Here, are as significant as the similarities. Their contrasting

Here,
Afrikaner women organise points to the centrality of gender politics within
antiracist, anticolonial struggles. Mrs Curren is fully aware of her own
history and the ill-doings of her white ancestors and their oppression. Just
like the mother, the daughter is disgusted with this immoral dominance which
drives her to another city for a peaceful living. Mrs. Curren sets off on a
journey where everything is questioned. But in Magda’s case, she is totally
blind of all the destruction caused by her father and her ancestor. This
ignorance created a storm in her life once she come out of her shell. Though
she encounter the real crisis, the poor Magda still develops hope to survive in
that situation. Little did she know, all the cruelty would lead herself
crazier.

Coetzee’s
works demonstrate how the practise of colonialism takes forms in different
times and places. The differences in the depiction of Magda and Curren are as
significant as the similarities. Their contrasting reactions to the oppression
in apartheid era are particularly noteworthy. Magda’s life typifies the
physical dominance and solipsistic power of  both the African and Afrikaner men. Mrs
Curren’s life characterises the rhetorical dominance and psychic disturbance of
her contemporary African society.

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Magda’s
desperate need to re-establish the vicious African world takes her on a psychic
journey in which the explorer of unknown lands becomes an explorer of her own
unexamined interiority. The journey begins with the hallucination of her
father’s remarriage and evolves into an apocalyptic revelation confirming her
existence and beliefs. Magda’s psychic journey can be interpreted as the
solitary mastering soul maintains its interior in a depth of darkness unknown
to others.

 When its interior is revealed to light, it can
no longer exist in solitary darkness. Usually this kind of solitary soul asserts
its mastery over the other, and the paradoxical relationship of master and
slave is born. After her father’s death, Magda’s delirium gradually subsides,
and she begins to regain her strength and senses, but she finds that she has lost
her position of mastery over her servants. Klein Anna as a black female servant
has been muted and conquered by both her husband and Magda’s father. Even as a
white Afrikaner lady, Magda becomes subservient to her father and her servant
Hendrick.  This shows that even as an Afrikaner
woman she cannot relish their power and has to face oppression and hatred from
both black and white male.

There
is no dominating quality in Mrs Curren either. Like Magda, Mrs. Curren too
hallucinates after her house is covered with the blood of John, Bheki’s friend.
She pities for the people who have lost blood in the protest while the blood
inside her suck all the energy. This shows there is no killer instinct in them,
though they were inherited the clan of ruling party. That’s why both of them
are criticized as a parody, an anti-heroines. Their physical and emotional
characteristics are antithetical to the Afrikaner ideal. Though the
degrading  tortures inflicted on Magda in
the name of supremacy, at last she recognizes her abject position and is
reduced to a poor physical presence, past shame, past meaning, past human
languages and there is no way of dying allowed to her, except like a mad who
talks to sky-god. This novel unveil the ruining state of an individual because
of its ambiance.

 On the contrary to this, Age of Iron describes the wrecking state of the land and how its
affect one’s individual mind. The Cape Town is a land where countless sons and
daughters grow up without their father or mother and all too many children
don’t grow old, because of tyrannical apartheid system. Mrs Curren points out
how this land collapsed in the name of power and lost all of its emotional
bonding. Up until the death of Bheki and John, she restrained herself from the
conflicts in the world around her. As cancer approaches, she begins to look
back on her life and the country. Mrs Curren has come to inquiry her training
as a classicist and her part in disseminating a regime that created that age of
iron. Her conventional events has been disrupted by her emotional involvement
with the people she knew who have a close relationship with the political havoc
storming in the country.

After
she eyewitnesses the murder of John in her house, she literally hates her home and
refuse to lives in it. The one which is filled with all her personal
belongings, materials objects and memories, as an extension of her body, makes
her feel filthy and insecure place now. She discover that there is no shelter
in and outside of the country. It is also rooted in unequal power relations
between men and women, and is therefore connected to social and economic
inequality. Both of his characters are having an expression of love which is
not love for a person, but a tenderness, an empathy, with the very idea of life
itself.  

Both
of them have different attitude on the concept of death. Magda feels that even
the death cannot give inner peace to her. For she is emotionally losing all her
human perspectives and physically wrecked, she finds death as less painful and
easy-going thing. She says, “I welcome death as a version of life in which I
will not be myself.” (HC 58) But for Mrs Curren, the terror of violence
petrified her more than any terminal disease. The courage she had when she
heard about cancer is much better than witnessing the murder of two young
children. And she felt like it haunted her for life and has taken her soul out
the body than the slow killing process of cancer. Mrs Curren says, “I was born a
slave and I will most certainly die a slave. A life in fetters, a death in
fetters: that is part of the price, not to be quibbled at, not to be whined
about.” (AI 165)

  Mrs Curren referred to the male dominance as
death driven male constructions. Magda subtly ridicules the male gender by
pointing out to her father’s mistake. She says, “I was born into a language of
hierarchy, of distance and perspective. It was my father tongue” (HC 106) and “It
is not speech that makes man man but the speech of others” (HC 137)

Through
the technique of fantasy and reality used in In the Heart of Country Coetzee tries to parallel Magda’s demented
fantasizing with the prodigious myth-making of white South Africa that pictures
his major preoccupation. In Age of Iron,
Mrs. Curren is letting herself expose to the reality rather than cloistered
within her house. There is lot of allegories in Coetzee’s writing and he also
takes themes from the Bible, especially the concept of love your enemies.

Gender
is a social construction and it is used by human beings to make it easier to
handle the world around and make sense of it. The society should perceive
gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals. Instead of
co-existence, women and men are unequal in every conceivable way in endless
circumstances, both immediate and enduring, by both objective criteria and
subjective experience. A recurring issue concerns the degree to which violence
is an expression or result of gender inequality or, alternatively, is a cause
of inequality. The separate roles of rape, harassment, and domestic violence,
and their relationships to each other are another critical perspective.

  In consequence of being so classified,
individual women and their experiences of themselves are changed by being so
classified. Women in flight are the product of social conditions in their
homelands. In studies of “race,” men of colour stood as the universal racial
subject, whereas in studies of “gender,” the white women were left out of both
narratives, rendered invisible both as racial and as gendered subjects (Glenn ).
This unequal rights make women increasingly vulnerable to violence. Be it
African or Afrikaner women, they clearly illustrates the sexual subjugation and
violence to which women remain exposed.

As the hypothesis
stated, even though the protagonists are daughters of a white father or mother
of a white daughter, they have to get through the rough phase in male dominance
world. Whether the woman is ignorant or a classical professor, they are nothing
but meagre in the eyes of male gender. Both black African and white Afrikaner
used them as tool to inflict pain and look down on all their needs and freedom.
Coetzee portrays apartheid and post-apartheid African situation with its many
political and social changes. The situation keep gets worse not only for the
black women but also for the white women who is not privileged although they
have a white skin colour. Magda and Mrs. Curren become victim of this situation
and undergo too much pain and difficulties. They are exposed to humiliation,
rape and degradation. These are the women who suffered from unbearable
condition of silence. This voiceless and unexpressed nature of women made the
male gender to take advantage of their fragile sexuality. This dissertation can
be further speculating on eco-criticism, coloniser perspective and political
view of that period. In reference to an online sources, it is noted that,
Elizabeth Lowry states that Coetzee aims to question the status and structures
of colonial and post-colonial power from as many vantage points as possible