Study Guide

Disgrace Justice and Judgment

By J.M. Coetzee

Justice and Judgment

David has a complicated relationship with Justice and Judgment. Initially in Disgrace, a system of judgment acts upon him – you might even say against him – and changes the course of his life. When Melanie files a complaint against David, he has to appear before a committee that judges his actions and punishes him by recommending that he lose his job. However, after moving to the Eastern Cape, the tables turn. Rather than being someone who is punished by a system of justice and judgments, in the Eastern Cape, David instead has to seek justice on behalf of Lucy. Unfortunately for David, this justice is more elusive than he would hope.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. Do you think that the judgment against David would have been different if the committee were made up solely of men? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think it was Melanie herself who decided to file the complaint against David, or do you think, as David does, that she was pushed to do so by someone else's influence?
  3. Does justice exist out in the country?
  4. Why do you think Lucy was so against the idea of going to the police about her rape? Do you think it was more because she thought it wasn't going to help, or more because she was scared?

Chew on This

In Disgrace, the ways in which people are brought to justice are inherently flawed.

In Disgrace, it's not the systems that are flawed; rather, people are too scared of what consequences might arise if they seek justice.