Vulnerability of Female Characters

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Vulnerability of Female Characters The traumatic transition between the apartheid and the post apartheid period is presented in Lewis Desoto’s A Blade of Grass and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace. During this period, the black Africans were beginning to assert themselves and seize power from the Caucasian minority. As a result of this shift in power, the female protagonists, Marit in A Blade of Grass and Lucy in Disgrace, experience a loss. In addition, many Caucasians including the female protagonists in both texts felt some kind of racial guilt for what transpired in the past. In Disgrace and A Blade of Grass the female characters who reflect this racial guilt experience a loss, which leads to a tense friendship with a black African character that is resolved only to a degree by the novel’s conclusion. Firstly, Marit in A Blade of Grass and Lucy in Disgrace feel racial guilt and experience a loss. To begin, Marit believes that “blacks deserve fair treatment and are not receiving it” (Desoto, 276), and Lucy recounts a story where “blacks were beaten and evicted from their homes” which is “inhumane” (Coetzee, 124). In addition, both characters endure a loss: Marit’s husband, Ben, is killed by a land mine that he runs over while driving, and Lucy is raped by several black African males. Following these instances, Marit is demoralized and contemplates “returning to Johannesburg” (Desoto, 111), and Lucy begins neglecting responsibility on the farm and stays in solitude all day and does not associate herself with anyone including her father, which is evident through the narrator’s comment, “Lucy keeps to herself, expresses no feelings, shows no interest in anything around her” (Coetzee, 114). Furthermore, these incidents evoke different reactions from each character. Marit perseveres, running the farm independently with the assistance of her black maid Tembi, which
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