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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 #1

Demand. She means command. Her shrillness surprises him: There has been no intimation of it before. But then, what should a predator expect when he intrudes into the vixen's nest, into the home of her cubs? (1.57)

Up until now, Soraya has been warm and inviting towards David. Then, all of a sudden, he sees her children and she becomes super defensive. By comparing Soraya to a vixen (a female fox) whose cubs are threatened, the narrator shows that the impulse to protect one's children is instinctual for women. For Soraya, this feminine instinct apparently surpasses her desire to earn money from having sex with David ever again.

Quote #2

She gets up, strolls around the room picking up her cloths, as little bashful as if she were alone. He is used to women more self-conscious in their dressing and undressing. But the women he is used to are not as young, as perfectly formed. (4.14)

Melanie is unlike any other woman that David has slept with in the past. Here, we see Melanie as the idealized youthful mistress, comfortable in her sexuality and comfortable with her body.

Quote #3

"In this chorus of goodwill," he says, "I hear no female voice."

There is silence. (6.59-60)

During David's hearing there is a pretty clear line drawn between the people root for him and the people who are against him – and that line divides the men in the room from the women in the room. Do you think this is unfair, or do you think it's inevitable that in a case of sexual assault, other women would feel defensive?

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