The main theme of Disgrace is exploitation, both at the personal and societal level. Do you agree?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I personally would argue that there are other themes that are equally as important as exploitation, and that perhaps we could argue sex is more important than exploitation. However, if we think about it, it is possible to suggest that the two themes of sex and exploitation go hand in hand. There is surely something exploitative about David Lurie's illicit relationship with Melanie, even though she apparently does little to dissuade him. Interestingly, we could argue that this act of exploitation finds its parallel with the rape of Lucy, as just as David exploits Melanie, so too do Lucy's assailants exploit her weakness and vulnerability to show their power over her in the only way that society enables them to do so.

Just as the novel presents us with personal examples of exploitation, through its treatment of South Africa and the racial divide that causes so many problems, it is clear that it looks at it in a societal manner as well. The hardships and inequality experienced by the blacks in this novel show the result of the exploitation of riches and wealth, and also the unequal and impartial manner in which justice is dealt with in this story. Exploitation is definitely a very strong theme in this novel.

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