Study Guide

Disgrace Chapter 13

By J.M. Coetzee

Chapter 13

  • Before David and Lucy leave Bev's house, Bev fixes up David's bandages. David tries to talk to Bev about what happened to Lucy but Bev tells him he should keep trying to talk to Lucy instead.
  • David is bummed.
  • David realizes that it's his job to take care of Lucy and the farm. He doesn't feel ready for it.
  • A couple of policemen show up to investigate the scene of the crime. Lucy tells them what happened, but David knows it's her version of the story and not the whole story. He keeps his mouth shut, though.
  • We find out that Katy the bulldog is still alive!
  • Lucy tells the police that the intruders stole a bunch of stuff, set David on fire, and shot the dogs. She doesn't tell them that she was raped. While she talks she keeps an eye on David, making sure he doesn't pipe up (13.18).
  • Ettinger shows up for a short visit. When he leaves he tells David that it could have been a lot worse – meaning that the three intruders could have taken Lucy away with them. David doesn't know what to say.
  • David asks Lucy why she isn't telling the whole story. She says she has told the whole story. He doesn't go any further with the subject, but he pictures the three intruders feeling awesome that Lucy is too ashamed to get them in trouble.
  • David buries the dogs.
  • Lucy sets up a bed in the pantry. David knows she's doing this because she can't sleep in the room where she was raped. He gives her his room and tells her he'll sleep in the pantry. But then he decides to sleep in her room to chase out the "ghosts of Lucy's violators" (13.49).
  • While they eat dinner, David encourages Lucy to come clean with the whole story because "there is no shame in being the object of a crime" (13.51). Lucy looks like these words have bothered her and she doesn't say anything.
  • David asks Lucy if she's trying to remind him of "what women undergo at the hands of men" (13.55) – that is, he wonders if Lucy is trying to imply that he hurt Melanie the same way the intruders hurt her.
  • Lucy says that if it were another time and place she would have gone to the police, but here in South Africa it's her own problem.
  • David disagrees with her. Lucy gets upset. David feels like he's never been so far away from her.