I just finished reading Rita Barnard's excellent essay, "J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace and the South African Pastoral." Written in the sort of clear-yet-erudite prose one does not encounter nearly as often as one would like, Barnard's paper examines the ways in which Coetzee's language conveys alienation and the impossibility of cultural translation in the "new South Africa," while thoughtfully touching upon the book's play on the plaasroman form and the troubling presence of potentially racist content. In stark contrast to Florance Strattion's extremely negative reading of David Lurie's racist comments, however, Barnard views the former professor's "cartoonish colonial stereotypes" and his "ridiculous, hopelessly dated vocabulary" as signs not of intolerance but of a failure to effectively translate the traumatic experience of the attack linguistically or culturally (211). I am also impressed by the critic's refusal to "beat [the novel's final scene] into a convenient shape with a critical shovel," a decision that encourages reader to continue asking the questions Coetzee raises in his novel. Bravo, Rita!
For tomorrow: Read another article or, if I'd like, work on my bibliography or watch Dust.
Barnard, Rita. "J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace and the South African Pastoral." Contemporary Literature 44.2 (2003): 199-224.