Study Guide

Disgrace Chapter 11

By J.M. Coetzee

Chapter 11

  • David and Lucy watch some ducks. Then they have breakfast. Then they go for a walk with the two Dobermans. On their walk, Lucy asks David if he pictures himself living out here in the country for good. Maybe he can find a job at the local university!
  • David talks about how his career is over. Then he starts thinking about making love to Melanie and remembers all the sounds and smells and sights.
  • David explains his situation to Lucy by making an analogy to the dog that their old neighbors had. It got punished every time it went after a lady dog. So then it started acting guilty around them. David feels like that dog – he thinks he is being punished for desiring the ladies.
  • We learn from Lucy that Bev is in awe of David because of his fancypants professor ways.
  • Two men and a boy appear on the path. The men walk by and Lucy says she's never seen them before.
  • When David and Lucy get home, they notice all the dogs are going crazy. The two men and the boy are there waiting for them. The boy is taunting the dogs. Lucy calls for Petrus but he's not there.
  • Lucy asks the men what they want. They say they need to use the phone because one of their sisters is having a baby and they are from a neighborhood with no phones or electricity.
  • Lucy tells David to stay outside. The tall man wants to use the phone. She takes him inside, but then the second man runs in the house, too.
  • David knows something's up. He calls for Lucy but she doesn't answer. He runs to the house but hears the door lock in front of him. He shouts for Petrus but nobody comes.
  • The boy tries to run to the house. David sics the bulldog on him.
  • While the boy is trying to get rid of the bulldog, David kicks down the kitchen door and crawls into the kitchen.
  • All of a sudden someone hits David over the head and knocks him out, but somehow he can tell he's being dragged across the floor.
  • When he comes to, he's lying on the bathroom floor. He's locked in. He hears all the dogs barking. He calls Lucy's name.
  • David realizes he has to do something. He bangs on the door. Then the door opens and knocks him down. It's the second man. He just says, "The keys" (11.82).
  • The second man threatens to hit David with the bottle he's holding. David says that he can take whatever he wants as long as he leaves Lucy alone. The second man takes the (car) keys and locks David in the bathroom again.
  • The dogs' barking gets louder. He looks out the window and sees the second man carrying Lucy's rifle and a bag of stuff. David realizes that the second man is going to steal his car.
  • The tall man takes the rifle and starts shooting the dogs. Blood and brains are splattered everywhere.
  • The second man comes back to the bathroom and pours alcohol all over David. Then he sets David on fire.
  • David goes crazy trying to put out the flames. He puts them out with water from the toilet. He gets locked in again. One of his eyes is swollen shut and all of his hair is burned off. He's in pain but all he does is call for Lucy. He can't stop thinking about what must be happening to her.
  • Then he hears the car start. The intruders are leaving.
  • The bathroom door opens. It's Lucy. Her hair is wet and she's wearing a bathrobe.
  • David and Lucy check out what the three intruders did. They killed most of the dogs, except for one that is still breathing. They took a lot of stuff from the house.
  • Lucy keeps shrugging David off.
  • David thinks about how things like this are happening all over South Africa.
  • They can't call the police because the phone is smashed. They let the air out of the tires in Lucy's car and they stole David's car.
  • Lucy says she'll go get help from Ettinger, who is her neighbor. She tells that if anyone asks what happened, he can only tell them what happened to him – but not what happened to her.
  • David says she's making a mistake. Lucy says she isn't.