by J.M. Coetzee
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Third Person (Limited)
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 any of the action, but interestingly enough he or she also seems to exist directly in David's head. The narrator knows David's entire back story, what he's feeling at any given moment, his immediate desires, his worries, and his thoughts. Coetzee often denotes the difference between what the narrator says that David is thinking and what David is really thinking in a given moment by putting David's thoughts in italics. But even then, it doesn't really seem to make a difference – it feels like we're right there in his mind from the get-go. We don't know what any of the other characters are thinking, feeling, or even doing most of the time. Everything comes from David's perspective, even if he's not the one actually telling the story.