Flight (Doris Lessing)
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The old man keeps pigeons which he cares for, showing his kind, caring nature.

The granddaughter is growing up and he does not like this.

His mood is influenced by his granddaughter’s appearance. He becomes troubles, angry and over-protective. He thinks she is too young to be ‘courting’.

The description of her boyfriend, Steven, from the old man’s point of view is very negative and he seems like a violent youth.

He is angry as he does not want her to grow up.

She remains defiant, showing she is older now and can stand up to him.

He is powerless, as when he goes to his granddaughter’s mother (his own daughter) she tells him not to be so silly.

He feels empty and alone and cries.

They give him a pigeon as a peace offering. He seems childish as he accepts it.

He feels shut out by their grown up nature.

He lets his favourite pigeon go, almost as if he feels this is symbolic of having to let his final granddaughter go.

The woman, his granddaughter, watches this, mixed with the doves.

The doves all return, but there is no mention of the pigeon who is gone forever.

His granddaughter is in tears at the end as she perhaps realises finally why her grandfather is so upset.

He is described as grandfather at the end and just old man at the beginning, an indication that he has become more of a person to her at the end.


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