Disgrace Presentation

Helene Nguyen, Wesley Rostetter, Jackie Caivano


J. M. Coetzee

  • Author Coetzee was born in Cape Town, Cape Province, Union of South Africa, on 9 February 1940 to parents of Afrikaner descent.
  • Coetzee attended St. Joseph's College, a Catholic school in the Cape Town suburb of Rondebosch
  • Coetzee has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career, although he has a reputation for avoiding award ceremonies
  • Coetzee was, according to Fred Pfeil, at "the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement within Afrikaner literature and letters"

After Apartied in South Africa

  • Around 18 percent of South Africans say they would not approve of living in a residential area in which half their neighbors were people of other races, and more than 20 percent said they would disapprove of working for and taking instructions from someone of another race.
  • The survey found that a clear majority (83.8 percent) agree that apartheid was a crime against humanity and 82.5 percent agree that before the transition to democracy, the state was responsible for committing atrocities against anti-apartheid activists. A further 81.1 percent agree that the apartheid government wrongly oppressed the majority of South Africans
  • A split is evident in response to a question that assesses apartheid’s economic legacy: whether or not black South Africans are still poor today as a result of the lasting effects of apartheid.

    The poll found 82 percent of black South Africans agree that this is the case, as do 73.3 percent of Indian/Asian and 61.4 percent of colored South Africans. Only about half (50.6 percent) of whites agree.

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Rates of Violence Between Races and Gender

  1. Gender

  • South Africa as having “the highest rate ever reported in research anywhere in the world.”
  • “Of all the matrics (high school graduates) in your class, one third have been raped!” says a public education announcement on Talk Radio 702, referring to statistics that estimate more than 30 per cent of girls have been raped by the time they are 18.
  • In South Africa, statistics say someone gets raped every four minutes. Only 66,196 incidents were reported to police last year and their investigations led to only 4,500 convictions
  1. Race

  • Achille Mbembe (2006) writes, “Crime is fast destroying the moral fabric of South African cities and is becoming the major threat to South Africa’s democracy as well as the not so hidden name of a ‘class war’ which itself is, to a large extent, a continuation of the ‘race war’ of yesterday”.
  • During 2010, 4030 civilians died in Iraq (www.iraqbodycount.org , 2011), compared to 16,834 officially recorded murders in South Africa.
  • Where official figures for April 2009 to March 2010 note 68,332 sexual crimes, 13,902 carjackings, 205,293 assaults with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, 197,284 common assaults, and 113,755 robberies with aggravating circumstances (www.saps.gov.za , 2010), claims of underreporting underscore the gravity of matter
  • Continuation of attacks on white farmers is purely criminal, media reports and eye witness accounts indicate a racial motive behind a substantial number of these attacks

John Malkovich - 2008 Disgrace Trailer


  1. Power- position, sex, political, monetary
  2. Justice/Judgement
  3. Acceptance

Disgrace Questions

  1. How do different characters in the novel experience disgrace?
  2. Once someone is in a state of disgrace, can they get out of it?
  3. After thinking about all the different women that David slept with during the novel, why is he so unattached? What makes Melanie different?
  4. What is the relationship between sex and disgrace for 1.) David 2.) Melanie 3.) Lucy
  5. In what ways are justice and judgement warped in this novel?
  6. In what ways are David's and Lucy's silence the same?


Bessie Head, Life

-Life and Lucy both lost the power in their lives

-Both lose power, then turn to get married (power over men)

-Men both get off or could have gotten off with very little punishment

-David could have just apologized for a slap on the wrist

-Lesego could have gotten off because he appealed to the white judge

The Museum

-David and Lucy and Bryan and Shadia can’t communicate with each other effectively

-Lucy and

Shadia want their male counterparts to understand their homeland/connection to the land but they don't get it so the relationship isn't working

Things Fall Apart

-Okonkwo & David parallels

-stubborn, prideful, fear of becoming obsolete, take advantage of women

-Both are outcast from their lives, but both plan on returning.

-David returns to literary world with Byron Musical

-Okonkwo returns to home after 7 years to resume the life he had.

-Both lose their old selves/way of life and kill themselves

-Okonkwo literally because he can’t stand that the tribe is no longer what it used to be

-David metaphorically when he settles to bringing dignity to dead dogs.

-David does this because he relates to dogs because they are only living according to their nature, but yet they are still being punished.

-David & Lucy talk about starting over with nothing, like dogs.

-Bev asks David “Are you giving him up?” talking about the dog(old life) . David says yes