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Age of Iron

Age of Iron


by J.M. Coetzee

Mrs. Curren's Daughter

Character Analysis

Mrs. Curren's daughter (a.k.a. "you" – bet you weren't expecting to be a character in this novel!) is one of the most interesting characters in Age of Iron. She's also the most notably absent figure. At times, we sort of feel like we stand in for her because we read the letters that Mrs. Curren directs toward her (calling her "you"). Other times, especially when Mrs. Curren talks to Vercueil about her family, we sort of examine her daughter from a distance. So what's her (your) deal? Well, Mrs. Curren's daughter was pretty fed up with the state of affairs in South Africa and decided to move to the United States, where she got married and had a couple of kids. It doesn't look like she's coming back any time soon, either.

Mrs. Curren's relationship with her daughter feels pretty fraught. On one hand, Mrs. Curren's daughter is her closest living relative. On the other hand, Mrs. Curren feels totally abandoned by her and doesn't see how they can even say that they're close anymore. The intimacy of Mrs. Curren's letters makes us feel like we know her daughter pretty well, but on the other hand, sometimes she feels pretty inaccessible.