Disgrace, The Idea Of Confession And Redemption Essay

788 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
Since the end of Apartheid, confession has been a common theme within South Africa. Due to the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, confession became an everyday event. Those who had committed heinous crimes had the opportunity to come forward to apologize to the victims or families of victims in return for a pardon from the government. With this comes the idea of whether or not a perpetrator can truly be redeemed through a public apology that is expected of him due to the common cycle of guilt, apologies, and acceptance. Hannan Hever states that “guilt and redemption are abstract rather than concrete concepts” (Hever 42). When reading J. M. Coetzee’s novel Disgrace, the idea of confession and redemption is a major theme for the main character. A university professor, Lurie, who lives in a post-Apartheid South Africa, commits a horrible crime against a young black woman who reports it. Once he has been asked to confess and refuses, rather than beginning a journey of redemption, he believes he is due a punishment. The reader is asked to consider whether Lurie deserves his subsequent assault for his actions and lack of guilt, or if through his punishment he becomes redeemed and can be forgiven for what he has done. Lurie is not innocent, but neither does he think he is guilty of assaulting Melanie Isaacs. Immediately after the assault happened, the narrator states that it was “not rape, not quite that, but undesired nonetheless, undesired to the core”…

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