In my first blog post on Disgrace, I analyzed the book based off of readers response theory. I had many questions about what was going to occur in the book later on and I made predictions about what could happen and why I thought David visiting Lucy in the first place was significant. This theory compared to archetypal and feminist, I think gave me the most insight on the book and on the characters. So, lets go back to those questions I had at the beginning of the book and see what I’ve learned since then, shall we?
David left Cape Town and lost his job because of the affair he had with his former student. Before Melanie came into the picture, David was seeing a prostitute once a week. He has been divorced three times and overall was not treating women with respect nor was he doing anything for himself by constantly seeing women and using them as sex objects. When David moves into the country with Lucy everything is different; he now lives with people he doesn’t know, people who are poor, who are living a much different life than the one back in Cape Town.
David had to get used to his new living conditions but he had a difficult time accepting the life of Lucy. He didn’t think that her living here was good for her and thought that her life will be going nowhere. Back in my first blog post on readers response, I asked myself what the significance of David visiting Lucy was. I thought that David was going to learn something from this so, what does he learn from this experience? He learns about himself through Lucy’s rape.
Like I’ve said from previous posts, Lucy was raped by three men. This was a tragic experience for both Lucy and David. It struck David hard because it had him thinking that he may have put Melanie through the same thing that those men put Lucy through. Of course, at the time, David may have not realized that what he was actually raping Melanie but he comes to the realization of this after Lucy’s rape. This goes back to the significance of David living with Lucy. Throughout that journey, he realizes what kind of man he is and he cannot look at himself the same. He changes, he learns about himself, and begins to grow as a person because he realizes the lifestyle he was living before is not one that he should continue to live.
220 pages later, David’s journey ends with him in Africa, working with Bev in the animal hospital putting dogs to sleep. Obviously, that is not something David intended to do with his life however, it gives him a purpose. This experience for David may not have turned out the way he expected, but it is just like the real world as many people will learn from others, or through them and find a sense of peace with themselves because of it.