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Disgrace
Course:Eng 102
Essay by tomeng
2/10/2013

            The story of David Lurie’s, college professor’s, life is actually a preaching story. From his story of life that the author narrates, readers are allowed to criticize the character, imagine (put) yourselves in his place and consider what is good and what is bad, what is moral and what is immoral. As long as the story is narrated neutrally, there was no author’s opinion; this opportunity is given to the reader. Therefore, I, as a reader of the novel, can say some of my visions on David’s situation as much as I understand the novel. Through the character’s life we can see that immorality, misusing of power, spiritual fall lead to Disgrace.
            One of David’s problems is being self-centered. For example, as we can see from his personal life, he was divorced two times. “For a man of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he has, to his mind, solved the problem of sex rather well”(1). This fact probably says itself. Since he could not keep any of his marriages saved, his selfishness is obvious. After unsuccessful marriages David believes that sex is the only thing he wants from women. It is another sign that throughout all of his marriages he was focused on satisfying his personal needs. Being a professor of religious studies, David is opposite to his job beliefs. He hates his job and does it only for money. It seems like there is nothing common between him and his job. Instead, as he believes that having a sex is a main goal to do, he decides to spend the rest with prostitutes, who in his opinion are what exactly he needs: working hard in school and having fun with prostitutes as an “oasis of luxe et volupte”(1). David compares sexual acts with prostitutes as a place where he can feel comfortable and have rest from the world. It also gives him a satisfaction of misusing a power.
            Having relationships with prostitutes is another breaking moment in his life. Once David used to be with one prostitute he liked (Soraya), he was sure that he has a power on her since she is just a prostitute. Money and gifts are tools in his hands to use Soraya and have power on her. . He was disappointed after try to connect with Soraya out of a brothel by calling her to her house. To his surprise, Soraya had a family and her own personal life, including a husband. As a matter of fact, Soraya the prostitute, does not belong to David only. “He puts down the telephone. A shadow of envy passes over him for the husband he has never seen”(10). Professor is upset of this matter. Professor realized that he had no power on the prostitute. Experiencing this matter is a breaking moment to his beliefs of matter of sex since prostitutes cannot give David full satisfaction on having a power.
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            David continues spiritual fall. After a while, Professor finds another passion. His eye catches a young lady, his student Melanie. He finds her naïve and young. Moreover he has a power on her as a professor. Regarding these criterias, David decides to invite her home, seduces her to have a sexual relationship with him. At this moment Professor acts as an animal, not thinking about consequences or how immoral it is. He makes love with her several more times. Professor thinks he finally found what he wants in deed, a young student girl who is naïve to be led and hunger for sexual experience. David knows rationally that his affair with Melanie will be disastrous for him professionally, but he proceeds to seduce her nevertheless. “People will find out, they always do; there will be whispering, there might even be scandal”(27). This shows he is no longer using logic to govern his sexuality as he was previously (when "he had solved the problem of sexuality rather well"), that he is instead allowing his sexuality to govern his actions. That is what happens as a result, Melanie withdraws from a college, parents and people find out what happened between the professor and the student girl. But even standing before the judge David refuses to say he was wrong, refuses to take blame for misusing his power in having affair with Melanie. He was satisfied what he did and upset that informal relationships with the girl are finished for him. David Lurie is both an immoral sexual predator and the victim of his own sexual desires.
            Finally, David finds disgrace at a farm of a black guy, Petrus. He fails as a father, he loses all his power, his life turns badly negative to him. His own daughter, Lucy, becomes an object to mock and rape of black guys. Former professor is powerless in this situation. Lucy resists complaining or report about rape case in spite of David’s insisting. Lucy calls him “David”, not Dad, which shows they do not have a good relationship as father-daughter. He did not do anything good to provide her life with good future but still deserves to command her just for being her own father. Instead, Lucy admits to be a victim. She even admits to bear a child who was a just consequence of a rape to be married with Petrus in return. It is unbelievable and shame for David as for father and white guy but does not act against Lucy’s decision nevertheless. “Former seducer” even finds disgrace in having a sexual relationship with a woman who is not attractive to him and he has no pleasure in her, he just does it.
            As a result, David’s disgrace does not change him, does not change his nature, his attitude to life and women. During leaving the farm Lurie goes to Melanie’s father to excuse himself. Ex- professor says to Melanie’s father that the affair was not his fault, nothing else like he feels sorry and apologizes. Ex-professor accepts invitation for dinner in hope of to see Melanie again. David did not act frankly on dinner. He was confused of praying situation and refuses to accept God as forgiver from Melanie’s believing in God parents, just saying he is not believer. Thus, he rejects their idea of God. It is again confirms that David does not grow spiritually and thinks as before. At the farm David does not learn anything from there. Living and working at the farm does not change David morally. People around him can see that he has not changed his attitude about women and remind him of his affair but in his mind he wants to solve the problem and goes to see Melanie again, facing a negative from her boyfriend as a result. During his story of life, he fails many times because he thinks irrationally. He fails as a husband, as a professor, as a father, as a lover, as a personality.
            In his case he could live happy staying in a marriage I guess. What if he tried not to satisfy only his animal instincts being married? He would probably save his marriage being not so selfish and willing to have a power. He could also avoid being involved in affair by living for somebody else like for his kids. Thus, he would save her daughter from her destiny to be raped by black guys and earned a respect from her to obey. His problem that he could not manage and control his sexual desires misusing a power are in the center of events. Second, he just ignored the morality. Instead of being selfish he’d better to work on his self-control, morality and spiritual growth.

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