Study Guide

Disgrace Chapter 23

By J.M. Coetzee

Chapter 23

  • David is taking Katy out for a walk when he notices Pollux peering into the bathroom window, taking a peek at Lucy.
  • David runs up and smacks Pollux in the face, calling him a "filthy swine" (23.3). Then Katy jumps on him and bites him. David kicks Pollux. Katy continues biting Pollux and ripping his shirt.
  • Lucy appears on the scene and gets Katy off of Pollux. Pollux is about to cry and is blowing snot all over the place. He says, "I will kill you!" (23.12).
  • When Lucy gets up from helping Pollux, her bathrobe opens and Pollux and David both stare at her breasts.
  • As Pollux leaves, he shouts, "We will kill you all!" (23.17). David realizes that Lucy was right – there's something not right about Pollux.
  • Lucy says she can deal with Pollux and his crew, and she can deal with David, but she can't deal with all of them. She says she is willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of peace. David asks if he's part of what she's willing to give up. She's like, "You said it, not me." David says he'll pack his bags.
  • David thinks about what just happened. He's really pissed. He feels like he should apologize to Lucy but he doesn't think he can.
  • He thinks about Teresa, the character in his opera.
  • David goes to see Bev. They hug awkwardly and he can't believe they were ever naked together.
  • David thinks about Dante's Inferno, where angry dead souls gnaw at each other.
  • Bev tells David that Lucy will be OK as long as Petrus is around. Bev thinks it might be time for David to back off and let Lucy live her own life.
  • David tells Bev if anything else happens to Lucy, he won't be able to deal with it. Then he tells her he can come to help out at the clinic anytime.
  • David buys a pickup truck for the dead dogs he's going to take to the incinerator. This part includes a really funny exchange where the guy selling the car says he can get someone to put protective rails on the car so the dogs won't jump out, and David is just like "my dogs don't jump" (23.52).
  • David rents an apartment in the area, but ends up spending most of his time in the clinic. He decides to keep on with this new lifestyle until Lucy's baby is born. He thinks about how the local kids probably think he's a nutty old man.