Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee
Age of Iron Violence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
As the second boy, the friend, neared him, Vercueil struck out and hit him on the neck with the flat of his hand. The boy drew in his breath with a hiss of surprise: even from the balcony I heard it. He struck back at Vercueil, who stumbled and nearly fell. (2.68)
Mrs. Curren isn't immune to outside violence anymore; it can literally happen in her own backyard.
Vercueil was on the ground; they were kicking him; Bheki took out the belt from his trousers and began to lash him. "Florence!" I shouted. "Stop them!" Vercueil put his hands over his face to protect himself. The dog made a leap at Bheki; Bheki knocked it backward and went on flailing Vercueil with his belt. (2.68)
Whoa – it seems like almost out of nowhere, a humdrum day at Mrs. Curren's house has turned into a scene of unabashed hatred and violence.
"They kick and beat a man because he drinks. They set people on fire and laugh while they burn to death. How will they treat their own children?" (2.68)
Mrs. Curren can't believe what she just saw in her own backyard – how could Bheki lash out so violently towards Vercueil? She worries about the implications this has for the future. If kids learn that unpremeditated violence is OK, they're going to set a terrible example for future generations. In fact, how will they even manage to be parents?