The Grass is Singing

The Servant Character Analysis

The unnamed servant is the third native person Dick and Mary employ to work in the house. Unlike Samson and the servant before him, this servant is accustomed to working for white women and more able to put up with Mary’s abuse. However, eventually her mistreatment becomes too much and he quits.

The Servant Quotes in The Grass is Singing

The The Grass is Singing quotes below are all either spoken by The Servant or refer to The Servant. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Intimacy vs. Hatred Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of The Grass is Singing published in 2008.
Chapter 5 Quotes

“If you must do these things, then you must take the consequences,” said Dick wearily. “He’s a human being, isn't he? He's got to eat. Why must that bath be done all at once? It can be done over several days, if it means all that to you.”
“It’s my house,” said Mary. “He's my boy, not yours. Don't interfere.”
“Listen to me,” said Dick curtly, “I work hard enough, don't I? All day I am down on the lands with these lazy black savages, fighting them to get some work out of them. You know that. I won't come back home to this damned fight, fight, fight in the house. Do you understand? I will not have it. And you should learn sense. If you want to get work out of them you have to know how to manage them. You shouldn't expect too much. They are nothing but savages after all.” Thus Dick, who had never stopped to reflect that these same savages had cooked for him better than his wife did, had run his house, had given him a comfortable existence, as far as his pinched life could be comfortable, for years.

Related Characters: Mary Turner (speaker), Dick Turner (speaker), The Servant
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Grass is Singing quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Grass is Singing LitChart as a printable PDF.
The grass is singing.pdf.medium

The Servant Character Timeline in The Grass is Singing

The timeline below shows where the character The Servant appears in The Grass is Singing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Intimacy vs. Hatred Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Authority Theme Icon
Brutality vs. Civilization Theme Icon
Femininity, Sexuality, and Maternity Theme Icon
...so high. Dick angrily leaves to smoke a cigarette outside. The next day, the new servant drops a plate out of nervousness, and Mary fires him immediately. Afterward she cleans furiously,... (full context)
Intimacy vs. Hatred Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Authority Theme Icon
Brutality vs. Civilization Theme Icon
Independence, Isolation, and Exile Theme Icon
...how he works. Mary agrees reluctantly, and spends the whole time thinking about the new servant at home, imagining that he is going through her belongings and stealing. When Dick asks... (full context)
Intimacy vs. Hatred Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Authority Theme Icon
Brutality vs. Civilization Theme Icon
Independence, Isolation, and Exile Theme Icon
Femininity, Sexuality, and Maternity Theme Icon
...at the bathtub, which is covered in grease and dirt and scratches. She orders the servant to scrub it until it shines. (full context)
Intimacy vs. Hatred Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Authority Theme Icon
Brutality vs. Civilization Theme Icon
Femininity, Sexuality, and Maternity Theme Icon
At lunchtime, Dick is surprised to find Mary cooking, and asks where the servant is. Mary says that he is cleaning the bath. After going to the bathroom Dick... (full context)
Intimacy vs. Hatred Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Authority Theme Icon
Brutality vs. Civilization Theme Icon
Independence, Isolation, and Exile Theme Icon
Femininity, Sexuality, and Maternity Theme Icon
At this moment, the servant comes out to the veranda and hands Dick and Mary his notice, explaining that he... (full context)