Woman as the Victim of Racial Violence
A Critical Reading of J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace
Women have passively accepted the terms and conditions imposed by men on them over the ages. They have often been silent and mute. They (women) have attempted to clinch equal rights along with men over the years. But that has not become a reality yet. Women have been subjugated by patriarchy and patriarchy has been responsible for the marginalization, oppression and even construction of women. The body of the woman has been a potential site for male violence. Traditionally the body of the woman has been a male destination but with the onslaught of feminism woman’s body has been her own destination. Women have tried to articulate their needs, desires and angst and it has given them a tough rhetoric. Women cannot afford to be passive objects of male violence; rather women have to inculcate the habit of subverting the structure of patriarchal violence. Without women no society or nation can run and it must be noted that a world bereft of women would be anything but a world. Women should also realize their own potential and try to be vocal about the torture, humiliation and oppression they have received over the years.
The aim of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the character of Lucy, a woman, from the Nobel Prize Winning author J.M. Coetzee’s novel Disgrace. Lucy has been a victim of sexual and racial violence and she articulates her protest against such violence through silence. In this context it is important to note that Lucy is a white woman who has been a victim of multiple rape by Black thugs who try to change the equations by challenging the existing reality. Lucy is not a coward but unlike her father David Lurie she is practical. Disgrace shows the limits of woman’s tolerance, patience and even breakdown, but not extinction. That Lucy overcomes the post- trauma condition attests to her agility. Lucy is not a toy to play with but a lioness to be afraid of because of her stern attitude. She knows how to cope up with reality and it gives her strength. She remains alone in her fight even thoughshe tries to take a protector. But the rhetoric of protest that Lucy shows in the novel is really astounding. The aim of this paper is to situate all those complex tropes in the context of the development (the response and attitude) of the character of Lucy and to show how to fights patriarchal oppression.
Keywords: Social, Violence, Body, Black and white, Patriarchy, Rhetoric, protest.
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