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Age of Iron

Age of Iron

by J.M. Coetzee

Principles Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"He is not a rubbish person," I said, lowering my voice, speaking to Florence alone. "There are no rubbish people. We are all people together." (2.83)

Mrs. Curren may not think highly of Vercueil, but she makes it clear to Florence that she thinks that he's just as good as the next person. Still, do you think Mrs. Curren lets this principle stand for all people, or do you think she defends Vercueil because she and he have already established some kind of connection at this point?

Quote #2

"And where did he sleep?"

Florence drew herself up. "In the garage. Bheki and he slept in the garage."

"But how did they get into the garage?"

"They opened the window."

"Can't they ask me before they do something like that?" (2.108-112)

Mrs. Curren lives by some pretty established principles of how people should behave. One principle she seems to invoke here is that you can't just do whatever you want when you're someone's guest – you have to ask permission, at least. But does she apply this principle in all cases? As usual, she seems to make exceptions for Vercueil.

Quote #3

In my day, I thought, policemen spoke respectfully to ladies. In my day children did not set fire to schools. In my day: a phrase one came across in this day only in letters to the editor. Old men and women, trembling with just fury, taking up the pen, weapon of last resort. In my day, now over; in my life, now past. (2.121)

In the world Mrs. Curren once knew, there were certain principles that guided everyone's behavior, one of which was that a person needs to treat ladies with respect. She sees that principle undermined right before her very eyes now.

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