The Grass is Singing
By Doris Lessing
Doris May Lessing was a British-Zimbabwean novelist. She was born to British parents in Iran, where she lived until 1925. Her family then moved to Southern Rhodesia, where she remained until moving in 1949 to London, England. Her novels include The Grass Is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–1969), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983).
“The Grass is Singing” is a novel by Doris Lessing that explores the life of a white farming family in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) during the 1940s. The story follows the life of Mary Turner, a white woman who marries a poor farmer named Dick Turner and moves to his farm to live with him.
Mary struggles to adapt to the harsh and isolating environment of the farm and soon becomes bored and unhappy with her life. She begins to have an affair with a black servant named Moses and becomes increasingly disenchanted with her husband and her marriage.
As tensions between the white and black communities rise, Mary becomes increasingly isolated and alienated from those around her. She sinks deeper into despair and madness, and eventually commits a violent act that leads to her own death.
The novel explores themes of race, gender, power, and identity, and is considered a powerful commentary on the social and political tensions of colonial Africa. It is also a powerful exploration of the human psyche, and the ways in which isolation and despair can drive a person to the brink of madness. Overall, “The Grass is Singing” is a haunting and thought-provoking work that continues to resonate with readers today.
Mary Turner: The main character of the novel, Mary is a white woman who marries Dick Turner and moves to his farm in Southern Rhodesia. She struggles to adapt to the harsh and isolating environment of the farm and becomes increasingly unhappy and disenchanted with her life. She has an affair with a black servant named Moses and eventually commits a violent act that leads to her own death.
Dick Turner: Mary’s husband, Dick is a poor farmer who owns the farm where they live. He is a simple man who loves his wife but struggles to understand her and the changing social and political landscape of colonial Africa.
Moses: A black servant who works on the Turner farm, Moses is a complex character who is both respected and feared by the other characters in the novel. He has an affair with Mary but ultimately distances himself from her and the violent events that unfold.
Charlie Slatter: A white neighbor and friend of Dick’s, Charlie is a racist and misogynistic man who embodies the worst aspects of colonial society. He is a catalyst for much of the violence and tension in the novel.
Betty Byrd: A white woman who works as a journalist in Southern Rhodesia, Betty is a symbol of the changing times and the growing resistance to colonial rule. She is a friend of Mary’s and serves as a foil to the other white characters in the novel.
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