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by J.M. Coetzee

Disgrace Women and Femininity Quotes

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

Quote #7

Not for the first time, he wonders whether women would not be happier living in communities of women, accepting visits from men only when they choose. Perhaps he is wrong to think of Lucy as homosexual. Perhaps she simply prefers female company. Or perhaps that is all that lesbians are: women who have no need of men. (12.45)

What catches our attention here is the idea that David has already considered whether or not women are better off without men. How does this reflect on his own actions?

Quote #8

No wonder they were so vehement against rape, she and Helen. Rape, god of chaos and mixture, violator of seclusions. Raping a lesbian worse than raping a virgin: more of a blow. Did they know what they were up to, those men? Had the word got around? (12.46)

David, via the narrator, brings up an interesting argument here: rape is undoubtedly an unwanted sexual act in any case, but is it possible that the rape of a lesbian is an especially horrific and unwanted act, making it more of a violation? Is it fair to say that it is worse than raping a virgin? Is it OK for him to be making these comparisons at all?

Quote #9

Like a stain the story is spreading across the district. Not her story to spread but theirs: they are its owners. How they put her in her place, how they showed her what a woman was for. (14.22)

Once more, we get a hypothetical vision of the perspectives of characters we don't actually talk to. Here, David imagines the rapists taking pleasure in the fact that they put Lucy in her place, who was then too ashamed to get help. This is a great example of David's growing awareness of other men's negative attitudes towards women. Perspectives like these reinforce David's growing sense of feminism as the novel progresses.

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