• CommentAuthorphilippa
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2008
    I'm increasingly aware of an undertow of violence in the novel, and wondering if others are seeing it too. There's Tommy's attempted suicide, the tense scene in Africa ( UK edition, 367-384) where we witness not only the pigeon shooting but Paul and Jimmy (one deliberately, the other unwittingly) killing off insects, the scene preceding it with the pigeon-kicking in London, the lengthy set of news clippings about bombs and wars and killings. Then there are times when Anna feels or is followed by men when she's walking alone at night in London, and even at a party she attends (UK ed: 430-432), there's a great deal of violence, albeit here the violence manifests verbally rather than physically. And more. It's global violence and it's personal violence, it's systemic and it's individuated. I know Lessing was appalled at the political and diplomatic state of the world when she wrote the novel (she's said so publicly), and of course she's writing about (and at) a moment when the threat of nuclear war seemed real and immediate to many, but the violence seems to me to run deeper even than that, and is enmeshed in Anna's psychological state and at least some of her relationships. Inside-out/outside in? Is there a link between Anna's interior mental world and her political persona? As a Communist (or even an ex-Communist as she becomes) she would have been exposed frequently to angst-ridden debates about how far the rumours of savage violence trickling out of the USSR were true. Clearly in the novel she's struggling with her political ethics at the same time she's struggling with her frail psyche. I'm still chewing over how exactly violence functions in those struggles.
    • CommentAuthorGnoe
    • CommentTimeDec 12th 2008
    I don't know at which page in the novel you are at the moment (I don't want to spoil anything), but I'm in the 4th Blue Notebook and (joy in) violence/hurting seems to be playing an important role. It is leading somewhere.
    I've, just located the read on Wesleyan's list of recommended book's to read. I, also just posted it to my old H.S. and hopefully the kids will read the book and of course, except the message that violence is o.k. on T.V and in book, yet not in reality. So. I am looking foward to commenting and obtaining feedback, on the lit. and some insight into other persons opinions. I'm, still as of yet, trying to get some of my girlfriends, comment and or except an invite to an Art Gallery. It's a shame the genocide in Africa happened..... I'm sure for person from there the nightmares are re occurant. I've personally never been and really not into it.... the people of course their human, yet the place it self.... way to hot.