The Grass is Singing

The Grass is Singing Imagery

Mary looking out the window before and after sunrise

As she is losing her sanity under the stress of feeling dominated by Moses, Mary wakes up one morning before sunrise and feels filled with a rare hope at the sight of the surrounding landscape transfigured in the light before dawn. The rising of the sun seems to symbolize a new life for her—but when it does come up, it only illuminates the all-too-familiar environment of the veld and makes it clear that nothing will change for her.

Mary rushing into the veld at night

Even after sending Moses away, Mary feels haunted by his presence. Since neither Dick nor Tony Marston is able to provide Mary with a sense of security and belonging, Mary is stricken with a kind of vertigo, leaping out into that which she fears—the wild environment and the danger of a vengeful Moses who awaits her there—rather than continuing to suffer the anxiety of being in an in-between space.

Mary glimpsing Dick's cut-outs

When Mary first arrives at Dick's farm, she notices cut-outs from advertisements and magazines of a woman and child, which she instinctively reads as symbols of Dick's lonely male desire for a wife and child. The fleetingness of her glimpse, Dick's attempt to brush away the observation, and the very ephemerality of the cut-outs make that insight all the more poignant, underscoring how unclear it is both to the characters and the reader what role children will or won't play in their lives.

Drought at the Turners' farm

During the earlier phase of Mary's life on the farm, it does not rain for several months, leading to both the failure of crops and acute discomfort even in the house. Lessing describes the dryness vividly with the image of some water dripping onto a brick with a hiss.