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Literary Analysis of Flight

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Joel Persaud

on 4 November 2014

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Transcript of Literary Analysis of Flight

To summarize briefly,
is a short story about an old grandpa living with his family in South Africa. Much to his chagrin, his granddaughter Alice plans on marrying the postmaster's son Steve. In a child like manner, Alice's Grandpa harshly criticizes their upcoming marriage and refuses to let go of her last granddaughter who he fears will leave him. Eventually, Alice's Grandpa learns to accept Alice's marriage and realizes the importance of moving on in life.

The Plot Structure: (Exposition)
1. The story begins when Alice's grandpa is playing with a young pigeon that happens to be his favorite. Alice represents the pigeon who is snatched from taking flight and locked up in a cage where Alice's grandpa has full control.
(Rising Action)
2. In an effort to stop the marriage, Alice's grandpa mocks the idea of Alice getting married and totally hates the idea that his favorite granddaughter will leave and get married. When Alice's Grandpa finds her frolicking in the garden and swinging on the gate, he realizes that Alice's marriage is a gateway to new beginnings and an opportunity for a new life.
(Climax & Falling action)
3. When Steve gives the old man a baby pigeon to take care of, Alice's Grandpa realizes he can let his favorite pigeon go and take flight.
4. Soon after, he comes to understand that he ought to let both their lives move on and see to it that Alice takes flight as well.
Finally, the old man releases his favorite pigeon. Alice cries.
Summary & Plot
Conflict & Point of View

The main source of this internal conflict is in the Grandpa. The key problems he has is that he does not want his granddaughter to grow up, he does not want his granddaughter to marry, and finally, he does not want his granddaughter to leave him just like the rest of his granddaughters.

The reason the old man does not want Alice to move on is that he himself does not want to move on. He is totally possessive of Alice because he does not think or want Alice to grow up. Evidently, the old man loves his granddaughter and does not want to see his last granddaughter leave him and start a new life with Steve. Eventually, Alice's Grandpa finally understands the need for Alice to move on and let her go

Point of View:

The point of view of
is the omniscient third person. However, it is notable to see that the story focuses more on the perspective of the unnamed Grandpa. The third person helps to easily describe each character but at the same times dives deeper into the feelings of the old man. In this story, the first person is most effective as it helps convey the lessons of the story much easier than the first or second person resulting in a much more satisfied reader.

Significance of Title & Echo

Revision World. "Flight (Doris Lessing)" http://revisionworld.com/gcse-revision/english/short-stories/flight-doris-lessing

Scribd. "Flight by Doris Lessing" http://www.scribd.com/doc/132654219/Flight-by-Doris-Lessing

Youtube. "I believe I can fly"
Themes & Characters
The theme of the story is to show how one must learn to accept in life. In order to contribute to this theme three common literary devices were used by Doris Lessing. These three are symbolism, point of view, and setting. One way symbolism is expressed is when Alice is likened to the old man's favorite pigeon. Lessing conveys this when the old man cages and fully controls his favorite pigeon whereas he cannot control his favorite granddaughter. Point of view also contributes to the theme by narrating the story in third person omniscient perspective. In this perspective, the author closely examines the feelings of the grandpa so the readers can gain a better understanding of the story. Finally, the setting also contributes to the theme with the help of several revealing clues. Besides the traditional practices, The Frangipani tree is often mentioned along with the wooden veranda on the white washed house. This evidently suggests that the setting is in South Africa where Doris Lessing grew up.

To be continued...
(Short Story)
Literary Analysis of


The Character profiles of each individual is very unique and worth examining.

The old man is never named by the author. Perhaps the name is not so important but the lesson that he conveys that the author intends to bring to the readers. In the short story, the old man is very possessive towards his granddaughter and loves to take care of his pigeons. When it comes to Alice's marriage planning, he behaves in a somewhat childish manner. When the old man hears about Steven, Lessing writes, "Misery went to his head and he shouted angrily: "I'll tell your mother!" Besides his childish behavior, the old man seems to have problems controlling his temper. "Rubbish," he shouted. 'Rubbish. Impudent little bit of rubbish!' Growling under his breath he turned towards the dovecote..."

Alice is a young lady who happens to be the old man's daughter. She seems eager to grow up and is ready and willing to marry Steve and settle down. Despite her Grandpa's disapproval, she is carefree, yet determined to go through with her marriage.

Steve is Alice's soon to be husband. In examining the story, Steve appears to be a very decent young man in complexion and behavior. He is the postmaster's son and, just like Alice, he seems very happy to marry. He is also trusted by Lucy to be a good and loving husband despite the old man's rejection to their marriage. Steve also seems to be very thoughtful and kind when he offers the old man the gift of a young pigeon.

Lucy is Alice's mom and the old man's daughter. She permits Alice to marry Steve and seems to be more understanding than than the old man. In defense of Alice's marriage, she argues that she married at seventeen years of age and never regretted it. She seems very trusting of Steve and appears to be very calm.
The significance of the title Flight can obviously be understood in relation to the storyline. Just as the old man lets his favorite pigeon go and take flight, the same he knows he must do for Alice when she ambitiously desires a marriage full of opportunities. The title represents Alice being let go by her Grandpa so she can take flight.
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