In J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, why doesn't Lucy report her rape?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Disgrace is an award-winning 1999 novel by J.M. Coetzee.

In the novel, David Lurie goes to live with his daughter Lucy after he is fired from teaching for sleeping with a student. Lucy is a lesbian and a farmer, and tries to help her father deal with his personal issues. When she is raped, David is shocked and furious, and wants her to press charges against the rapists, but she refuses.

Lucy's acceptance of the rape and her pregnancy from it is an example of her attitudes towards men and women, and towards societal pressures. She sees the rape as a method of communication, not strictly violent assault, as the men around her do not accept her lesbian lifestyle. Lucy also accepts her pregnancy because she believes that her rapist unconsciously wished to father a child: "They were not raping, they were mating" (Google Books). Lucy's attitude is pragmatic and somewhat passive, but she also seems to accept herself as a part of a larger world without needing to subjugate herself to it; after the rape, Lucy continues to live on her farm according to her own principles, refusing to allow the rape to define her life.

user6430488 | Student

The novel moves on more than one level. It is moving on a real level and a historical level. Many of the references can be connected to the plot but also be connected in a historical context.
for instance: "Confessions, apologies: Why this thirst for abasement? A hush falls. They circle around him like hunters who have cornered a strange beast and do not know how to finish it off." first of all this is a description of David and how he is being treated, but definitely also a description of Post-Apartheid - the remains of Apartheid.