How we cite our quotes:
Yes, he says, he is guilty; but when we try to get specificity, all of a sudden it is not abuse of a young woman he is confessing to, just an impulse he could not resist, with no mention of the pain he has caused, no mention of the long history of exploitation of which this is part. (6.69)
Here, once more, we see the point where sex and violence meet. From a woman's perspective, David's affair can be seen as an act of abuse. It is also apparent that David hasn't thought about his affair with Melanie as something that caused her pain – until now, at its very worst, he has seen it more as an awkward mistake.
A blow catches him on the crown of the head. He has time to think, If I am still conscious then I am all right, before his limbs turn to water and he crumples.
He is aware of being dragged across the kitchen floor. Then he blacks out. (11.71-72)
This assault of David is one of the few concrete instances in which we actually see what happens during the attack on Lucy's home. The immediacy and brutality with which it happens gives us a pretty clear picture of how awful the events were that we didn't see.
There is a heavy report; blood and brains splatter the cage. For a moment the barking ceases. The man fires twice more. One dog, shot through the chest, dies at once; another, with a gaping throat-wound, sits down heavily, flattens its ears, following with its gaze the movements of this being who does not even bother to administer a coup de grâce.
A hush falls. The remaining three dogs, with nowhere to hide, retreat to the back of the pen, milling about, whining softly. Taking his time between shots, the man picks them off. (11.91-92)
The execution of the dogs is one of the most graphically violent scenes of the book. One aspect that makes it especially upsetting is the slow, deliberate, and emotionless way that it takes place. Coup de grâce is French for "blow of mercy," something that the tall man doesn't bother to give to the dog who is bleeding to death in front of him. Instead, he slowly "picks off" the others, a nonchalant-sounding way of phrasing that emphasizes his casual, thoughtless way of slaughtering some innocent animals.