Study Guide

The Second Man in Disgrace

By J.M. Coetzee

The Second Man

During the attack on Lucy and David, the second man is the intruder that we get to know the best. He does not speak, except to say "hai!" and to burst into laughter. While we don't know which intruder hits David over the head and locks him in the bathroom, we can guess that it is the second man, since he checks in on David several times during the scene. He steals Lucy's rifle and David's car. He is also the character who drenches David in alcohol and sets him on fire. Like the tall man, we never see the second man after this scene, but he remains one of the most important and upsetting figures in the novel.