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Title: The necessary ambiguities in J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace.
Authors: Cheng, Geraldine Siew Yee.
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Literature::English
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: In a novel like Disgrace, where the primary concerns are with the difficulties of representation in a South African landscape using the English language and the uncertainty regarding the current and future place of white South Africans within their own nation, both of which are concerns that have been brought up in Coetzee’s own writings and interviews, it is difficult to avoid considering the issue of Coetzee’s “positionality” as a writer when attempts are made to comprehend the text. Therefore, instead of going down the slippery and near impossible slope of attempting to decipher everything that is left unexplained in the text, that is to say, the ‘what’ of the novel, I am more interested in looking at the ‘why’, and to some extent, the ‘how’ here. This essay thereby intends to answer the questions of open-endedness by exploring what such textual characteristics reveal about authorial concerns and necessitate as reader response. Put in this manner, Disgrace’s ambiguity of meaning and resistance to interpretation are thus not only central as a mode of stylistics, but as I will proceed to argue, necessary as both a reflection of the position of the white South-African in a post-apartheid age, and as a way of provoking further discussions about the role of the imagination as having a part to play in solving what Coetzee has described as “the heart of unfreedom of the hereditary masters of South Africa”, which is namely the “failure of love” amongst themselves.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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