Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee
Age of Iron Rules and Order Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I hear you and your friend have been sleeping in my car. Why didn't you ask my permission?"
Silence fell. Bheki did not look up. Florence went on cutting bread.
"Why didn't you ask my permission? Answer me!" (2.162-164)
Here we see Mrs. Curren running up against the sort of disrespect for adults that she's been talking about all along. She sees the world as an ordered place in which kids need permission from adults and there are certain rules that everyone needs to follow in general. Bheki doesn't seem to agree.
He smiled a smile not without charm, relishing this chance to lecture me, to tell me about real life. I, the old woman who lived in a shoe, who had no children and didn't know what to do. "It is true," he said. "Listen and you will hear." (2.233)
Bheki finds small ways to topple over the established order of things, too: he shows Mrs. Curren that he understands the way the world works in ways that she can't, and he has no problem telling her about it.
"Why did you lend him the pistol?"
"To defend himself."
"To defend himself against who, Mrs. Curren?"
"To defend himself against attack."
"And what kind of pistol was it, Mrs. Curren? Can you show me the license for it?"
"I know nothing about kinds of pistol. I have had it for a long time, from before all this fuss about licenses."
"Are you sure you gave it to him? You know this is a chargeable offense we are talking about." (3.721-727)
Even though she spends a long time trying to fight against the disorder she sees around her, Mrs. Curren starts fighting on the side of the people she'd been trying to reform. She recognizes that the political system in place is corrupt and thus has no problem making the officers' duties difficult for them.