Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee
Age of Iron Suffering Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
I would cry my cry to you if you were here. But you are not. Therefore it must be to Florence. Florence must be the one to suffer these moments when a veritable blast of fear goes out from me scorching the leaf on the bough. "It will be all right": these are the words I want to hear uttered. I want to be held to someone's bosom, to Florence's, to yours, to anyone's, and told that it will be all right." (2.31)
Another interesting facet of Mrs. Curren's suffering is the way she feels so utterly and totally alone. We can only imagine how horrifying it is to go through what she's going this without anyone to comfort her. Florence and Mrs. Curren aren't family; we doubt they even care about each other that much. Still, Mrs. Curren doesn't have that many options.
An old woman, sick and ugly, clawing on to what she has left. The living, impatient of long dyings; the dying, envious of the living. An unsavory spectacle: may it be over soon. (2.136)
Mrs. Curren isn't just aware of her suffering as it affects her; she's cognizant of how others view her death. She starts to realize that the dying don't really have a place in the world of the living.
With an uncertain air, the man in blue straddled the bodies again. What he should have done was to lift the dead weight of the other boy, who lay face down across Bheki. But he did not want to, nor did I want him to. There was something wrong, something unnatural in the way the boy lay. (2.184)
When Bheki and John get in their accident, we stop focusing solely on Mrs. Curren's suffering and become aware of others' suffering instead. This moment is interesting because it seems like Mrs. Curren is able to empathize with the pain that the boys experience. Do you think it's possible that she's able to put herself in their shoes because she has experienced so much pain herself?