Study Guide

Disgrace Chapter 4

By J.M. Coetzee

Chapter 4

  • David and Melanie have sex in David's daughter's bed. She asks him if he often sleeps with his students. He doesn't answer. Then she asks about his divorces.
  • That afternoon, David is in his office when a young man with a goatee, an earring, and dressed from head to toe in black leather – or, as the narrator says, who "looks like trouble" – enters (4.16). He says that Melanie says that David "f***s her" (4.19). He taunts David for a bit and then pushes everything off David's desk.
  • The student leaves the office, telling David, "just wait and see!" (4.26). When David leaves for the day, he finds his car has been vandalized. When the locksmith asks him who did it, David says he has no idea.
  • Melanie keeps avoiding David.
  • On Monday, Melanie comes to class. The guy in black leather, who the narrator calls "the boyfriend" now, is with her. The class is totally silent because they know something's up.
  • David starts lecturing on Byron and his scandals. He notices that everyone is still not talking, even though they usually at least participate a little bit. He thinks it's because Melanie's boyfriend is making the whole class uncomfortable.
  • David ends the class early and asks Melanie if he can talk to her in his office. The boyfriend follows them but David tells him to wait outside.
  • David tells Melanie that she has to take a make-up midterm since she skipped the test. She says that she hasn't done any of the reading. David tells her that she just has to take the test – it doesn't matter if she's studied or not.
  • Later when he drives home, David notices a motorcycle whiz by. It's Melanie and her boyfriend. David looks at her legs wrapped around her boyfriend and thinks of how he's been in between them.