What metaphors and similes can be found in Disgrace?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Coetzee employs metaphor and simile both in the text of Disgrace. We can look to the discrete, small scale metaphors and similes created in the langauge of the novel as well as structural metaphors created by resonances from section to section in the narrative.

Here, describing Lurie's emotional needs, Coetzee uses this simile: 

His needs turn out to be quite light, after all, light and fleeting, like those of a butterfly. (p5)

Later in the same paragraph, another simile is used to describe Lurie's contentment as "a ground base of contentedness, like the hum of the traffic that lulls the city-dweller to sleep, or like the silence of the night to countryfolk."

An example of metaphor from Disgrace comes when Lurie has slept with Bev Shaw and thinks, "Let her gaze her fill on her Romeo..." 

When analyzing the novel as a whole, we can view the rape of Lucy as a metaphor for the legally and morally taboo relationship Lurie has with Melanie in the novel's first half. One episode reflects, comments on and deepens the meaning of the other, so we can indentify them as having a metaphorical relationship to one another. The rape, in one way to reading the novel, is a representation of the taboo relationship. 

Many more similes and metaphors are present in the novel, as are many other forms of figurative language.