Question: Justify the title of the novel The Grass is Singing. Or, what picture of social life do you find in the novel “The Grass is Singing”?
The epigraph of the novel tells us that the title comes from T.S. Eliot‘s (1888-1965) famous poem “The Waste Land.” It is almost foolish to portray the meaning of failures and abuses which manifest the weaknesses of our society. Doris Lessing (1919-2013) likes to focus on true cruelty instead of creating something fictional. Her experience helps her portray the crisis between white and black in this novel. We can get a real picture of the society of the time that shows our fear.
Acute racial discrimination
From the beginning of the novel, 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 an important race and the other races are nothing before the white race. Since these societies are classified by race, whites believe that they should not have a normal relationship with other races that is why white people treat other races as less human. They believe that their only relationship with other races must be the master-servant relationship where Africans have to 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.
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 she could not fulfill her real-life. Therefore, she expresses her failure and emptiness of heart through her behavior with her servants and workers. Here Doris Lessing is at the same time a philosopher and psychologist as she looks into the protagonist’s deep psyche and spreads the message that the rough behavior of human beings results from frustration and failure.
Moses is the representative of the oppressed class, but he was against the racial rules. He wanted to be treated as a human. When Tony came to the farm, Moses lost his identity. So, he took revenge on Mary for his humiliation as well as his 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, as well as the seemingly endless quarrel of divisive-race, nationality, gender, and class.
Animosity and antagonism
Mary and Moses were like two antagonists who live in silence because of their past bitterness. In the passage of 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 termination, we can tell that the title of this novel is very much appropriate since the title of the novel symbolizes that malfunctions in society and life cannot last long. Today or tomorrow they will lose forever.