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Title: Sexual transgression in disgrace and the god of small things
Authors: Tham, Melissa Peiyi
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Literature::English
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: According to Chris Jenks, “to transgress is to go beyond the bounds or limits set by a commandment or law or convention, it is to violate or infringe” (2). In the following paper, I will explore the ways in which the theme of sexual transgression in the two novels, J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999) and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (1997) challenges the categories of race, gender and caste. I will also elaborate and expand on how the different forms of sexual transgression – inappropriate teacher-student relationships, rape, inter-caste relationships and incestuous relationships attempt to undermine and overcome the categories that bind them. At first glance, Disgrace and The God of Small Things appear to have little in common. What unites these two narratives are their undeniable links to the historical setting and context that affected the authors when they were writing their novels, poignantly presenting transgression of the bodies as a social trope that redefines relationships of power and class. However, I would like to argue that even while Coetzee and Roy present these transgressions as the ideological centers of both Disgrace and The God of Small Things, they are not permanent solutions to resolving the race, gender and caste issues, and while they appear to overcome these differences briefly, the aforementioned categories are only reinforced in the long run. Hence, what my thesis establishes is that sexual transgression cannot be so easily separated from the historical, social and political circumstances of Apartheid and the caste system in Disgrace and The God of Small Things.
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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