Symbolism Of Dog Inj.m Coetzee 's Disgrace Essay

1090 Words Sep 23rd, 2016 5 Pages
Analysis of the Symbolism of Dogs in J.M Coetzee 's Disgrace "Animals have arguably been the oldest metaphor used to define humanity, to construct human identities by symbolizing what humans are and are not" (qtd. in Sewlall 76). In J.M. Coetzee 's Disgrace, dogs have a significant role and an impactful presence, predominantly in the second part of the story. The novel unfolds in the concrete sociopolitical context of post-apartheid South Africa, where it traces white literature professor David Lurie 's gradual descent into disgrace, catalyzed by his involvement with one of his students and exacerbated by a brutal attack that marks a before and after to his character, relationships, and notions of the world. In this world, Coetzee employs dogs as symbols of the disgrace that humans experience, notable through the dogs ' simple lives—devoid of power—and deaths without dignity, to evoke a sense of empathy for the plight of these creatures. David Lurie 's dismissal from his position of power at Cape Technical University leads him to his daughter Lucy 's countryside home. The first dogs he encounters, all under her sympathetic care, are "watchdogs" working "short contracts" (61). According to professor of literature Harry Sewlall from North West University in South Africa, these dogs can be interpreted as symbolic of the "oppressive machinery of apartheid in the minds of many South Africans" (88). In this way, dogs emphasize social status, representing a vestige of white…

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