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Analysis

Literary Devices in Disgrace

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Man's best friend plays a huge role in Disgrace, particularly after David moves to the country. On a surface level, they become characters in the novel. Some of the dogs that Lucy cares for in her...

Setting

Like many of J.M. Coetzee's novels, Disgrace takes place in his native South Africa, a country that for many years was ruled under a system of racial segregation called Apartheid. Apartheid, which...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator of Disgrace isn't a character in the novel at all, but sometimes it can be pretty easy to forget. As a third person limited narrator, the voice telling our story doesn't participate in...

Genre

Let's be honest – some really shocking things happen in Disgrace (to say the least). What sets the novel apart from your typical page-turner and makes it a work of literary fiction is the way...

Tone

The narrative of Disgrace is pretty straightforward, with very little side commentary. Even in moments of high tension, the narrator stays out of it, instead reporting to us precisely what David he...

Writing Style

If we could only say one thing about J.M. Coetzee, it would be, "dang, that man can write." His writing is simple, clean, and straight to the point, but don't be fooled – underneath that stra...

What's Up With the Title?

Disgrace. It's not a big word, but it sure is a loaded one when you hear it said, or even when you just see it staring back at you on the cover of a book. We know it doesn't sound too pleasant, but...

What's Up With the Ending?

The end of Disgrace plunks us in a somewhat unexpected place: after heading back to Cape Town in Chapter 20, David decides to cut that visit short and returns once more to the Eastern Cape to wait...

Tough-o-Meter

What you get out of reading Disgrace is sort of what you put into it. On one hand, Coetzee's style of writing is usually pretty to the point, and the novel itself is so gripping and emotionally cha...

Plot Analysis

David feels like everything is mediocre and sleeps with a lot of ladies.We learn a couple of things about David when the novel begins: he's someone who likes to spend time in bed with the ladies, b...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

David has an active but passionless sex life; then he gets to know Melanie.David is feeling pretty ho-hum about life when we first meet him. Then, all of a sudden, he runs into Melanie. She ignites...

Three Act Plot Analysis

David loses his job at the University and leaves Cape Town to live with Lucy out in the country.David and Lucy are attacked by the three men, Lucy is raped, and the dogs are shot to death. Nobody i...

Trivia

The J.M. in J.M. Coetzee stands for John Maxwell. How the heck do you say Coetzee? Well, you can say it as kuut-SEE-uh or kuut-SEE, but it turns out he prefers it the second way. We've been saying...

Steaminess Rating

We'll come right out and say it: there is a whole lot of sex in this book. In the first chapter alone, David has sex with three different women. Still, for all of the hooking up going on, we have t...

Allusions

Oedipus (1.16)The Rule of St. Benedict (1.9): A text that tells monks precisely how they should live.Arrigo Boito, an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, and composer. He wrote an opera called Mefi...
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