Literature

THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK by DORRIS LESSING- BASIC PLOT AND CRITICISM

by Giz TimesMay 29, 2015

THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK by DORRIS  LESSING- BASIC PLOT AND CRITICISM

The 1962 novel by the Nobel laureate Doris Lessing, THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the best 100 English Language Novel since the year 2003. The book has been called Lessing’s “inner space fiction” and consists of various themes that mark it as a post modern text.

Basic Plot of THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK :

THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK

 The Golden Notebook is the tale of author Anna Wulf, the four journals in which she records her life, and her endeavor to tie them together in a fifth, gold-hued, note pad. The book scatters portions of an apparently sensible story of the lives of Molly and Anna, and their kids, exes and mates entitled Free Women—with selections from Anna’s four note pads, hued dark (of Anna’s involvement in Southern Rhodesia, before and amid WWII, which roused her own smash hit novel), red (of her experience as an individual from the Communist Party), yellow (a continuous novel that is being composed taking into account the difficult closure of Anna’s own relationship), and blue (Anna’s own diary where she records her recollections, dreams, and passionate life). Every notebook is come back to four times, scattered with scenes from Free Women, making non-ordered, covering areas that interface with each other. This post-advanced styling, with its space for “play” drawing in the characters and readers, is among the most renowned elements of the book, albeit Lessing demanded that readers and commentators pay consideration on the genuine topics in the novel.

*Dorris Lessing has been described as –  “The most fearless woman writer in the world unabashed ex-communist and uncompromising feminist.”

THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK – CRITICISMS

  1. Nathalie Saurette in THE AGE OF SUSPICION: The old style novels do not succeed in containing the psychological reality of today.
  2. Lorna Sage in WOMEN IN THE HOUSE OF FICTION: Each notebook spells out the same message, that putting yourself in order is the problem, not the solution.
  3. Margret Drabble: took an interview of Doris Lessing and said When she wrote THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK:
  • She was very aggressive on men.
  • Lessing was the first woman who wrote truthfully about sex.
  1. Robert Rubenstein:
  • The madness and self division are metaphors for chaotic, fragmented reality and to be adjusted to it is to acquiesce in madness of an even more insidious variety.
  • The most profound dimension of Anna Wulf’s psychic split is generated not at a political but at an emotional level, by the dissolution of her 5 year relationship with Michael.
  • Ella is fictional projection of Anna’s alter ego.
  1. Suzoko Mamoto:
  • In THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK, being unable to live in a complicated society, men either try to kill themselves like Tommy or live superficially in the pursuit of women and money like Michael, whereas women suffer from self-division.
  • Having a female friend (Molly) or a female therapist is considered important in terms of postfeminism.
  1. Gayle Green: Both men and women are crippled in the destructive society but men are more crippled because they are locked into postures that prohibit change.
  2. Ellain Showalter in A LITERATURE OF THEIR OWN: The free women in THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK by Doris Lessing are not so free after all.
  3. Lynne Segal: Before Feminism women were told to be cautious of other women because they would steal their man.
  4. Roland Barthes: The author must dismantle him/herself in order to urge the reader to integrate the text using his/her own creative capacity. “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author.”
  5. Jyon Francois Lyotard:
  • Post modern art, architecture and literature emphasize the lack of any unifying form or method in art and hence lead to the fragmentation in the human mind existing in a post modernist society.
  • Post modern artist or writer is in a position of and philosopher and can’t be judged by any pre-conceived notions.
  1. Dorris Lessing in an interview with Hermione Lee: I left Communism because the gap between my own attitudes and the parties’ was widening every day. (Same is the case with Anna)
  2. Karl Marx: “The aim of a communist society is to procure genuine freedom, genuine individuality and humanity and genuine democracy.”
  3. Judith KedanGardiner: She talks about the communist maneuverings in the novel. She says that most of the communists in the novel are deceived. Communism thus becomes a false belief in THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK.
  4. Sarah Kamla Kumari and S.Prasannasree: THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK became very much like George Eliot’s Middlemarch – ‘a compendium of women’s attitude’, but in an altogether different time.
  5. Bergonzi: “On the face of it Anna has achieved a degree of personal freedom that the new woman of Ibsen and Shaw could not have dreamed off.”
  6. Ellen Cronan Rose: “The parallel plots in Lessing’s novel represent in Jungian Terms, the rational ego and the unconscious.”
  7. Sufi Concept: Lessing was a well known disciple of Idries Shar and was influenced by the sufi concept – The tendency to compartmentalize and artificially divide physical and mental reality is disruptive and detrimental. This breaking is necessary pre requisite for a new beginning.
  8. Like DH Lawrence, Lessing views sexuality as regenerative and healing. Anna recovers through erotic energy.
  9. In a conversation with Florence Howe, Lessing admits that she was writing from a women’s point of view but about the right of an individual.
  10. Annis Pratte: “The Golden Notebook has been appropriated by many feminists as a document in the history of liberation because of its insistence on freedom. It’s movement on aggression, its attack on the masculine world.”
  11. Sushma Devi: This book provides a moving account of an individual’s quest for personal selfhood and political identity. The novel discuses racism and apartheid in Africa, anti-communist witchunt in Russia and Eastern Europe, Mc-Carthyism and its intellectual fall out in America and Britain. More than any other post war novel The Golden Notebook examines the fragmentation of society in the technological age. It also deals with the theme of art exploring the problem of subjectivity.
  12. Christina Gosnell: THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK helps in understanding understanding fog issues such as political repression, sexual abuse, single parenthood, writer’s block and the women’s movement.
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