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Disgrace : Gender inequalities

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Pat C.
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  1. Introduction
  2. A conflict between the sexes
  3. The relationship between David and the female prostitute Soraya
  4. The relationship within the committee for David's hearing
  5. The most dynamic relationship in the novel
  6. Conclusion

Historically in most societies that exist or have existed in the world equality between the genders is a mere ideal. Even in the present world societies still have a strong element of patriarchy within them. In J.M Coetzee's novel ?Disgrace? Coetzee depicts a South African society in which males clearly dominate the power in relationships with females. Coetzee uses rape as a tool to show how men treat women as inferior beings

[...] It is also interesting to note that it is not Melanie that originally confronts David about the sexual harassment: Melanie's boyfriend is the one who brings the issue to the surface in society. The boyfriend and David himself both treat Melanie as property: David uses her for his own pleasure, while the boyfriend is like a dog protecting his property from invaders. In David's case the boyfriend attacks his real property like his car, and also his reputation through revealing the relations he had with Melanie. [...]


[...] Lucy fails to see what Ettinger does about the changing African society: it is no longer safe for white people, and especially women, living alone. The gun which Ettinger carries represents the power that he holds, and the lack of one Lucy carries indicates her lack of power. Ettinger as a male is able to protect himself, but Lucy, without a gun, must rely on those who carry power (males) with them for survival. In all relationships that are established in J.M Coetzee's ?Disgrace? males hold superiority over females. [...]


[...] From here David sets out to meet his daughter, where he will be introduced into the ever changing relationship she has with Petrus. The most dynamic relationship in the novel occurs between Lucy and her former employee turned co-proprietor Petrus. The timing of the attack alongside with Petrus' absence and relation with one of the attackers suggests Petrus ?capitalized, if not instigated [the attack] to force [Lucy] to yield control of her land? (Kochin, 4). Lucy's rape by three black men is the opposite of David's rape of Melanie, who herself is black. [...]

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