Return to the farm : landscape as a site for the interrogation of identity in three works of J.M. Coetzee.
The dissertation focuses on 1. M. Coetzee's novels The Life and Times of Michael K., Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life and Disgrace, analysing the central protagonists' engagement with the landscape in general and specifically focussing on the farm as a site on which identities are interrogated. By way of introduction the two central themes, landscape and identity are highlighted with respect to Coetzee's theoretical work, specifically White Writing and Doubling the Point. Introductory discussion on the 'farm novel' and 'autobiography' is also given in the first chapter. In the second chapter, Boyhood is examined as an influential text in the rereading of Coetzee's allegorical work Michael K. The intention is to elucidate the power relations which underlie the earlier novel by means of a comparative analysis of the mother-child, father-child culture-child and author-text relationships found in Boyhood. Consideration of Coetzee's critical analysis of Olive Schreiner's Story of an African Farm is given towards establishing links between Coetzee's fiction and the farm novel genre. The third chapter focuses on Disgrace as 'another take' on the farm novel. The position of the white male 'self' in post-apartheid South Africa is interrogated through an analysis of the protagonist David Lurie's fictional' return to the farm.' 'Subject'/ 'other' relations are also discussed with a view to understanding identity formation. In the final chapter, conclusions are drawn regarding the relationship between Coetzee's fiction and the farm novel genre. Finally, the failure of lineal consciousness and the' self becoming redundant are considered.