A Hero in Disgrace: The patterns of a hero in David Lurie’s twist of fate

In this article I look at J.M Coetzee’s Disgrace from a somewhat different perspective. I debate that, in spite of his less than heroic attributes, David Lurie is the protagonist of an adventure and follows Joseph Campbell’s pattern of the hero’s ditto. In addition, the purpose of David Lurie’s journey lies in self-realization and self-reinvention, which isn’t common for the hero’s journey. The Ultimate Boon is usually something else but different times call for different heroes. In J.M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading, Derek Attridge implies that David Lurie grows on the reader through the entire novel and is a better person at the end (Attridge 183). This means that that David Lurie experiences a process personally which changes him in a positive direction. Besides Campbell’s theory, the theories of Propp and Stanford are presented and put to good use as theoretical background. Because this dissertation relates to both narratology and structuralism I provide short explanations of these 2 branches of literature criticism as presented in Peter Barry’s Beginning Theory. Then I talk about relevant passages from Disgrace regarding the various stages of the hero’s journey as described by Campbell. I do so in the order they are presented in Campbell’s book…

Contents: A Hero in Disgrace: The patterns of a hero in David Lurie’s twist of fate

The stages of the Hero’s journey
The Call to Adventure
The Refusal of the Call
Supernatural Aid
The Crossing of the First Threshold
The Belly of the Whale
The Road of Trials
The Meeting With the Goddess
Woman as a Temptress
Atonement with the Father
The Ultimate Boon
Refusal of the Return
The Magic Flight
Rescue from Without
The Crossing of the Return Threshold
Master of the Two Worlds
Freedom to live…

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