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Cultured ViolenceNarrative, Social Suffering, and Engendering Human Rights in Contemporary South Africa$
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Rosemary Jolly

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781846312137

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315244

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 06 June 2020

‘Going to the Dogs’: ‘Humanity’ in J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace, The Lives of Animals and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission

‘Going to the Dogs’: ‘Humanity’ in J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace, The Lives of Animals and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter 1 ‘Going to the Dogs’: ‘Humanity’ in J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace, The Lives of Animals and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Source:
Cultured Violence
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846315244.003

In 1986, J. M. Coetzee declared that South Africa's transition from the apartheid rule to democratic government in 1994 presented an opportunity to restore humanity in society, yet in his first post-apartheid novel, Disgrace (1999), he paints a remarkably bleak scenario of South Africa. In particular, it portrays the relations between communities in a negative light, which Derek Attridge argues is a hindrance to, rather than a support of, the enormous task of reconciliation and rebuilding of South Africa. The African National Congress objected to the novel's supposed racism, but ignored the extent to which it explores the systemic aspect of the rape epidemic in South Africa. This chapter compares Disgrace with another Coetzee novel, The Lives of Animals (2001), and shows how the former tackles social violence and the extent to which ‘humanity’ and ‘humanitarianism’ are intertwined with the culture of patriarchy. It also examines how the transcripts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission containing the testimony of victim-survivors highlight the similarity between the perverse uses of non-human animals in place of humans.

Keywords:   J. M. Coetzee, South Africa, Disgrace, rape, social violence, humanity, patriarchy, Lives of Animals, Truth and Reconciliation, non-human animals

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