Was Lurie a man to be condemned?
This book is about David Lurie, a successful professor, who is 52 years old. He's divorced twice and he doesn't seem to get over it very well. It looks like he sees women as his own possessions, but whenever there is a woman with self-esteem, he describes her as unattractive. He may does this, because he knows that he is weaker than her and he is afraid that she wouldn't want him.
When he meets Melanie he immediately sees, that she is not a very strong woman. She lets other people, like her father or her boyfriend, tell her what she is should do. So it is easy for Lurie to take her to his house and do with her whatever he wants. In this way, you could easily say, that Lurie is to be condamned. He doesn't care about other people, especially women, he just does whatever pleases him the most.
He knows exactly that Melanie is not strong enough in her mind to resist him in any way. And still, he wants her even though he notices, that she doen's want him at all.
Another point is, that Lurie doesn't confess that he was wrong. He never says that, what happened between him and Melanie, was his responsibility or his fault. He always talks about the two of them but he never admits that it came from him. He was the one who saw her and asked her to come with him. But he dosen't want to understand, that women are human beings with feelings and that he can't do with them whatever he wants to.
Only when his own daughter was raped and he couldn't do anything against it, he starts to understand what he did to Melanie. Lucy doesn't want to talk about it just because it causes too much pain. He sees that it is not easy for a human to get over such a thing and he beginns to think about it. But even then, he doesn't understand what exactly it means for her. He still doesn't see himself as a bad guy and he doesn't really regret his deeds.
Later he sleeps with Bev Shaw, even though he first called her unattractive. He starts to overthink his belives and he respects his daughters opinion. She can't stand him near her, just because he always reminds her of what had happened. Right there, you can see, that he starts to change. Before that he never cared what a woman said but then he listens and leaves her alone. And that he slept with Bev was a change as well. Even though he still doesn't think she looks good, he goes back to her and works in her clinic.He beginns to understand that it's not all about him, but also about other people. He askes Bev for advice and listens to what she says.
Although he changes at the end, it still seems like he is to blame for everything. He can't see that, what he did to Melanie, was wrong and his fault. Of course he knows, that he should not have done it, but he doesn't want to accept the responsibility. He doesn't admit that he played with her like she's some thing you don't have to care about. He never even apologizes to her.
Only his daughter Lucy helps him at least a little bit to understand the pain he caused. She shows him that he did very bad things, but if he really wants to make up for them, he can do that by helping other people. He can never turn back the time, but he can make sure, that other women don't have to make the same painfull experience like her or Melanie. But only if he really tries to help, he is not a man to be condemned.