Ethical Responsibility in Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

Mohammad Hosseiny nassab, Esmaeil Zohdi


The present study was a comparative analysis of ethics and human responsibility in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing. Emmanuel Levinas’s theory of ethics was used here for a better understanding of the sense of responsibility of characters and to see how they conform to ethical relationships with others. Based on Levinasian notions of face, moral responsibility and alterity, it is argued that responsibility is the basic tenet of McCarthy’s and Lessing’s novels which arises from face-to-face encounter with an Other. However, the study proved that the father and the son as major characters in McCarthy’s novel stayed ethically good and preserved goodness in the apocalyptic world because they felt responsible towards each other as well as other strangers. On the contrary, Mary as the protagonist of Lessing The Grass is Singing was not an ethical character since she showed no concerns with responsibility and making moral relationships with other people.

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