Women's Writing and Writing about Women: Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook

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Doris Lessing is definitely one of the most instrumental women writers in the 20th century. In the year 1962, her chef-d'oeuvre The Golden Notebook was published. It is regarded as the companion volume of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. The novel soon becomes popular among the feminists because of its realistic description about women’s independence, consciousness and their living condition. This paper has been written with the aim to interpret The Golden Notebook from feminist perspective. Theme, structure, characters, narrative style of the novel serves well for feminist interpretation. The very structure of the novel makes the theme reach; it reflects not only the fragmentation of Anna’s inner world, but also the chaotic society…show more content…
Duplesis has asserted that “the teleological structure of romantic plots traditionally worked for the conventional endings, which deemed appropriate for women. Either the heroine is rewarded by marriage for permanent chastity, or she is ‘condemned to death’ for failing fit the straightly outlined boundaries society laid out for her. There is no room for female protagonist to get a combination of romantic love interest and a degree of Bildung. Indeed these endings were dominant, related to real practices of sexualities, gender relations, kin and family, and work for middle-class women” (Writing Beyond the Ending: Narrative Strategies of Twentieth-Century Women Writers, 4). It is the conventional plot structure of the most of the 18th century narratives and, even in the 19th century at first sight looks rewarding with respect to Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. “Love and quest were still mutually exclusive in the narrative plot. Quest traditionally is being suppressed in favour of the first. (9) One specific theme where tension between the designated role of a woman and a meaningful vocation is displayed bears a close resemblance of The Golden Notebook. The figure of the female artist as represented in the Kunstlerroman, is a sub-genre of the Bildungsroman, which covers the growth of an artist till maturity.

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