Study Guide

Disgrace Chapter 20

By J.M. Coetzee

Chapter 20

  • David gets back to Cape Town. He's broke. His garden is a mess. His windows are broken. All his stuff has been stolen – even canned food. There's a dead pigeon in the bathroom. His phone doesn't work.
  • David goes back to the Communications building on campus. Someone named Dr. Otto has taken over his old office. David collects his stuff.
  • David sort of misses life in the country. He calls Lucy. He tells her he can come back when she needs him. She's like, "Nah, that's okay."
  • David goes to the supermarket. He stands behind Elaine Winter (the chairwoman of his old department) in line. They make small talk. He is relieved when she leaves.
  • David works on his opera. It's hard for him to get excited about it.
  • David starts over on his opera. Instead of being about Byron and his mistress in their youth, he rewrites it to be about Teresa, Byron's lover, after Byron is already dead. Now she's dumpy and middle-aged.
  • Now David gets really into writing the music and lyrics for his opera. It's all he does.
  • All of a sudden, he writes Byron's daughter, Allegra, into the opera. He hadn't expected to make a character out of her.