When I write about his dog I write about myself; when I write about the house I write about myself. (1.28)
Throughout the novel, Mrs. Curren has a lot to say about the act of writing. It's interesting that she draws attention to the fact that she can choose what to write about and what not to write about. We get the vibe that there might, in fact, be details that she finds more important than others, as well as details she simply chooses to leave out.
Man, house, dog: no matter what the word, through it I stretch out a hand to you. In another world I would not need words. I would appear on your doorstep. "I have come for a visit," I would say, and that would be the end of words: I would embrace you and be embraced. But in this world, in this time, I must reach out to you in words. So day by day I render myself into words and pack the words into the page like sweets: like sweets for my daughter, for her birthday, for the day of her birth. Words out of my body, drops of myself, for her to unpack in her own time, to take in, to suck to absorb. (1.28)
Written words don't just communicate stories; they also create ties between the reader and the writer.