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Age of Iron

Age of Iron

by J.M. Coetzee

Race Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Yes, I did say that, and it is true. But who made them so cruel? It is the whites who made them so cruel! Yes!" [Florence] breathed deeply, passionately. (2.96)

Florence acknowledges that kids these days have become cruel, but it's not entirely their fault – it's the whites of South Africa who have made them that way. This moment shows us the deep racial divides that pervade the whole country.

Quote #2

"You say, 'This is not my child, this is the white man's child, this is the monster made by the white man.' Is that all you can say? Are you going to blame them on the whites and turn your back?" (2.98)

Mrs. Curren tries to play devil's advocate to Florence by suggesting that she can't merely blame the whites and leave it at that; she has to do something about the terrible things she sees happening around her. Still, do you think it's possible that, as a white woman, Mrs. Curren feels put off by the way that Florence blames whites as an entire race?

Quote #3

Did we not have Voortrekkers, generation after generation of Voortrekkers, grim-faced, tight-lipped Afrikaner children, marching, singing their patriotic hymns, saluting their flag, vowing to die for their fatherland? Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe. Are there not still white zealots preaching the old regime of discipline, work, obedience, self-sacrifice, a regime of death, to children some too young to tie their own shoelaces? What a nightmare from beginning to end! (2.101)

Mrs. Curren thinks about the racial divide that runs through South African history. She sees a legacy of white supremacy and hatred not only in the past, but also in the future.

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