“Lucy Grange” Summary: Doris Lessing Short Story Plot Synopsis

“Lucy Grange” is a short story by Doris Lessing about a disaffected city woman living in the country with her farmer husband. Her resulting loneliness, and her yearning for the culture and sophistication of the city impel her into an adulterous relationship. Here’s a plot summary of “Lucy Grange”.

“Lucy Grange” Summary

Lucy and George Grange live on a farm fifty miles from town. Her stylish drawing-room is in stark contrast to the barracks-like farmhouse. Signs of farm life are all over the grounds and inside.

Other farmers wives only stop by when their husband’s have business there. They notice Lucy’s books on various subjects—psychology, politics, art—and the pictures she has on the wall. Once, in the garden, one of the wives saw her wearing gloves full of cold cream. She’s known for buying clothes and being attractive to men. The other wives can’t relate to Lucy nor she to them.

Conversation between Lucy and George is one-sided and she has occasional emotional outbursts. He doesn’t seem to expect her to be more of a farmer’s wife. Her husbands visitor will often stay longer than they intended talking to her.

Lucy Grange SummaryDoris Lessing Plot Synopsis short story
“Lucy Grange” Short Story Summary

One day a city man, an insurance salesman, calls on her. He stays three hours while having tea. He comments on her Van Gogh picture, but she’s not sure how to respond.

She’s aware that she looks attractive. They flirt openly and he doesn’t talk business. He’s heard about her and knows she’s lonely. He feels an affinity toward her and thinks they should know each other. He kisses her palm and touches her cheek before leaving.

Lucy is excited and happy after the stimulation. He comes back three days later. He talks about the cultural scene in London. In this country, they have to accept the second-rate. He pays attention to the activity in the house while he talks.

When the houseboy and children go for their lunch, he asks about her husband’s lunch routine—he won’t be coming in. He moves close and she cries in his arms. They go to the bedroom.

She could have stayed lying there with him, but they have to get dressed before anyone comes back. Lucy loathes the sight of his body for a moment. They go back to the living room for a few minutes where she’s lively, but then she cries again. He has to leave, but will come back as soon as he can.

Lucy watches him drive away. Next time, she won’t cry. She’ll hate him as he leaves, remembering his comment about the second-rate. She’ll do this again and again.

I hope this summary of “Lucy Grange” by Doris Lessing was helpful.