Response to Novel 'Disgrace'

Topics: Campus novel, J. M. Coetzee, Theme music Pages: 3 (1003 words) Published: March 5, 2006
The novel ‘Disgrace' by J. M. Coetzee was an eye opening and a thrilling ride through the pages. This story has put a strong emphasis on the idea of nemesis in real life. Lurie, the main character sexually harassed his student and in return he lost his job, his friends, respect from colleagues, and in an indirect, cynical way his daughter was gang raped. He has to live with all sorts of regrets and intense thoughts about where he has gone wrong. Lurie tries to engage himself in his daughter's lifestyle, living with her, becoming a humanitarian, which he never was, and exploring a different side to life. From his daughter he learns a very important lesson that happiness is relative and people have their own definition of it. I felt that both of the characters, even though they were grown people, were both still trying to figure out who they really were inside. They were both struggling with their own views, perceptions, and opinions. I also found that there were so many themes jammed into this one story that it seems too complex to try to piece all of the themes together to understand the overall moral. There is obviously the theme of a society where the power of older men has been reduced and Lurie desperately tried to find acceptance, that he got carried away and began an intimate relationship with his student. There is also the theme of not wanting to change to fit in a society. Lurie tells his daughter that he would rather get shot than change himself and abide the rules of society telling him he cannot develop a relationship with a student. I find that not wanting to change yourself to be someone else is part of human nature. We always have to be ourselves, no matter what comes our way and I personally have respect for Lurie because he refuses to go against his instincts. Another theme is freedom versus responsibility because Lurie decided to ignore his position as a professor and allowed himself to be free with his own student, which is unacceptable in the...
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