Symbolism In J. M Coetzee's Novel Age Of Iron

1366 Words6 Pages
J.M Coetzee’s Novel Age of Iron is written in the form of a letter from Mrs Curren to her daughter who fled South African apartheid to America. The story takes place in Cape Town during apartheid between 1986-1989 and the title suggests and age of hardness, a period of hardship and cold-blooded hatred towards African indigenous people during this time. This essay will embark on looking at the relationship between Mrs Curren, vercueil and John with reference to how they play a role in her redemption. I will also be looking at the symbolism between Mrs Currens cancer and apartheid. From the beginning of the Novel, we learn that Mrs Curren is dying of bone cancer and is writing a letter to her daughter which she will receive after her death. In her letter to her daughter, she says, “I’m trying to keep my soul alive in times not hospitable to the soul” (130). This is symbolic because Mrs Currens cancer inside her body is a metaphor for the apartheid conditions within South Africa and she feels that the prosperity of her soul is at risk because of apartheids dire circumstances just like her body is at risk due to her cancer. In her letter to her daughter, she continues to express her guilt and shame for her part in apartheid which she feels is a manifestation of cancer inside her. She says, Like every crime, it had its price. That…show more content…
At first, Mrs Curren despises of the boy, John, dismisses authority and shows up at her house uninvited because she thinks he is trouble, which is why she tells Florence that he has to leave. She says, “I did not like him. I do not like him. I look into my heart and nowhere do I find any trace of feeling for him” (78). However, as the novel progresses she realises that he is an important part of her salvation and she must love and accept him. She also begins to ponder on the thought that if she cannot love John then she cannot love her daughter fully
Open Document