Marriage and Life

Topics: Marriage, Moses, Doris Lessing Pages: 8 (1832 words) Published: November 24, 2013

Boekverslag Engels The grass is singing door Doris Lessing


1. Summary

The first chapter of the book is a flash-forward. It starts with a newspaper report; Mary Turner, wife of the farmer Richard Turner was found murdered. The houseboy has been arrested and he had confessed to the crime. No motive has been discovered. It is thought he was in search of valuables.

A young Englishman who is just in Africa, and who was stayed with the Turners has his ideas, but he hold his peace.

In the next chapter the story goes back to the past. The history of Mary=s life is told. She lived a lighthearted life in the town till she was thirty. She waked up to the fact that she was on her way to become an old maid. She rushes into marriage with Dick Turner, a poor farmer of a distant farm. Complete inprepared and unaware of the life on a farm, she arrives. The life reminds her to her own poor youth. Her marriage to Dick isn=t a succes and she is very unhappy. She can=t mix with the black servants. She=s lonely and the life on the farm is monotonous. After failed projects with bees, pigs and turkeys, Dick starts a store and Mary has to serve the natives. She runs away to the town, but after a while she comes back. Dick falls ill and Mary has to run the farm. She hates the black population, the farmer=s life and Dick the misfit.

After she has sent the hundredth (black) houseboy away, there=s Moses. Moses is an high developed, English speaking seasonal worker. At any time, Mary has strucked him in his face with a whip. Moses is the new houseboy. Mary is fascionated by him. He can read and write and he does his work perfect. But she doesn=t forgot that he=s a native, she hates him as native. But for the first time, she doesn=t see a native only like a working machine or like a dog. When Moses threats to go away too, she becomes hysterical. Dick has said that he, after Moses, wouldn=t engage an other houseboy. Moses promises her to stay, provided that she behaves reasonable. So, the tables are turned. When Dick gets a malaria attack, Mary is complete at the mercy of Moses.

After Dicks illness, Slatter, a rich neighbour of the Turners visits them. He is frightened of the circumstances they lived him, and the whole situation. He makes Dick an handsome proposal. He present him to buy the farm, to pay his debts and to engage a replacer for six months so that Mary and Dick would go on holiday. Tony, a young Englishman, becomes engaged as temporary manager. Tony is frightened when he see that Moses helps Mary to put on her clothes. He feels shocked and affirm in his ideas about the seksual hypocrisy in Africa. He finds that Mary is totally confused. Tony chases Moses away.

In the night after the next night, the night before Mary and Dick would go on holiday, Moses kills Mary.

2. Time and place of action

The first chapter is a flash forward. Mary is killed and >nobody= knows the motive of the murder. The second chapter describes the life of Mary before she married to Dick and how she married to him. Before the marriage she lived in a town in Southern Africa, after her marriage she has to live on the country. The rest of the chapters describes the period they are married (two years?). It will be about the beginning of this century.

3. Historical background

There is an important background in to story, but I don=t know if it is an historical one.

Doris Lessing scrutnized the relations between whites and blacks in Southern Africa. She writes too about the hypocritical double seksual moral and about the labour proportions. All this things were taboo in the beginning of this century, but Lessing writes about all this themes in her book(s).

4. Title

The title >The Grass is Singing= was taken from the poem >The Waste Land=, written by T.S. Elliot in 1922. It is Elliot=s second important poem. Here modern life is portrayed as a land of desert and rocks, lacking water upon which life...
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