The Animals Images In “Disgrace” By John Maxwell Coetzee Sample College Essay

Symbolizing animals is an old practice that persists in modern literature. However, making the symbols too obvious is not considered professional. For example, attributing archetypal feline qualities to a woman or parallelizing cats and witchcraft is considered cheap (Hannah 4). Thus, we can configure that labeling a dog with the symbolic meaning of joyfulness, devotedness, and commitment has also become amateurish in the postmodern era that we live in. In “Disgrace”, a novel by J. M. Coetzee, the author deviates from a standard perception of canines in collective subconscious. Beyond doubt, dogs play a crucial part in the composition – especially when David Lurie, the protagonist, flees Cape Town due to a sexual scandal and settles down at his daughter’s place in he country. Lucy, the protagonist’s daughter, takes care of some of the canines whose names resemble human and who have distinct features of character. However, the presence of dogs in the novel is justified. The author uses the images of dogs over and over again and draws a parallel between the animals and the people’s social status – as well as the disgrace of an individual.

Employing canine personalities – as well as some other non-human animals – in the narrative, Coetzee represents the social issues not only via the narrative itself, but putting the ideas into the characters’ speech. For instance, a discussion between the protagonist and his daughter reveals the symbolic stance of animals as can carriers for people: “Everyone is so cheerful and well-intentioned that after a while you itch to go off and do some raping and pillaging. Or to kick a cat.” (Coetzee 73).

Animals are a joy for some, but they hold an inferior position on default. The author asserts that, in the circumstances, some people can also adopt such a position: working with dog, a person becomes no more than a dog. This is the reason Coetzee introduces the image of Petrus as “the dog-man” (Coetzee 64). Living in the stables, gardening and caring for dogs, Petrus reflectively asserts that he is approximately on a par with the canines. However, as he experiences significant changes in his social status, he points out smartly that he has ceased to be the dog-man: he is neither the man that looks after dogs, nor the human dog anymore.

While Petrus climbs up, David Lurie seems to descend deeper and deeper in disgrace. Coetzee uses canine images as a depiction of the protagonist’s downfall, as well as the demonstration of his self-analysis. Albeit difficulties in rationalizing, he subconsciously draws a parallel between himself and dogs when reflecting on his humiliation after the sexual scandal. Most dramatically, however, the perception of canines as humiliated humans (and vice versa) is shown through the character of Bev Shaw, the one gifted to interact with non-human animals and the one that ended up assisting them in dying. Bev is described as “not a veterinarian but a priestess… trying, absurdly, to lighten the load of Africa’s suffering beasts” (Coetzee 84).

Animals – dogs, for the best part of them – that are due to meet their death soothed and comforted by Bev are transformed in David’s (and the reader’s) mind into human beings. The protagonist cannot but think how disgraceful death is, although in the case of sick dogs it is rather humane. In the novel, death is understood as a universal remedy both for the physical suffering of the sick animals and for the disgrace of humans expelled from the society (George 73).

Some scholars characterize Coetzee’s narrative as “bleak but coherently salvific” (DeKoven 847). Although the final part of the novel creates an impression of a rather doomed future, the reader can sense a trace of relief. On the one hand the reader can see the protagonist’s perception of death as a shameful and even discreditable process that violates the dignity of every living being. On the other hand, David cannot help thinking that even death is more dignified than a living on the outskirts of humanity. His assistance with the death of a dog that he had gotten attached to is a powerful symbol of his acceptance of death. Moreover, the reader can see that he has – metaphorically speaking – found the way to salvation. Death here is not depicted as an ignominious end but as a universal reality, where one can find their salvation in the very worst of times.

To sum it up, the images of dogs – and other non-human animals – are given much weight in J. M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace”. Parallelizing the humans and non-human animals, the author states the disgrace in lives of both. Both animals and humans of lower social status can become punch bags for higher crust. In addition, the disgrace in humiliated humans’ lives is reflected in that of the dogs that suffer from illnesses and overbreeding. Finally, the dogs’ assisted dying is not only understood as a humane touch, but a suitable way of escaping the disgrace of living on one’s path to salvation.

Works Cited

Coetzee, John Maxwell. Disgrace, London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books, 2005. Print.

DeKoven, Marianne. “Going to the Dogs in Disgrace.” English Literary History 76.4 (2009): 847-875. Print.

George, Dianne. Fear of Dogs/Dogs’ Fear in Coetzee’s Disgrace. Explorations in Anthropology 9.1 (2009): 70-74. Print.

Hannah, Barbara. The Archetypal Symbolism of Animals: Lectures Given at the C. G. Jung Institute, Zurich, 1954-1958. Asheville, NC: Chiron Publications, 2006. Print.

Procter & Gamble Company Environmental And SWOT Analysis

Basic information

The Procter & Gamble Company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers/retailers of the ‘fast-moving consumer goods’ FMCG, which primarily specializes in personal and household care. As of 2014, the number of the Company’s manufacturing facilities in the U.S. accounted for thirty-three, with the number of such facilities in other countries has been estimated to amount to forty-one. The Company currently employs 126.000 individuals worldwide. In the same year, P&G reported revenue of $83.7000. The Company’s headquarters are located in Cincinnati, USA.

Internal environment

The Company’s internal environment is characterized by the following key features:

    1. The emphasis is placed on customer understanding. P&G is reported to invest $400-$450 million on an annual basis in researching the dynamics in the global FMCG market, as the part of striving to increase the overall rate of consumers’ satisfaction with the Company’s products.
    2. P&G is committed to implementing the newest technologies within the operational cycle of its manufacturing facilities. In its turn, this explains why the Company’s products have the reputation of being technologically advanced to a high degree. The same explains why P&G was able to receive twenty-two ‘Product of the Year’ awards (Lafley and Martin 5).
    3. The Company’s approach to dealing with the competitive challenges is concerned with the continual expansion of its brand portfolio. As of today, P&G owns fifty different world-famous brand names, such as Tide, Ariel, Mr. Proper, Camay, etc., while planning to acquire the ownership of even more FMCG brand names in the future.

Customer environment

The main qualitative aspects of the Company’s customer environment have to do with the fact that:

  1. P&S invests rather heavily in the diversification of just about every line of its products: “Comprehensive product portfolio helps the company (P&G) to serve diverse customer needs and preferences and increase its overall sales… Diverse product portfolio coupled with well-known brands helps to achieve a balanced revenue platform” (“Procter & Gamble” 8.2.1). In its turn, this points out to the fact that, while trying to ensure its competitiveness, P&G relies on the so-called ‘scale approach’ to addressing the competitive challenges. The fact that this is indeed the case can be illustrated, in regards to the Company’s practice of targeting both: the price-sensitive and not-so-sensitive consumers.
  2. The Company does function in close conjunction with the provisions of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), the main of which has to do with the assumption is that by choosing in favor of conducting their operations in the socially responsible (ethical/environmentally friendly) way, companies are able to contribute towards increasing the rate of these operations’ long-term commercial sustainability (Leavy 10). The Company’s range of CSR-activities is indeed rather extensive. It is understood, of course, that the Company acts in the socially responsible manner for the purpose of strengthening its reputation as the ‘ethically sound’ commercial enterprise, which in turn should prove helpful within the context of P&G trying to achieve high sales

External environment

Among the main competitors of P&G in the global market of FMCG are:

Avon Products, Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Company, CCA Industries, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Mattel, Inc., and Clorox Company. Nevertheless, even though the mentioned companies do pose a certain competitive threat to P&G, it is far from being considered particularly acute. The reason for this is that the Company’s presence in just about every segment of the FMCG market is rather substantial. For example, P&G’s share of the world’s razor-market alone accounts for 70%.

The company’s shares in other FMCG-markets are not quite as impressive, but still considerable: “It (P&G) is the global market leader in the feminine health care category with over 30.00% of the global market share. In the fabric care segment, P&G holds either number one or number two position in the market” (“Procter & Gamble” 8.2.1). This, of course, presupposes that P&G is the company with high bargaining power and, consequently, which serves as yet another indication that it is indeed strongly competitive.

Probably the most notable aspect of the external environment, in regards to P&G, is that the Company is now required to take into consideration the challenges of having to ensure the commercial appeal of its products in the ‘post-industrial’ market of FMCG, the dynamics of which are largely defined by the consumers’ willingness to pay a particular attention to what accounts for the ‘perceived’ value of every individual product. In its turn, this naturally presupposes that the Company’s willingness to invest more than its competitors do into development/research is thoroughly justified.


The Company’s strengths account for:

  1. Diversified product portfolio. Because, as was mentioned earlier, there is a great variety to the lines of the Company’s products, this will result in helping P&G to achieve a new level of functional integrity, in the sense of being able to react promptly to the demands of the market.
  2. Strong foothold in the global market of FMCG. As of today, the Company’s products are sold in more than a hundred-eighty countries in the world, which makes P&G a truly transnational corporation (Morgan par. 1).
  3. Commitment to innovation. P&G invests rather heavily in research and development: “In FY2012, FY2011 and FY2010, the company (P&G) incurred US$2,029 million, US$1,982.00 million and US$1,931.00 million, respectively for R&D activities” (Procter & Gamble 8.2.3).

The counterbalancing weaknesses are:

  1. The limited base of customers. As of 2014, 30% of the Company’s total revenues came about because of P&G’s cooperation with only a few, particularly large retailers, such as Wal-Mart. This has a negative effect on the extent of P&G’s operational resilience.
  2. The high rate of product recalls. As of the same year, the overall rate of product recalls was determined to account for 7% – by the standards of the FMCG-industry, it is rather high.

The main opportunities are:

  1. The growing market for personal care products in Asia. As of the year 2017, the share of Asia in the Company’s revenues is expected to increase from 17% (as it is now) to 25%.
  2. The growing demand for the particularly user-friendly FMCGs, such as the ‘organic’ ones.

The foremost threats faced by the company are:

  1. The continually increased labor-costs in the U.S.
  2. The fact that, as time goes on, the functioning of the cosmetic/personal-care industry in the world becomes the subject of ever more rules and regulations.

Strategy recommendations

Based upon what has been said earlier about the specifics of P&G’s market positioning, the main strategic recommendations to the Company are:

  1. P&G should proceed to expand its already extensive brand-portfolio as the mean of increasing the measure of the Company’s bargaining power.
  2. P&G should strive to increase its market share in Asia, as the world region where the market of FMCG has been experiencing rather rapid growth for some years.

Works Cited

Lafley, Arnold, and Roger Martin. “Instituting a Company-Wide Strategic Conversation at Procter & Gamble.”Strategy & Leadership 41.4 (2013): 4-9. Print.

Leavy, Brian. “Where To Play And How To Win – Strategy Fundamentals The Procter & Gamble Way.” Strategy & Leadership 41.5 (2013): 7-16. Print.

Morgan, Penny 2015, Procter & Gamble: Global Giant in Household, Personal Products. Web.

The Procter & Gamble Company: Consumer Packaged Goods – Company Profile, SWOT & Financial Report. Basingstoke: Progressive Digital Media, 2014. ProQuest. Web.

Myasthenia Gravis Disorder: The Role Of Families And Communities In The Management Of The Disorder

Running head: Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis is a neurodegenerative disorder that weakens the skeletal muscles. The disorder causes emotional stress on the family members because it is difficult to detect in early stages (Mehta, 2014). The diagnostic process of Myasthenia Gravis is a continuous process which is very expensive for the family members. Close monitoring of a person with Myasthenia Gravis is essential for the individual shows varying elevations of antibodies that may result in excessive weakening of muscles. Paul, Mullins and Gilchrist (2009) argue that, a person with Myasthenia Gravis should control their emotions because too much excitement or stress accelerates the impairment of nerve impulse transmission. Close monitoring of the relationship of Myasthenia Gravis person with family members is essential for the avoidance of the creation of conflict or challenging situations (Paul, Mullins & Gilchrist 2009).

The family members have a role of encouraging the Myasthenia Gravis person since they feel dissatisfied with their personal appearance, and have frustration due to immobility. Financial challenges are likely to occur, especially if the person is a breadwinner for the family. In most situations, a Myasthenia Gravis person quits jobs and relies on the help of the family members. Frequent visitation to the doctor increases the expenses of the family since Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic disorder that requires continuous testing of blood antibodies that have acetylcholine receptors (Paul, Nash, Cohen, Gilchrist & Goldstein, 2001).

Adjustments to make for families with Myasthenia Gravis people

Family members of a Myasthenia Gravis person should try to understand about the disorder, especially with the varying weakness on daily or hourly basis. The family has to change the dietary pattern, recreation methods, and observe the medication according to the doctor’s instructions. Attending of health seminars and conferences on Myasthenia Gravis is helpful toward acceptance of the disorders, and recent methods of its management. Attending counselling sessions should also be a positive adjustment in the management of the disorder. The family should learn about ways of managing with limited finances such as enrolling for insurance benefits and compensation (Paul et al., 2001).

The Myasthenia Gravis person should get guidance on joining a social support group that will give continuous updates on management of the disorder. The family members should create sessions of humor in the daily conversations to eliminate unexpected pleasures and generate emotional harmony to the Myasthenia Gravis person. Paul et al. (2001) suggests that, family members should accept all the medical procedures to be conducted on their Myasthenia Gravis person without creating unnecessary tension to the patient. Keeping the record of the changes is essential in order to monitor the progress of medication. Family members should ask questions to the health consultants toward management of Myasthenia Gravis in order to give the best care to one of their family members (Paul et al., 2001).

Role of communities toward management of Myasthenia Gravis

The community has a role of providing support to the families with Myasthenia Gravis people, especially in a reduction of environmental noise. The medical services within the community should be affordable and easy to access. Speech pathologist, dietician, and swallowing specialist within the community should be ready to provide helpful information on the management of Myasthenia Gravis without racial or financial discrimination (Paul, Mullins & Gilchrist 2009). The community should appreciate the efforts of the families with Myasthenia Gravis people and cooperate with them instead of secluding the families from community affairs. Seminars within the community should help the Myasthenia Gravis people toward realizing their goals and showing them the ability of doing community work. Sharing of the positive outcomes of the disease and recognizing the grief within the families help in coping and adapting with the disorder (Paul et al., 2001).

On the other hand, the community may hinder positive adaptation of the Myasthenia Gravis illness. The community may avoid involving the families with the Myasthenia Gravis people from major community activities and even undermining their efforts. The lack of intervention programs such as seminars within the community is a major hindrance toward management of the illness. Additionally, the community may provide misleading information the families or patient on disease medication and measures. Communities which hinder positive strengths of the disorder, result in loneliness, psychological stress, and development of negative attitudes toward living with the illness (Mehta, 2014).

Community response to coping with Myasthenia Gravis

The community has a role of coping with the psychological process of the people with Myasthenia Gravis. According to Mehta (2014), coping mechanisms help in the restoration of life through emotional strength and efficient realization of the life concepts. The community relates the physical illness, physical stress, and psychological stress with the environmental factors in the management of the illness. The residents of Vadodara City, India developed intervention mechanism of promoting health through philosophical attitude in the management of stress (Mehta, 2014). The intervention mechanism emerges from cultural, religious and family traditions. The choice of the Indian community in Vadodara City is due to the high number of chronic illness present in the region. The community is developing intervention mechanisms of dealing with the crisis that lead in the development of low self-esteem, disability, disruption of social, and depletion of financial resources (Mehta, 2014).


Mehta, M. (2014). Coping Resources of Families Suffering From Age Related Illness. International Indexed & Research Journal, 3(53), 1-3.

Paul, R. H., Nash, J. M., Cohen, R. A., Gilchrist, J. M., & Goldstein, J. M. (2001). Quality of life and well‐being of patients with myasthenia gravis. Muscle & nerve, 24(4), 512-516.

Paul, R. H., Mullins, L. L., & Gilchrist, J. M. (2009). The impact of myasthenia gravis on mood, cognitive function, and quality of life. In H. J. Kaminski (Eds.), Myasthenia gravis and related disorders (pp. 279-292). New York, NY: Humana Press.