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Causes of Mary’s Tragedy in the Grass Is Singing

Author: CaoLiJuan
Tutor: MaLiLi
School: Hebei Normal
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Postcolonial theory Feminism Racism Victim
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Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 24
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Abstract


Doris Lessing(1919- ), is one of the most influential writers in England in the twenty-first century. She is also an evergreen tree in the world literature. She was regarded as one of the most important writers after World War II. Besides novel, her works include poem, prose, script, short story, etc. Lessing devoted her whole life to writing. The number of her works is up to fifty. Her distinctive writing style, newfangled minds, profound opinions make her works popular with people. They are translated into many languages, and her works enjoy worldwide fame. Lessing was a Nobel Prize Winner.The Grass Is Singing is the first novel of Doris Lessing, it was warmly received by people in that period, and considered one of the best novels after World War II. It is a depressing description of an unhappy marriage, the abnormality of the white culture, and the fear of invisible power that Mary experienced as underlying white colonial experience of Africa. The heroine could not change her miserable fate and was eventually murdered by the black servant Moses. Mary’s parentage and family environment had great influence on her character and notion, and this doomed her to the tragic life. It is a well-known work that describes the colonial society in southern Rhodesia (colonized by the British) and many conflicts between the colonists and the natives. All the racial problems led to unequal human rights in the society. And black people were ill treated in many aspects (education, job, rest, etc), and even oppressed.Different scholars analyze it from different angles. Lessing never modeled herself as a feminist protagonist. She regarded that there should be peaceful coexistence between women and men. This thesis is based on post-colonialist feminist theory. Under the environment of Patriarchy, Mary was oppressed by it; at the same time, she was the sacrifice and victim of racial discrimination.This thesis is divided into three parts: introduction, text and conclusion. Part I illustrates the brief account of the author’s life, her works and concepts. Part III is about the meaning of the analysis of this novel. Part II studies the heroine’s psychological growth in three chapters. Chapter one illustrates her miserable life under patriarchy. First, her childhood had negative effect on her, this include individuality hiatus and distortion of value. Second, after her marriage, she experienced three steps: accepted her husband—left her family—nervous breakdown. Chapter two is about the influence of social bias. As a poor white in South Africa, she was discriminated and pushed aside by the rich. The deep-rooted notion of racial discrimination made Mary fall in dilemma. She could not get rid of the chain and eventually went to rack and ruin. Finally, it focuses on the failed awakening of Southern Americans, mainly represented by the two characters Mary and Moses. It traces how the heroine turns to an idle woman from a happy single girl, and then to a mad virago and at last to a helpless woman with an empty spirit. The loss of her identity and dependence cause the final destruction and isolation by the collective. Moses, a native who has strong personality and enthusiasm, has experienced the initial consciousness, but only fails without enough courage. They are both victims under that specific social environment.

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