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by J.M. Coetzee

Disgrace Family Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

He himself has no son. His childhood was spent in a family of women. As his mother, aunts, sisters fell away, they were replaced in due course by mistresses, wives, a daughter. The company of women made of him a lover of women and, to an extent, a womanizer. (1.34)

Interestingly, being raised in the company of women hasn't done much to help David understand them. Sure, being constantly surrounded by women has made David love them, but rather than making him a feminist, he's gravitated towards the opposite pole.

Quote #2

He sits down on the bed, draws her to him. In his arms she begins to sob miserably. Despite all, he feels a tingling of desire. "There, there," he whispers, trying to comfort her. "Tell me what is wrong." Almost he says, "Tell Daddy what is wrong." (3.82)

Whoa, hold up there, David. Here, we have this weird crossover between David's sexual instincts and his fatherly instincts. In spite of his interest in Melanie's beauty and youthfulness, we also see David acting as a father figure towards her (in his daughter's old room, no less!).

Quote #3

From the day his daughter was born he has felt for her nothing but the most spontaneous, most unstinting love. Impossible she has been unaware of it. Has it been too much, that love? Has she found it a burden? Has it pressed down on her? Has she given it a darker reading? (9.11)

On the flip side to David's strange fatherly feelings towards Melanie, we get this passage about his relationship with Lucy. Though the narrator doesn't say it outright, but again the line between familial and sexual love is blurred – hence the "darker reading" that David wonders about.

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