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Flight Essay, Research Paper

Essay on \”Flight\”

It is always hard to get separated from someone you love and with whom you have shared every moment of his life until he decides to walk on a different path than yours. You don\’t know how to react and confusion dominates your mind. Should you be angry at him for leaving you, or should you support and respect his decision ? In her essay \”Flight,\” Doris Lessing illustrates the story of an old man who is learning to let go his granddaughter as she grows into an adult and is about to get married. Lessing wisely delivers this particular old man\’s situation to her readers through her use of literary techniques and devices. Thus, she greatly succeeded at making her readers feel and live the grandfather\’s difficulty to get separated from his granddaughter.

Throughout the story, Lessing skillfully uses narration and description to catch the readers attention, making us feel the grandfather\’s state of emotions. Hence, in the beginning of the story, we first meet his granddaughter Lisa through his eyes that \”travelled homewards along the road until his granddaughter swinging on the gate underneath a frangipani tree. Her hair fell down her back in a wave of sunlight ; and her long bare legs repeated the angles of the frangipani stems, bare, shinning brown stems among patterns of pale blossoms.\” We follow the movement of his eyes that see her as a shinning light that illuminates his life to which he is addicted. Moreover, Lessing\’s detailed description gives us a clear picture of every event such as the grandfather\’s obsession to get Lisa\’s attention : \”Obstinately, he made his way to the house, with quick, pathetic, persistent glances of appeal back at her. But she never looked around.\” The author also questions her readers to make him feel present in the story, preserving her story unpredictable : \”A present for her ?\”

Nevertheless, the dialogue and the punctuation is also cleverly used to illustrate the old man\’s emotions. His first conversation with Lisa clearly exhibits his anger towards the fact that she\’s seeing the postmaster\’s son and he expresses it through a furious tone of voice and the repetition of \” hey \” : \” \” Hey ! he shouted (…) Waiting for Steven, hey (..) Think you\’re old enough to go courting, hey ? (…) Think you want to leave home, hey ? \” Consequently, he feels left a part, and desperately tries to get help from his daughter in a panicking voice : \” \”Lucy,\” he said urgently, \”Lucy…\” \” However, when he notices that his daughter approves Lisa\’s involvement with the postmaster\’s son, confusion and frustration strike his mind : \” \”Why do you make your girls marry ? It\’s you who do it. What do you do it for ? Why ? \” \” We can feel how touch he is when he acknowledges that his daughter is going to get married, and that he cannot do anything about it.

Nonetheless, it would be reasonable to say that the simile and symbolism are predominant throughout the short story. The old man is crazy about his birds and loves them so much that he keeps them in a dovecote to make sure that they will never leave him. In the beginning of the story he takes out his favorite bird \” held out his wrist for the bird to take flight, and caught it again at the moment it spread its wings.\” Hence, this favorite bird of his is actually a simile for his granddaughter. He wants to keep the birds to himself the same way he does not want Lisa to get involved with anyone. Lessing portrays Lisa in the garden singing which \”mingled with the crooning of the birds.\” The granfather needs the presence of his bird just like he needs the presence of his granddaughter and without this presence he feels angry and sad, which is probably why he desperately asks his daughter : \”Can\’t we keep her a bit longer ? \” Just like the sky is described empty without the bird, the garden is empty without Lisa. Moreover, at the end of the story when the old man, \”clenched in the pain of loss,\” lets his favorite bird and all the other ones go free, they surprisingly return to the valley, and he lifts \”his eyes proudly down the garden at his granddaughter.\” This cliché is actually very symbolic ; by letting his favorite bird go and finding out that it comes back symbolizes that the grandfather can let go Lisa knowing that she\’ll come back, and that he\’ll never lose the things that he truly loves.

Thus, Lessing wisely managed to recount her short story by illustrating the importance of Lisa to her grandfather\’s eyes, who finally understands he cannot keep her to himself for ever. She also shows how his mentality evolves by demonstrating his recognition for Lisa\’s happiness at the end of the story, acknowledging that Lisa will never let him down. Lessing could have presented her ideas in a dull and predictable way but instead, she offered us an original and touching short of a Grandfather, his granddaughter, and his birds.


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