A sunrise on the Veld Table of Contents



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Table of Contents:

Authors biography •Theme

Plot summary •Personal Evaluation

Questions and answers •Quotable quotes

Main fiction elements •Vocabulary

1) Author’s Biography


• Doris Lessing was born in Iran, but grew up in Africa, which was where the story was set.

• Her mother was very strict and was obsessed with raising a proper daughter, the boy in the story is most likely based on Doris Lessing's own mother because the boy is very controlling.

• Most of Doris Lessing's stories were based on humanity or a struggle to understand the world, this fits in with the story "A Sunrise on the Veld" because the boy learned that there are some things that he can't control, such as death, he couldn't alter the death of the buck, and that realization worried him.
This is a picture of Southern Africa




Allusions in the title


•The title "A Sunrise on the Veld," creates an allusion of a golden sun rising upon open grassland.

The purpose on the story is based on the boy's realization that he can't control everything, and most importantly he can't control death, he couldn't stop the death of the buck.

•For more information on the biography of Doris Lessing, check out the World Book 2001 #12 edition (L), page 208, in the library.

2) Theme

•Through out the whole story the boy thinks that he is in control of absolutely every aspect of life.


"He was clean crazy, yelling mad with the joy of living and a superfluity of youth.” Page 80 This line illustrates the height of the boy’s self- exultation and just how much control he thinks he's in.
•In the story the boy is standing over a cliff, and is shouting out at the world about how much control he is in, and then he thinks "That was what he was, he sang if he chose; and the world had to answer him back," (he means the echoes) page 81. But in the next paragraph he hears a pain filled scream and his whole outlook on how much control he is in totally changes, and for a few minutes he realizes just how little control over life he actually has.
The sub-theme would be the realization that he can't control death.

"He (the boy) had a choice, he could either shoot the buck, or let it die on its own."

•The boy decided not to shoot the buck to bring it out of his misery because he realized that the buck would have died this way, if he hadn’t had been there, that the death of this animal is unalterable, and him being there to witness it can't and won't change anything.

The author's over-all purpose of these themes is to provide an idea of just how arrogant, and controlling the boy actually is, but when he hears that pain filled scream, in a split second he is suddenly totally out of control, and he knows it.



3) Plot Summary


The boy wakes up every morning at 4:30 to go hunting for guinea fowls

•He wakes up every morning before the alarm clock rings just to prove that he can (that shows just how much control he thinks he’s in).

•His parents have no idea how early he wakes up in the morning •He always brings his dogs along the hunt

He began running through the grassland but ended up waking up the guinea fowls, and his hunt was over but instead of going home he continued running through the field, “He leapt into the air, shouting and yelling wild unrecognizable noises” page 80


There is nothing I can’t do, nothing I can’t do.” Page 80

This line defines the beginning of the height of his exultation, and after minute of yelling and shouting in joy he hears a pain filled scream “In the deep morning hush that held his future and his past, was a sound of pain, and repeated over and over again; it was a kind of shortened scream, as if someone, something, had no breath to scream.” Page 81

This line shows just how out of control of the situation he really is, and he knows it

•The animal that was screaming turned out to be a buck with a broken leg, with a swarm of flesh eating ants eating it alive.

The boy watched the buck slowly die, knowing that there was nothing that he could do, the death of this animal was unalterable.

•This realization bothered the boy the death of the buck, and the fact that there was nothing that he could do bothered him it proved to him just how little control he actually has over the world.

•The boy decided to go home, but he promised himself that tomorrow morning he would go to the bush, and think about what he saw today.
4) Personal Evaluation

The story “A Sunrise on the Veld”, by Doris Lessing is terrific. I found that it kept me interested the whole time, but it also kept me challenged by the incredulously difficult vocabulary.



This story helped to show me that we can’t control everything and that some problems are just a fact of life, which can be a very hard lesson to learn.
But besides that it had a well set up storyline because it:

•Made me ask questions

•Kept me thinking

•And helped me learn a little about life/culture in Africa, although I didn’t really care for the way she kept using veld and vlei.


I also though that the illustration of the duiker on the title page was a bit of an odd picture to show, because it made you think that the story was very happy, and cheerful, when if fact, it wasn’t.

This story reminded me of another story called “Thank you, Ma’am” by Langston Hughe,” because in a sense the boy in that story thought that he was in total control when he tried to steal the lady’s purse, when if fact the opposite was true. I can relate this story to, “A Sunrise on the Veld” because the boy in this story also finds out that he can’t control everything


All in all this is a good story, which really gets the meat motor revving.

5) Questions and Answers

"Suddenly it rose in him." Page 80

Q) What does the author mean when she says it?

A) When the author says it she's describing the multitude of emotions, which the boy is feeling all rising in him at once.

Q) Where do guinea fowl sleep?

A) Guinea fowls sleep in trees. (Guinea fowls were the animals that the boy set out to hunt for in the first place)

"He was clean crazy, yelling mad with the joy of superfluity of youth." Page 80



Q) What is the joy of superfluity of youth?

A) Superfluity means abundant, so in this sentence the author is describing just how abundant the joy of youth is.

Q) When the buck died, why does the boy feel rage, misery, and protest? Page 82

A) When the buck died it made the boy realize that if he had not come the buck still would have died like that, and then he said “so why should I interfere? Page 82

Q) The ants basically ate the buck alive, and killed it, but how did they get on the buck in the first place?

A) The buck had broken its leg earlier in the day, and then wandered into the anthill.

Q) Why would the death of a small animal be a thing that would concern him? He's gone hunting plenty of times, so why would this bother him so much?

A) It wasn't the death of the animal that bothered the boy. It was the realization that he can't control every aspect of life that bothered him so much.
6) Quotable Quotes

"Triumphantly pressing down the alarm knob of the clock." Page 78 This is a significant quote because it defines just how in control the boy thinks he is. He wakes up at 4:30 every morning just before the alarm clock to prove it to himself that he can.

"He was clean crazy, yelling mad with the joy of living and a superfluity of youth." page 80

"And the air smelt like a challenge whether it was warm and sultry at noon, or as brisk and cool as night." page 80

"He felt suffering, sick and angry, but also grimly satisfied with his new stoicism." page 83

"He felt in his own limbs the myriad swarming pain of the twitching animal." page 82



This is an important quote because it proves that the boy isn’t a stoic.

"The luxury of a warm rested body, with the arms and legs and fingers waiting like soldiers for a word of command! Page 78



7) Main Fiction Elements

•The boy thinks that there is nothing that he can’t do, and while he’s not wrong in thinking that there’s nothing he can’t do, he is wrong in the sense that he physically can’t do everything.

There was nothing he couldn’t do, nothing! Page 80

•The boy thinks that an hour before the buck died it had been running through the forest, unharmed, and an hour later it had been eaten clean picked down to the bone, when in reality it probably took a lot longer then that.

That morning perhaps and hour ago, this small animal had been stepping proud and free through the bush, feeling the chill on its hide even as him himself had done, exhilarated by it.” Page 83

• The boy thinks that he’s a stoic, when he actually isn’t.

He was clean crazy, yelling mad with the joy of living and a superfluity of youth.” Page 80

This quote from the story depicts the boys emotions, if he was a stoic he wouldn’t have felt any of those emotions.

I think that this is the main fiction element of the story, because throughout the whole story the boy thinks that he is in control of everything, including his emotions, but by the end of the story he realizes he’s not.
8) Unfamiliar Words

•To study the unfamiliar words look over your spreadsheet, and the previous tests that you have written.





By: Grade 9 Students



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