The Grass Is Singing is a notable literary work by Doris Lessing. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of The Grass Is Singing.
What picture of social life do you find in the novel “The Grass is Singing”?
Or Justify the title of the novel The Grass is Singing.
“The Grass is Singing” is a novel by British novelist Doris Lessing (1919-2013). She paints a vivid picture of social life in colonial Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In the novel, she portrays various complex issues of society, including a racially divided society, power, racial discrimination, injustice, and lawlessness. Through this novel, she gave a groundbreaking statement against the established prejudices of society at that time.
Picture of social life in the novel “The Grass Is Singing: Doris Lessing focuses on true cruelty instead of creating something fictional. Her experience helps portray the crisis between whites and blacks in this novel. The social life is depicted in the novel.
Acute racial discrimination: From the novel’s beginning, the author shows that the Rhodesian society is a mufti-racial consisting of white people and Africans. She shows how white people do not care about the black race because they believe that the white race is important and that the other races are nothing before the white race.
Since these societies are classified by race, whites believe they should not have a normal relationship with other races, so white people treat other races as less human. They believe their only relationship with other races must be the master-servant relationship, where Africans must serve them. Africans must serve whites without complaining about the work or treatment they receive from their masters. Africans have no right to protest or complain.
“When locals take, murder or assault, that is the inclination white individuals have”
This statement references the homicide of Mary Turner and recommends that whites anticipate that locals should have an undermined nature, a desire at the core of the novel’s “dark white” relations.
Dismal representative life of the protagonist: The novel begins with a report of the murder of Mary Turner. Then we go back to Mary’s dismal life and find out how she lost her emotional balance and met with tragic consequences. Mary had a desire but could not fulfill it in real life. Therefore, she expresses her failure and the emptiness of her heart through her behaviour with her servants and workers.
Here, Doris Lessing is simultaneously a philosopher and psychologist as she investigates the protagonist’s deep psyche and spreads the message that the rough behaviour of human beings results from frustration and failure.
Unspeakable oppression: Moses represents the oppressed class but is against the racial rules. He wanted to be treated as a human. When Tony came to the farm, Moses lost his identity. So, he avenged Mary for his humiliation and the entire oppressed race.
Failed conjugal life: The Grass Is Singing is a dark and frightening analysis of a failed marriage that focuses on the abusive sexual desire of the white and the fear of black power and energy. The novel’s treatment of Mary and Dick Turner’s tragic loss of fate becomes an allegory of the misfortune of the white people throughout Africa. This is a serious study of a woman’s moral decline, and this moral depravity represents the collapse of white rule in Africa and the seemingly endless quarrel of divisive race, nationality, gender, and class.
Animosity and antagonism: Mary and Moses are like two antagonists who live in silence because of their past bitterness. In the passage about Mary’s helplessness and fear, the author tells us that the evil is not this woman, nor is there anything wrong with her nor her husband, and by implication, not even this wicked, angry black man, but the evil was all around them. Such a life of Mary is the emblem of panic in social and personal life.
In conclusion, “The Grass is Singing” presents a grim and restless picture of social life in a racially divided colonial society. The novel emphasizes the injurious effects of prejudice, oppression, and isolation on individuals’ lives. It also focuses on the complexities of identity and relationships. The novel’s title conveys that malfunctions in society and life cannot last long. Today or tomorrow, they will lose forever.