Literary Essay Assignment

Literary Essay!!!!

 This assignment is based on the novel   Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee . 


  1. Choose one of the topics and approaches provided for you.
  2. Write a working thesis statement for the topic and approach you chose. Your thesis statement must be an analysis, not just a statement of fact about the novel.
  3. Your professor must approve your thesis statement. If you did not receive at least a 70, you need to revise. You are permitted three attempts in this assignment, and the highest grade will be recorded.


Topics/ approaches (Focus on only one of the following, though some may overlap):

  1. Topic 1) Analysis of one of these characters:  Lucy Lurie, Melanie Isaacs or Petrus.

    Example: Analyze not only the chosen character’s personality, but also what roll they played in advancing the overall theme of the novel.

  2. Topic 2) The protagonist’s understanding of the nature of the conflict to be resolved and the hurdles to be overcome.

    Example: It could be hope for change, both in South Africa and in David Lurie.  OR: the disgrace David Lurie has suffered over the affair with a student and how that matches the disgrace South Africa has suffered through apartheid.

  3. Topic 3) The function of setting to reinforce theme and characterization

    Example: post-apartheid South Africa is a setting arguably more important than anything else in the novel. Your outside sources would be bit of history concerning apartheid.
    The use of literary devices to communicate theme: imagery, metaphor, symbolism, foreshadowing, irony