The Summer before the Dark Summary
Doris Lessing

Everything you need to understand or teach The Summer before the Dark by Doris Lessing.

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The Summer before the Dark Summary

Although one can trace how Kate Brown represents another of Lessing's female characters who break out of traditional roles and values, Kate is the first one that depicts a different stage of life, that of the aging woman who recognizes both her psychological and physiological life changes and eventually embraces them. Lessing portrays women in such instances who do not necessarily experience a radical breakdown but whose biological tendencies allow them to be receptive to a change in life, albeit not initially. When the reader first encounters the middle-aged Kate, she is unaware and resistant to changes in her accustomed role as mother and wife, even though her children are grown and repeatedly leave the home environment she has provided. Shaped by the typical biological and societal roles of mother and wife, Kate's personality has developed accordingly.

The demands of the newfound job take Kate on a journey, but...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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The Summer before the Dark Short Guide