Motherhood and the Search for Self

An analysis of the character Kath Brown in Dorris Lessing’s novel The Summer Before the Dark.

The paper provides a detailed analysis of the character Kate Brown’s journey into self-consciousness in the novel “The Summer Before the Dark” by Doris Lessing. The paper traces Kate Brown’s dual journey into on both the physical and spiritual planes as she comes to an awareness of herself as mother, over the course of one critical summer at the crossroads of her life.
In The Summer Before the Dark, Kate Brown, mother of four, embarks upon a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness. Over the course of the summer she will awake to a new understanding of the role of Motherhood, her own life, and the multi-dimensional relationship between the two. Kate’s journey into consciousness is simultaneously outwardly manifested by her travels on the physical plane. The most telling sign that the two journeys are inter-related is their parallelism of form. In order to reach a state of psychological and spiritual harmony, Kate must complete her mandala. The mandala, which is the psychological symbol for a state of wholeness and completion is generally symbolized in physical terms by a circle. Kate completes her Mandala on the psychological plane during the course of her travel experiences on the physical plane.