• CommentAuthorBlack
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2008

    I've just started reading this wonderful novel (p. 40, Perennial Classics edition). I'm wondering what readers make of the strawberry scene.

    Molly accuses the strawberry seller, "young, yellow, lean and deprived," of overcharging and calls him a shark. Then, wants him to quit working and enter into a discussion of their differences. She then calls him a sourpuss.

    The strawberry seller claims Molly doesn't know the business and claims the need to work for a living. And, then, with hurt feelings he accuses her of being what? Loose?

    Later, I think, everyone but Richard eats the strawberries, Tommy with his back to everyone.

    Any thoughts about the scene?

    • CommentAuthorKirsten
    • CommentTimeDec 1st 2008
    I hadn't thought of this until you said "Everyone but Richard eats the strawberries, Tommy with his back to everyone," and perhaps this is reading too far into things, but this may be Lessing's way of introducing communism. As many readers have pointed out, color seems to have much significance in the novel, and here we have red strawberries. In this early chapter, Anna says she thinks people have forgotten why communism was attractive in the first place - there was a delicious feeling of creativity, and of joining together behind a cause. Everyone is sucked in (to both strawberries and communism) except Richard, and Tommy is initially resistant, but even he finds himself drawn in later on in the book. This scene is unusually since it allows the characters some pleasure, which they find little of as the movement (and in turn, each of them) falls apart.