Structuralism of the Novel Disgrace

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  • Topic: Post-structuralism, Structuralism, Roland Barthes
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  • Published : April 5, 2007
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Structuralism of Disgrace

The dictionary definition of structuralism says: an approach that explores the relationships between fundamental elements of some kind.

Coetzee's stylish writing is rather post-structural in its' views than structural, it is David the protagonist of the novel who is set in his structural ways. Coetzee prefers to write his story with more interest in the gaps, silences and absences of his texts. One can see this through his choice of a distant narrator, a narrator who does not know what is to come and has limited access to the events of the novel. Coetzee does this for the interest of his readers, to put his readers in David Luries shoes, where difficult situations need to be resolved without any help or guidance. This makes the novel a more capturing read.

Structure and pace are used well in his writing to create suspense. He often says or groups things in threes eg. "One dog, shot through the chest, dies at once." Coetzee is not a very descriptive writer; instead he uses structure to build up tension. He too structures his sentences at varying lengths for an emphasised result. He uses long sentences to depict the worry that is felt, and short sentences to emphasis the horror of a situation.

Unlike Coetzee, David Lurie, of whom the book deals mostly with, is very structural in his thinking and quote, "has never been afraid to follow a thought down its winding track." Being a university professor offering a course on Romantic poets, it would be thought that he himself would be a romantic. However, this is not true, David is emotionless and shows little to no respect for women. He believes in the older structure of life, that being a white male, he is elitist.

In the novel David is forced to explore the relationship between the fundamental elements of victim verses perpetrator. He has experienced being on both ends of the spectrum, and each changed his life. In the first incident where he is the perpetrator of rape, he will...
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