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.
Trace the autobiographical elements in The Grass is Singing.
Or, Do you find autobiographical elements in The Grass is Singing?
Autobiographical elements are personal experiences, memories, and emotions depicted in a creative work reflecting the writer’s experiences and observations. Doris Lessing’s (1919-2013) novel, “The Grass is Singing” (1956), contains several autobiographical elements.
Setting and Background: The novel is in Lessing’s birthplace, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The story depicted in this book reflects the racial segregation and imbalances that existed during her upbringing.
Colonial Upbringing: The protagonist of the novel, Mary, grew up on an African farm, like Lessing’s own upbringing on a farm. Mary’s depression and lack of connection with her surroundings parallel Lessing’s isolation in a racially divided society. While narrating Mary’s childhood, the narrator explains the following:
For Mary, the word ‘Home’ spoken nostalgically meant England, although both her parents were South Africans and had never been to England.
Isolation and Loneliness: Mary’s isolation on the farm resembles Lessing’s isolation as a young white girl in a large black community. Lessing’s loneliness is reflected in Mary’s struggle with self-alienation.
Marital Struggles: Mary experiences an unhappy married life with Dick Turner due to their character and cultural background differences. Similarly, Lessing’s first marriage with a German lawyer, Gottfried Lessing, seemed challenging and ended in divorce, which likely influenced her portrayal of marital clash in the novel.
Racial Prejudices and Confrontation: The novel’s depictions of prejudices and violence reflect the racial tensions Lessing saw and experienced during her period in Africa. Lessing’s views of white farmers’ unjust treatment of black workers are woven into the novel’s depiction of the brutal reality of colonialism.
That lazy insolence stung her into an inarticulate rage. She opened her mouth to storm at him, but remained speechless. And she saw in his eyes that sullen resentment, and—what put the finishing touch to it—amused contempt.
Finally, “The Grass is Singing” is full of autobiographical elements. In her novel, Lessing narrates her life experiences in Southern Rhodesia, delving into the complexities of race, gender, and colonialism.