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Authors: The Grass is Singing Quotes, The Grass is Singing Important Quotes, Quotations, Sayings from the novel by Doris Lessing
Related Quotes:  Doris Lessing  The Golden Notebook
People all over the country ... felt a little spurt of anger mingled with what was almost satisfaction, as if some belief had been confirmed, as if something had happened which could only have been expected. When natives steal, murder or rape, that is the feeling white people have.
The Grass is Singing
Reaction to newspaper paragraph about murder of farmer's wife and arrest of houseboy, Chapter 1.
... [in the old society] everyone knew what they could or could not do. If someone did an unforgiveable thing, like touching one of the King's women, he would submit fatalistically to punishment, which was likely to be impalement over an ant heap on a stake, or something equally unpleasant. 'I have done wrong, and I know it,' he might say, 'therefore let me be punished.'
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 1.
When he came to think about it, the murder was logical enough; looking back over the last few days he could see that something like this was bound to happen, he could almost say he had been expecting it, some kind of violence or ugliness. Anger, violence, death, seemed natural to this vast, harsh country ....
The Grass is Singing
Marston, Chapter 1.
If she had been left alone she would have gone on, in her own way, enjoying herself thoroughly, until people found one day that she had turned imperceptibly into one of those women who have become old without ever having been middle-aged: a little withered, a little acid, hard as nails, sentimentally kindhearted, and addicted to religion or small dogs.
The Grass is Singing
Mary, Chapter 2.
She felt sentimental at weddings, but she had a profound distaste for sex; there had been little privacy in her home and there were things she did not care to remember; she had taken good care to forget them years ago.
The Grass is Singing
Mary, Chapter 2.
It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 2.
...she began to feel, slowly, that it was not in this [Dick's] house she was sitting, with her husband, but back with her mother, watching her endlessly contrive and patch and mend - till suddenly she got to her feet with an awkward scrambling movement, unable to bear it; possessed with the thought that her father, from his grave, had sent out his will and forced her back into the kind of life he had made her mother lead.
The Grass is Singing
Mary, Chapter 3.
Women have an extraordinary ability to withdraw from the sexual relationship, to immunize themselves against it, in such a way that their men can be left feeling let down and insulted without having anything tangible to complain of. Mary did not have to learn this, because it was natural to her, and because she had expected nothing in the first place - at any rate, not from this man, who was flesh and blood, and therefore rather ridiculous - not the creature of her imagination whom she endowed with hands and lips abut left bodiless.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 3.
[Mary] fell asleep holding his hand protectively, as she might have held a child's whom she had wounded.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 3.
She was afraid of them [the natives], of course. Every woman in South Africa is brought up to be. In her childhood she had been forbidden to walk out alone, and whe she asked why, she had been told in the furtive, lowered, but matter-of-fact voice she associated with her mother, that they were nasty and might do horrible things to her.
The Grass is Singing
Mary, Chapter 4.
He knew how to get on with natives; dealing with them was a sometimes amusing, sometimes annoying game in which both sides followed certain unwritten rules.
The Grass is Singing
Dick, Chapter 5.
His craving for forgiveness, and his abasement before her was the greatest satisfaction she knew, although she despised him for it.
The Grass is Singing
Dick and Mary, Chapter 5.
Loneliness, she thought, was craving for other people's company. But she did not know that loneliness can be an unnoticed cramping of the spirit for lack of companionship.
The Grass is Singing
Mary, Chapter 5.
Children were what he wanted now that his marriage was a failure and seemed impossible to right. Children would bring them close together and break down this invisible barrier.
The Grass is Singing
Dick and Mary, Chapter 5.
Mary was stuck by that whistle: it was so familiar. It was a trick of his [Dick's]; he stuck his hands in his pockets, little boy fashion, and whistled with a pathetic jauntiness when she lost her temper and raged at him because of the house, or because of the clumsiness of the water arrangements. It always made her feel quite mad with irritation, because he could not stand up to her and hold his own.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 6.
Dick often stood at the edge of the field, watching the wind flow whitely over the tops of the shining young trees, that bent and swung and shook themselves all day. He had planted them apparently on an impulse; but it was really the fruition of a dream of his. Years before he bought the farm, some mining company had cut out every tree on the place ... it wasn't much, planting a hundred acres of good trees that would grow into straight, white stemmed giants; but it was a small retribution; and this was his favorite place on the farm. When he was particularly worried, or had quarreled with Mary, or wanted to think clearly, he stood and looked at his trees ...
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 6.
Mary, with the memory of her own mother recurring more and more frequently, like an older, sardonic double of herself walking beside her, followed the course her upbringing made inevitable. To rage at Dick seemed to her a failure in pride; her formerly pleasant but formless face was setting into lines of endurance ....
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 6.
She [Mary] could not explain to Dick how that store smell made her remember the way she had stood, a a very small girl, looking fearfully up at the rows of bottles on the shelves, wondering which of them her father would handle that night; the way her mother had taken coins out of his pockets ... and how the next day she would be sent up to the store to buy food that would not appear on the account at the month's end.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 6.
They were moving gently toward a new relation; they were more truly together than they had ever been. But then it was that he became ill; and the new tenderness between them, which might have grown into something that saved them both, was not yet strong enough to survive this fresh trouble.
The Grass is Singing
Mary and Dick, Chapter 7.
The phrases of this little lecture came naturally to her lips: she did not have to look for them in her mind. She had heard them so often from her father, when he was lecturing his native servants, that they welled up from the part of her brain that held her earliest memories.
The Grass is Singing
Mary, Chapter 7.
She hated it when they spoke to each other in dialects she did not understand ... she hated their half-naked, thick-muscled black bodies stooping in the mindless rhythm of their work. She hated their sullenness, their averted eyes when they spoke to her, their veiled insolence; and she hated more than anything, with a violent physical repulsion, the heavy smell that came from the, a hot, sour animal smell.
The Grass is Singing
Mary and the natives, Chapter 7.
She needed to think of Dick, the man to whom she was irrevocably married, as a person on his own account, a success from his own efforts. When she saw him weak and goal-less, and pitiful, she hated him, and the hate turned in on herself. She needed a man stronger than herself, and she was trying to create one out of Dick.
The Grass is Singing
Mary, Chapter 8.
It was like a nightmare where one is powerless against horror: the touch of this black man's hand on her shoulder filled her with nausea; she had never, not once in her whole life, touched the flesh of a native. As they approached the bed, the soft touch still on her shoulder, she felt her head beginning to swim and her bones going soft.
The Grass is Singing
Mary and the native boy Moses, Chapter 9.
She [Mary] felt as if she were in a dark tunnel, nearing something final, something she could not visualize, but which waited for her inexorably, inescapably. And in the attitude of Moses, in the way he moved or spoke, with that easy, confident, bullying insolence, she could see he was waiting too.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 9.
He [Charlie] had been shocked out of self-interest. It was not even pity for Dick that moved him. He was obeying the dictate of the first law of white South Africa, which is: 'Thou shalt not let your fellow whites sink lower than a certain point; because if you do, the nigger will see he is as good as you are.'
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 10.
He [Tony] had read enough about psychology to understand the sexual aspect of the color bar, one of whose foundations is the jealousy of the white man for the superior sexual potency of the native; and he was surprised at one of the guarded, a white woman, so easily evading this barrier. Yet he had met a doctor on the boat coming out, with years of experience in a country district, who had told him he would be surprised to know the number of white woman who had relations with black men. Tony felt at the time that he would be surprised; he felt it would be rather like having a relationship with an animal, in spite of his 'progressiveness'.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 10.
Though what thoughts of regret, or pity, or perhaps even wounded human affection were compounded with the satisfaction of [Moses'] completed revenge, it is impossible to say. For, when he had gone perhaps a couple of hundred yards through the soaking bush he stopped, turned aside, and leaned against a tree on an ant-heap And there he would remain, until his pursuers, in their turn, came to find him.
The Grass is Singing
Chapter 11.
The Grass Is Singing is the first novel, published in 1950, by Persian-born British author Doris Lessing. It takes place in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), in southern Africa, during the late 1940s and deals with racial politics between whites and blacks in that country, then a British Colony. Lessing was born on October 22, 1919, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007.


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