Searching for Self-identity: A Postcolonial Study of J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace

Miaomiao WANG


Nobel laureate, South African writer, J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace is endowed with far reaching meanings. From the postcolonial perspective, the novel illustrates the endeavor of both colonizers and the colonized for harmony in the post apartheid South Africa. Disgrace portrays a scene that colonialists’ one-time privilege and policies leave a gaping wound not only for the Black but also for the White themselves through conflicts and collisions between them. It is difficult for them to cope with a changing world in an apartheid-free South Africa. On one hand, the once dominant White could not escape from the shadow of their previous hegemony in colonial time. On the other hand, the Black violated the White to assimilate the White, and to give chances the White for redemptions rather than to pour their hatred, and to exhibit their authority. Moreover, the scar of the White’s original sin in people’s heart could not be healed so quickly that the White carries on the burden of redemption. Therefore, when colonialist policies fade away, to survive in post-apartheid South Africa, the Black and the White living become disoriented and helpless. Both of them cannot help but to expiate and start on a long and painful journey to search for self-identity. They are both searching for a new way to live in coexistence equally and peacefully. To some extent, Disgrace expresses a closure on the wake of a smart colonialism past, and an outlet for the Black and the White to search for a new way to coexist.



Disgrace; Self-identity; Colonialism; Post-colonialism

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