Power Struggles to Select Characters in "Disgrace" and "The House of the Spirits" Essay

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‘With great Power comes Great responsibility’ this epic and powerful quote has been credited to Stan Lee writer of Spiderman, Franklin D Roosevelt and even Winston Churchill at various stages; however, the first literary record of this can be attributed to Francois-Marie Aroust aka Voltaire.Voltaire a Frenchman who was a writer and public activist who played a singular role in defining the eighteenth-century movement called the Enlightenment (Shank, 2009). In Disgrace and The House of the Spirits, respectively written by J.M Coetzee and Isabel Allende, the characters are promoted and provoked by different power discourses and as their stories unfold in most cases represent the bigger picture in both the political and social context. Disgraceis a novel politically rich that along with Andre Brink and Breyton Breytenbach, J.M. Coetzee was, according to Fred Pfeil, at “the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement within Afrikaner literature and letter”. Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits is a family drama where there is a strong influence of Feminism and Magic Realism, it has the multigenerational family sagas using autobiographical elements, and the families are divergent into race, class and gender. This essay will investigate certain characters in both novels who struggled to cope with power and the ways in which they either succumbed or retaliated to the authority. Desire, Rape and Race are some of the main themes of Disgrace. J.M Coetzee’s novel dealt with the after-math of the Apartheid in Africa, his bold statements implicated to the tension and social issues that was occurring in most rural areas and was neither documented nor acknowledged at the time. Coetzee’s bold statement earned him critical acclaim in the literal world but also flak from his home country: “Coetzee’s fiction has, as we have noted, always had a mixed reception in South Africa, and

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