J M Coetzee – Style and Narrative Technique in Novel Disgrace


Literature provides us some light in the darkness. The great thinkers and their writings have upgraded literature to the level of religion in secularized section of people. Keeping pace with this movement for providing primal education, J. M. Coetzee, a Nobel Prize winner writer, has carved out a striking example in his novel ‘Disgrace’. This novel has won the Man Booker Prize. By winning this Prize, Coetzee has become the only writer winning this prize twice.

While reading Coetzee, humour would hardly fail in easing our strains. It would make our mind lighter by the passages loaded with visible and hidden meanings. Had Coetzee been not a humorist as he is, he would have been branded as a rebellion for selecting the subjects of his writings. He might have found his place just beside Nelson Mandela. But he happens to be a writer. The writer is a warrior fighting with the arsenal of his words, the words flowing through his mighty pen. It is the strongest part of the story woven in his novel ‘Disgrace’ that he does not allow the protagonist to run away. Under the given circumstances he had option to get away with the inquiry set up against him. Instead he accepts the responsibility for what he has done.

The visual metaphors used in narrating the scenes carry us at the place and in the time where characters of novel are struggling to live. Nowhere the narration seems very dramatic. The Lucy’s rape, an act of the highest insult a man can do to a woman, is narrated in a few lines. These lines are emphatically convincing. The challenges the characters in ‘Disgrace’ face are just like other common people. But their responses to these challenges are quite different. That is how the literature in general and a writer in particular provide us the light in darkness. Coetzee narrates this darkness in a very impressive manner.

J M Coetzee is master of the art of telling the stories. He makes the readers feeling immediately identified with the characters. In ‘Disgrace’, the writer puts us in the midst of an environment in which events are happening. The vivid description of college activities and the way in which students behave with their studies make us believe the scenes. They all look like the parts of our day-to-day life.

Novels written by Coetzee are filled with irony and satire. His writings entertain the readers according to their intellectual heights. In the case of ‘Disgrace’, the thematic compulsions and perpetual happenings of sad events restrained him becoming an outright humorist. But he has counterbalanced it by putting lightweight words in the blank spaces lying between two sentences. 


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