What truth is revealed through the murder of Mary by Moses

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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 truth is exposed through the murder of Mary by Moses, the native worker in The Grass is Singing?
Or. What truth is revealed through the murder of Mary by Moses?

Doris Lessing’s (1919-2013) novel, “The Grass is Singing” (1956), deals with the complexities of race, power dynamics, and the human psyche in colonial Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The murder of Mary Turner by Moses, a native worker, reveals several profound truths about society and the characters portrayed in the novel.

Racial Hierarchies and Oppression: The murder highlights colonial Rhodesia’s deeply implanted racial hierarchies, where white settlers hold immense power over the native African population. Mary’s maltreatment of Moses exemplifies the greater domination of native workers under the colonial regime. The narrator describes Mary’s attitude towards the houseboys in the following manner.

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.

Failed Communication: The tragedy reveals the characters’ inability to connect successfully across racial and cultural boundaries. Mary and Moses’ misconceptions and misinterpretations exemplify the greater communication gaps between white settlers and native Africans. It is evident in the following lines.

What had happened was that the formal pattern of black-and-white, mistress-and-servant, had been broken by the personal relation; and when a white man in Africa by accident looks into the eyes of a native and sees the human being (which it is his chief preoccupation to avoid), his sense of guilt, which he denies, fumes up in resentment and he brings down the whip.

Symbolic Liberation and Rebellion: Moses’ murder can be interpreted as a symbolic resistance against oppressive white dominance. His violence is a depraved form of empowerment for a marginalized and oppressed indigenous person.

Narrative of Fear and Prejudice: According to the novel, fear and prejudice increase tensions between different racial groups. The white settlers’ fear of the native population and the indigenous bitterness of their oppressors create a toxic environment that eventually leads to tragedy.

Finally, Moses’ murder of Mary in “The Grass is Singing” reveals an interconnected series of facts, including racial oppression, poor communication, psychological agony, and the greater societal impact of colonialism. The actions and motivations of the characters serve as a lens through which the story criticizes the destructive effects of power dynamics and racism in colonial society.