Gender Studies II
EN2012 – Winter 2011 – Terry Goldie
Lecture 2 – ‘Disgrace’ – Jan 13
Video represents what people idealized after apartheid, black and whites would
be better; video shot during in the apartheid era (during the 1980’s) in South
Africa – feature Johnny Plege.
In many cultures rape is not reported.
o Example: many societies cannot have marital rape; in this type of society,
arguable there is a lot more rape.
Entomology of word rape (origins): means robbery = appropriation of property by
violent means; implication of term means that a women’s property becomes
someone else’s and the sense that the victim does not own it and/or that it
belongs to someone else.
Society might want to see the word rape as destroying women’s sense of self or
independence but the word rape’s connotation is considered loaded, and
originally means that woman’s property belongs to someone.
o Example: daughter’s rape denotes sexuality belongs property of father is
Disgrace is a controversial book especially in South Africa: The power of the
novel leads to certain actions.
Passivity results in less harm possibly as seen by Melanie’s passivity in one of
the sexual encounters, at least one time she is ‘raped’.
In the book, there are at least two rapes by various other instances that could be
seen as rape physically or figuratively; refers to the use of ‘rape’ metaphor that is
often used when innocence is seen as destroyed.
David is not exactly the narrator, but the ‘center of consciousness’: reveals only
his thoughts and not what other people think but what they say; the audience
doesn’t know what they think.
All people have narratives (you should be the major character in your own book
preferably); in this novel there are minor characters who had effects/central to
David’s life and understanding.
Novel is primarily about David: he feels his actual value is lost since he is older,
lectures communications at a college where no one likes him, and has no impact
on his students – going through a sort of mid-life crisis.
Coming of age story but one of coming of an older age; getting a sense of self in
order in a positive sense of direction and purpose.
Beginning of novel: sets up what is the problem of sex?
o Males: they want to have sex, yet this narrator is different in that he is
older and thus sex becomes like lunch – sex with no strings attached; he
has sex with a prostitute to satisfy his lust not love.
David is a womanizer: the idea of a womanizer requires detachment and/or
cynicism; this idea possibly doesn’t work with younger age group as they lack
these qualities of experience.
The character likes the idea of woman but not the actual women he sleeps with. Soraya is a fantasy to David, called off the relationship because she has a
separate life and did not want her work to follow her home; David did not realize
that people are simply not minor characters in his novel but major characters in
their own lives.
Melanie is the experience of David’s that does not work out, shows the idea of
the romantic connection b