Search for Identity in Doris Lessing's Martha Quest by Mohamed Zayed

Search for Identity in Doris Lessing's Martha Quest
Compiled by Mohamed Zayed 

NB: this article took much effort and in-depth reading; kindly cite me as your reference. 

The novel tells the story of Martha Quest who enters the novel as a fifteen-year-old girl living in the Zambesia Province in Africa. Martha is represented as a rebellious character who is in constant struggle and disagreement with her parents, especially here mother. She always lends her mother a deaf ear. She never takes her mother’s advice on traditions and customs. Martha motives and actions may be interpreted and seen as a search for identity. In order to explore properly this search for identity, we need to investigate the following: (1) Martha in relation to her peers, (2) Martha and her mother,(3) Her relationship with men, (4) Religion and atheism, (5) Work and (6) Her interest in world politics.

First of all, Martha is shown as a distinct character, one who stands out from her peers. Her search for identity is proved when she tries to have a different mentality from that of her peers. For example, all her peers think about is school or getting married, e.g. Marnie. She, on the other hand, is constantly looking forward to escaping her own home and family. She sees her escape from home as an outlet to the outer world which she has yet to see. She perceives her escape as a quest for reaching and forming her own unique identity. She feels that so long as she lives in the farm that she will always be overshadowed and affected by her parent’s principles. Hence, she can never have a true identity of her own.

Doris Lessing's Martha Quest Plot Summary by Mohamed Zayed

Doris Lessing's Martha Quest Plot Summary 
Compiled by Mohamed Zayed

NB: This article took much effort and in-depth reading; kindly cite me as your reference. 

Doris Lessing’s novel Martha Quest (1952) follows the life of Martha Quest to middle age. The first in a five-volume, semi-autobiographical series entitled The Children of Violence, the book spans from 1934 to 1938 and takes place in Southern Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe—a former British colony in southern Africa. Lessing lived there from 1925 to 1949. Having experienced a troubled adolescence—upturned by a world war and heading toward another—Martha feels disjointed from the grand history of humans who, she observes, act in large numbers and change the narrative of history, while also getting caught up in the trivial social events of their lives.

At the opening of the novel, Martha is fifteen years old; she and her parents live on a destitute African farm. Martha is a keen observer. Early in life, she begins to notice an incongruity in the way people talk and the way they act, which makes her severely unhappy. In response, Martha seeks out literature to assuage her despair, often borrowing books from two erudite Jews who live nearby. She uses the books to build her philosophy of the way the world works, while also facing the disquieting events occurring in her own life. As a British adolescent female living in the twentieth century, Martha must deal not only with coming of age but also with issues of race, class, and women’s rights.

Racism as Major Theme in Doris Lessing's The Grass Is Singing by M. Zayed

Racism as Major Theme in Doris Lessing's The Grass Is Singing  
Compiled by M. Zayed

NB this article is made exclusively, like the rest of the website, free of charge for your own benefit; please when you use it cite me as your reference; it took much effort and reading through through the whole novel in depth. Have a wonderful day.

Part one: Definition and Background of Racism
First of all, Racism is Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior or the belief that all members of a certain race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race as to distinguish it as superior to another race.

The term racism is a noun describing the state of being racist. Racism is a particular form of oppression. It stems from discrimination against a group of people based on the idea that some inherited characteristic, such as skin color, makes them inferior to their oppressors. In one of Karl Mark’s books he says: “What is a Negro slave? A man of the black race. The one explanation is as good as the other.”

The Nineteenth century was an age of emancipation, colonialism, and imperialism--all of which contributed to the growth and intensification of ideological racism in Europe. The Darwinian emphasis on "the struggle for existence" and concern for "the survival of the fittest" was conducive to the development of a new and more credible scientific racism in an era that increasingly viewed race relations as an arena for conflict rather than as a stable hierarchy.

The climax of Western imperialism in the late nineteenth century "scramble for Africa" and parts of Asia and the Pacific represented an assertion of ethnic racism that was led by the British Empire. The one racist regime that survived the Second World War and the Cold War was the South African in 1948. Racism and colonization were interrelated. Racism was used to justify colonialism. It imposed and produced the conquest of African nations.