Study Guide

Disgrace Chapter 7

By J.M. Coetzee

Chapter 7

  • David leaves Cape Town to go stay with his daughter Lucy in Salem.
  • We get a description of the area where she lives. We're not in Kansas anymore (or, we guess, Cape Town). Salem is all dirt roads and stables.
  • We meet Lucy. David hasn't seen her in a year and he almost doesn't recognize her. He notices she's put on a few pounds and is totally becoming a country gal. He is really happy to see her.
  • We learn that Lucy moved into this country house as part of a commune, but everyone except Lucy and her friend Helen has since moved away. Lucy has turned it into a farm.
  • Then we learn that Helen moved to Johannesburg in April. It seems that Helen and Lucy were more than just pals.
  • David unpacks in Helen's deserted room, and then Lucy shows him around. He notices that she has a LOT of dogs. It turns out she's running a kennel and keeps most of the dogs for a short time.
  • We meet Katy, a bulldog who was abandoned by her owners.
  • David thinks about how Lucy shows how history is repeating itself in South Africa, but more modestly – meaning that she's sort of like the old white settlers by living off the land, but she's not dominating anyone.
  • David feels good about having a daughter like Lucy who is down-to-earth and sensible.
  • David tells Lucy about his opera. Then he brings up his affair with Melanie, and Lucy lets him know she's already heard a little bit about it from Rosalind.
  • We meet Petrus. He looks like he's about 40 or 45. He introduces himself as the "gardener and the dog-man" (7.55).
  • We learn that Petrus and his wife live in the old stable on Lucy's property. We also learn he has another wife in Adelaide.
  • David wonders if Lucy will spend her whole life out in the country but hopes it's just a phase. He starts to notice the differences between country ways and city ways.
  • David tells Lucy more about what went down in Cape Town. He gets kind of dramatic. She tells him so.
  • That night all the dogs start barking like crazy. The next morning Lucy tells David he'll get used to it.