This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Flight” (1957) by Doris Lessing. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Doris Lessing was born in Persia (now Iran) on October 22, 1919, to British parents. She was an accomplished writer, who published over 50 novels, short stories, drama, poetry, and non-fiction. She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007, for her entire body of work. Her short story, “Flight”, was written in 1957, first published in her collection of short stories entitled Habits of Love in 1957 in both America and the United Kingdom. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 


One of the most important symbols used in the story is that of the birds or pigeons. They can be considered a symbol for Alice.The need for the birds to be let free is instinctual, even though the grandfather cares for them, feeds them and provides them with safety. Alice is in the same situation since she also desires her freedom and wants to be able to have her independence from her family. 

Another important symbol in the story is that of the dovecote which keeps the birds locked without any means of escape and under the grandfather’s control. This cage symbolizes of Alice’s family or house, as she is caged in it in a similar manner as the birds. She is happy there, but she desires to escape her grandfather’s control.

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