Post Colonial Perception on the Grass Is Singing

4315 Words Feb 19th, 2013 18 Pages
A Post-Colonial Analysis of Doris Lessing’s

The Grass Is Singing

The Grass Is Singing, first published in 1950, was an international success. The story focuses on Mary Turner, the wife of a farmer, who is found murdered on the porch of her home. After her body is found, we are taken back to her younger days and slowly discover what happened to her. The background, location of this story is set in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in South Africa which has been drawn from Doris Lessing’s own childhood spent there. Her first hand knowledge of living on a farm in South Africa shines
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On the surface, it seems a psychological and personal portrayal of a female protagonist from childhood to death but seen as a whole, it is the political exposure of the futility and fragility of the patriarchal and colonial society upon which the masculinity of imperialism has sustained itself. The whole novel can be seen as Mary’s struggle towards individuation to preserve her authenticity and sense of self but it fails because of the psychological and the political forces which furnish her little insight and threaten to crush her.
I attempt to show how Lessing portrays Mary’s subjectivity as shaped and entangles within the ideological triangle of class, gender and race; and how the same sexual and ideological factors, rooted in family and culture, causes failure in Mary’s achieving her own sense of self and dooms her to death. Mary is fragmented between two contradictory statuses: on one hand she longs to be a subject of her life, to live in a way she desires, and on the other hand she unconsciously performs a role as an object of the white oppressive structure of a colonial society which extracts meaning of her personal self and imposes its values forcing, the individual to yield to the good of the collective. Mary’s subjectivity and behavioral pattern are shaped by the
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