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Singing for the Absolute Decline of Colonialism

Author LiZuo
Tutor LiuAiYing
School Sichuan International Studies University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords The Grass is Singing Doris Lessing Orientalism Decline Awakening
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Doris Lessing, the Nobel Prize winner in 2007 is a prolific writer. She has created almost thirty novels with different styles varying from“Feminism”“Colonialism”“Communism”to“Sufism”, etc. It is Lessing’s early works about South Africa that set up her reputation. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, is the representative work of that period. The novel starts with a murder that a black slave killed his white mistress, revealing the racial segregation in South Africa. This thesis adopts postcolonial theory, especially Edward Said’s Orientalism, making analysis of the main whites and blacks in order to understand the theme of work more profoundly and reveal Lessing’s anti-colonialism in The Grass is Singing.Chapter One points out the colonizers standing by Mary and Charlie have the inherited bias towards the native blacks. In their view, the colonizers are superior and the colonized are in much lower position and doomed to be voiceless“Other”.Chapter Two shows some of the natives, like Samson are used to the“Oriental gaze”and being“the Other”; meanwhile, some like Moses own the will to awake and are wiling to fight.Chapter Three reveal the true meaning in the symbols like house and bush. And Mary’s final death foreshadows the decline of colonialism.The fifties of last century was the era of the prevalence of racism in South Africa. The dominant ones in culture are white, while the native blacks are considered as second-class even animals. In The Grass is Singing, Lessing attacks the abuse and crime directly, showing her sympathy for the local and calling for anti-colonialism.

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