Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee
Age of Iron Principles Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"My daughter will not come back till things have changed here. She has made a vow. She will not come back to South Africa as you and she and I know it. She will certainly not apply to – what can I call them? – those people for permission to come. She will come back when they are hanging by their heels from the lampposts, she says. She will come back then to throw stones at their bodies and dance in the streets." (2.281)
Mrs. Curren isn't the only one who lives by a particular set of principles; her daughter does, too. The younger Curren leaves South Africa because she can't stand being a part of the horrors going on around her. She says she won't come back until things have changed, and she sticks to her guns.
For your mother, who is not here, I said within myself. Aloud I said: "Be slow to judge."
Be slow to judge: what did I mean? If I did not know, who else could be expected to? Certainly not he. (2.325-326)
Mrs. Curren gives John a principle to live by, even if she's not entirely sure what she means by it.
"I have no answer," I said. "It is terrible."
"It is not just terrible," he said, "it is a crime. When you see a crime being committed in front of your eyes, what do you say? Do you say, 'I have seen enough, I didn't come to see sights, I want to go home'?" (3.112-113)
Mrs. Curren seems to be the character with the most rigid principles throughout much of the novel, so it's interesting here when Mr. Thabane beats her at her own game.