by J.M. Coetzee
Disgrace Contrasting Regions Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
He speaks Italian, he speaks French, but Italian and French will not save him here in darkest Africa. (11.90)
Back when David was watching soccer, his inability to understand Sotho and Xhosa merely interfered with his ability to be entertained. Now, during the attack, he cannot understand what the intruders are saying. For all of his education and prowess in European languages, he is left without the tools to figure out what's going to happen to him next.
"Wake up, David. This is the country. This is Africa." (15.15)
Think carefully about what Lucy is saying when she says "this is Africa." David is from Johannesburg, and he has lived for many years in Cape Town – doesn't that mean anything? From Lucy's perspective, not a chance. Johannesburg and Cape Town are the two largest cities in South Africa; they are modern, bustling, and unfamiliar with the kinds of problems that face people out in the country. In Lucy's opinion, the country is the real Africa.
Country ways – that is what Lucy calls this kind of thing. He has other words: indifference, hardheartedness. If the country can pass judgment on the city, then the city can pass judgment on the country too. (15.30)
In David's eyes, the country isn't as down-to-earth as it claims to be. Cities are generally portrayed as being the more ruthless, unfeeling setting, but out here on the Eastern Cape, David sees that the country can be subject to the same judgments.