by J.M. Coetzee
Disgrace Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Can I guess?" he says. "Are you trying to remind me of something?"
"Am I trying to remind you of what?"
"Of what women undergo at the hands of men." (13.53-55)
After Lucy is raped, he wonders if his relationship with Melanie can be considered to be the same kind of violation as Lucy's rape. Here, we get the hint that he's insecure about the way Lucy sees him now that she has been a victim of sexual assault.
"In October," Petrus intervenes. "The baby is coming in October. We hope he will be a boy."
"Oh. What have you got against girls?"
"We are praying for a boy," says Petrus. "Always it is best if the first one is a boy. Then he can show his sisters—show them how to behave." (15.83-85)
Through the course of the novel, David learns a lot about negative attitudes toward women. Back in the city, though, misogyny was more unspoken. Out here in the country, though, you can say things like this out loud. Here, Petrus reveals his attitude towards women: they should be submissive to men, and men are responsible for showing them what's what.
You weren't there. You don't know what happened. He is baffled. Where, according to Bev Shaw, according to Lucy, was he not? In the room where the intruders were committing their outrages? Do they think he does not know what rape is? Do they think he has not suffered with his daughter? What more could he have witness than he is capable of imagining? Or do they think that, where rape is concerned, no man can be where the woman is? Whatever the answer, he is outraged, outraged at being treated like an outsider. (16.54)
From David's perspective, it seems like Bev and Lucy are somehow bonded in a girls-only club that he can't join, and it's frustrating. It's tough for him to be an outsider, but then again, do you think it's possible for him to truly commiserate with Lucy without knowing what it is like to be a woman during sex?