Conscious Suspension of ‘Stranger Danger’: Fetishism in Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
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This paper explores the politics of fetishism in J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace. It contends that the characters in Coetzee’s novel appear to consciously suspend the danger that is often associated with strangers. They willingly interact with those in their neighborhoods and consciously suppress the warnings of mishaps or misfortune that such strange encounters may entail. This study is a textual analysis of the selected text to examine all the encounters, specifically those between Lucy and the natives, as well as those of Bev Shaw with David Lurie. In the post-colonial period, such abnormal behavior notably reveals a distinct feature of fetishism among the colonizer and the colonized, as it does in Coetzee’s characters. In order to achieve this objective, Coetzee’s novel is the primary text, while Sara Ahmed’s concepts of “Stranger Fetishism” and “Encounters” serve as a theoretical framework for this investigation. The objective of this research is to analyze the ambiguities of characters in the novel, such as Lucy’s passive response to her rape and Bev’s ironic behavior with David. Eventually, the discussion leads to the unfolding of their personal intents, which are deliberately kept undercover to satisfy their personal interests. This research intervenes in the current scholarship on postcolonial studies by bringing fresh reading perspectives on Coetzee’s text.