Study Guide

Disgrace Chapter 24

By J.M. Coetzee

Chapter 24

  • The beginning of the chapter puts us right in the middle of a scene from the opera that David's been writing throughout the book. Teresa is standing at her bedroom window in the dark longing for Byron.
  • The opera is becoming all-consuming for David – except that it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. He hopes he can write something really worthwhile so that other people in the future might study it and that, in the present, Lucy might think a little bit better of him.
  • We learn about a particular dog living at the clinic that David has become attached to. It's got a bad leg and nobody wants to adopt it. David knows that it's going to have to be put to sleep sooner or later.
  • The dog has sort of chosen David – it sleeps at his feet and even seems to like the sound of the banjo that David is using as part of his opera.
  • David and Lucy go to the market. David asks her about how Petrus is doing. Then he gets serious and asks Lucy if she loves her unborn baby yet. Lucy says no way – but she will some day. She says she's going to do her best to be a good mom and a good person.
  • Then Lucy and David don't see each other for a while.
  • One day he goes to Lucy's place. Lucy is working in the flower garden. This earthy image makes David think that Lucy is becoming more of a peasant every day.
  • Thinking about Lucy's pregnancy pushes David to think about how he's going to be a grandfather – and then he thinks, what young hotties would want to sleep with a grandfather? (24.41).
  • Lucy finally notices David and invites him in for tea.
  • On Sunday, David and Bev are back in the clinic, putting dogs and cats to sleep. Finally, there is only one left – the crippled dog that follows David around. David thinks about the dog and how it's inevitable that one day he'll have to put the dog down.
  • David opens the dog's cage, and it follows him out like a good little dog. He picks the dog up. Bev says, "I thought you would save him for another week" (24.63) and asks if David is giving the dog up.
  • The novel ends with David saying, "Yes, I am giving him up."