John Maxwell Coetzee’s Disgrace: A Covert Narrative of the Transition in South Africa

10.22492.ijl.11.1.04

 

Author: Khadidiatou Diallo, University Gaston Berger, Senegal
Email: [email protected]
Published: October 28, 2022
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.11.1.04

Citation: Diallo, K. (2022). John Maxwell Coetzee’s Disgrace: A Covert Narrative of the Transition in South Africa. IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.11.1.04


Abstract

In John Maxwell Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999), some aspects of style are an implicit image of the uncertainty, feeling of discontinuity, and the new trends of violence in the transition period in South Africa. This study of Disgrace conjugates Seymour Chatman’s analysis of covert narration, and Alain Rabatel’s explication of the point of view and narrative perspective, to demonstrate, through narratological and reader-response theories, that the third-person present-tense narrative gives an encoded image of the tense social context in the post-apartheid era. Specifically, this paper shows that the use of present tense, character-oriented perspective, and hybrid use of language are signs of the unbridled violence in the nascent democratic nation, of individuals battling against the demons of the past, to deal with an unstable present, with the hope to negotiate an evanescent future. Through the lenses of feminism, this article discusses the experience and symbolism of rape in the novel.

Keywords

Coetzee, covert narrative, perspective, point of view, transition