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As Stratton points out, the primary determinate for Davids identity is his sexuality (2002, p.83).
Likewise, it is his Apartheid political grounding (he is 52, this means he has lived most of his life as the privileged race in an Apartheid political system) that supports his theory that his actions were justified, its fine to be a servant of Eros (p.52), provided youre serving Eros with a non white, socially inferior young woman.
At the same time the more modern social and political values, those of post-Apartheid South Africa, those values that are beginning to form the basis for a new identity, tell him that she is too young, that he shouldnt, and that those actions are not his right. Coetzees Disgrace, ARIEL, vol.33, no.3-4, pp.83-95 Recount of Whole Group Teaching Approaches The lesson started with modelled reading.
The effects of this social value are not only evident in his state of disgrace after the tribunal hearing (p.52), but also in his relationship with his daughter and ex wife.
Davids inability to maintain healthy relationships the women in his life are a further effect of the patriarchal values that he embodies.
Davids inbuilt Apartheid influences (even if he does not agree with Apartheid principles) cause him not to desire the blonde white girl, because he knows he cant get away with having her, Melanie however, may be desired because not only is David male, he is also white and in a position to exercise his power and authority, as a university professor having an affair with a young female (black) student to satisfy his sexual desires (Kossew, 2003, p.156).
The racial politics (Kossew 2003, p.156) of Davids generation are further emphasised by comparing Lucys rape with Melanies rape.
Coetzees Disgrace shows how personal identity is grounded in the social and the political.
Coetzees Disgrace (1999), through the novels protagonist David Lurie, explores the effect that social and political conventions have in creating the foundation of personal identity.
Through David Lourie, Coetzee examines the detrimental effect that racial and sexually prejudiced political and social agendas can have upon both the privileged and underprivileged people who are subjected to these belief systems.
This is reflected in David by both the construct of his original identity, and in his identity when it becomes radically destabilised as a consequence of social and political change.