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Feminist Approach

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J. M. Coetzee, a recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, is very much a philosophical novelist whose work focuses on ethical themes, including the rights of animals, the problem of torture, reason, and race (Leist and Singer). In my essay, by taking a Feminist approach, on literary analysis, I focus to explore the "problem of torture" on women and how women, even strong and determined, are forced by men to give away their dreams in order to protect their honor.

Before I start exploring the problem of torture on women, here is a brief summary of the novel. In his novel, Disgrace, author J.M. Coetzee explores the notion of disgrace not only on the protagonist but also the protagonist's daughter Lucy and his student Melanie. The novel's main character, David Lurie, twice-divorced and discontented with his job as an English professor, finds his life collapsing. When he falls in an affair with one of his students, Melanie, and does nothing to protect his position from the applied charges by this girl, he is expelled from the university, and goes to live with his daughter Lucy, who works in a farm in Cape Town with a black worker named Petrus. For some time, his daughter's effect and natural surroundings of the rural area promise to stabilize his discontented life. But after the rape attack by three black youths on his daughter Lucy, he is outraged; but eventually turns to the animals, who accompany him in his journey of disgrace. Ultimately he finds some meaning out of his life by caring and loving the dogs at the local clinic.

In the beginning of the story, we meet David Lurie, a fifty two year old man, who according to the writer, J.M. Coetzee has, "... to his mind, solved the problem of sex rather well" (1). Every Thursday, he has sex with a prostitute named Soraya. We learn that his life in general is not exciting and enthusiastic as he is divorced twice and he is not satisfied with his job at the Cape Technical University. He teaches there not because he is passionate about teaching, but to earn his living. His sex life seems boring and he is getting older and older to be able to enjoy the passions of his life. In other words, he is not happy and excited about his personal life of marriage and physical relations, as well as his professional life of teaching at the university.

Even though he is old, and divorced, his attitude towards women is to have a short relationship with women to accomplish his sexual desires. We learn about his "womanizing" character when the author describes that, "[t]he company of women made of him a lover of women and, to an extent, a womanizer" (Coetzee 7). Throughout the novel, the character of David Lurie is portrayed as a man desperate to have sex with anyone-young or old. To examine the influence of male domination on female, and how the female is forced by men to give away their dream, let us discuss the character of Melanie and David's influence on her life.

Melanie Isaacs is a young student of David Lurie in the Romantics Class with whom David has a crush. Melanie's character is complex and hard to understand as she has two-sided character. When Melanie enters the story, David's life

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