Rape - A Love Story? Representations of Rape in Disgrace, Cereus Blooms at Night, Atonement, and Rape: A Love Story


Summary, in English

This thesis examines the representation of rape in J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999), Shani Motoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night (1996), Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001), and Joyce Carol Oates’ Rape: A Love Story (2003). The analysis of the novels is introduced by a background chapter that outlines the literary history of the rape metaphor and feminist attitudes towards the representation and definition of rape. Following this, the rape scenes iof the novels are analysed in individual chapters. The Scenes are explored in their relation to intertextuality and narrative perspectives, which connect the rapes to a canonical Western framework for the metaphor of rape in literature. In addition, the critical response to the novels and the lack thereof, are explored in their function of cultivating the metaphor of rape. Finally, the argument is made that the rapes in Disgrace, Cereus Blooms at Night and Atonement mirror the traditional metaphorization of rape in literature in varying ways. However, Rape: A Love Story, which lacks critical response, reverses this tradition through its representation of rape and therefore disables the metaphorization process.


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Cian Duffy (Professor)