In this novel, apartheid, the separation of the black and white races in South Africa, is coming to an end. Under apartheid, the black population had no rights and were powerless against the wealthy white population. David Lurie represents the powerful in the novel who now must accept the changes that occur with the end of apartheid. This is best seen when David's daughter refuses to prosecute the men who rape her. She feels the men who raped her did so to assert the only kind of authority they had in their repressive society. It's ironic that Lurie demands justice for his daughter in a society that does not extend justice to the largest part of its population.