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Disgrace- Novel- Characters, Settings, Themes

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

Work Introduction:

Disgrace by J M Coetzee is a controversial novel thus it has received a lot of critical comments. Yet, this novel has won the second Booker Prize for Coetzee. Some of the important criticisms are, Disgrace is a novel that depicts racist stereotypes by the South African human rights commission; “the fact that the rapists are black, and that the upcoming black farmworker who lives close to his daughter isn’t cooperative in catching them, provoked anger in the upper echelons of South Africa’s post-apartheid government” in an article All about John.

Characters List:

David Lurie- Age 52, twice divorced, adjunct professor of Communications at Cape technical University in Cape Town. (The protagonist of the novel)

Lucy Lurie- The only daughter of David Lurie (with his first Wife). She lives in the town of Salem in the Eastern Cape. She owns a house and a farm. She is a lesbian and her girlfriend’s name is Helen.

Petrus- Is a native of the place Salem. He is a co-worker on Lucy’s farm and also her friend. He is building his own house and is about to leave his job at Lucy’s.

Melanie Issacs- a student in David’s college from George. She is around 20 yrs old, dark, small, and a thin girl with whom David has a relationship.

Soraya- She is a prostitute in the Windsor Mansons, Cape Town. She is tall and slim, with long black hair and dark liquid eyes with honey-brown skin. David meets her 90 minutes per week on Thursdays.

Bev Shaw- The wife of Mr. Shaw, she is around 50 years old and works in a dog clinic. She is short with a mass of curls and a hidden neck with an unattractive look.

Other characters:

Mr. Shaw; Rosalind; Mr. Issacs; Mr. Chairman; Mathabane; Dr. Faroida Rassool; Hakim; Ma van Wyx.


The time period of the novel is 1998 i.e. post-apartheid period. The places seen in this novel are Cape Town, The Town of Salem, Grahamstown, and George.


· Post-Apartheid effect

· Racism

· Feminism

· Mimesis

· Queer Theory

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