• CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2008

    This thread is for discussions about Page 15 of the online edition of The Golden Notebook, and the readers' comments. Please show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.

    • CommentAuthorKirsten
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2008
    In response to Lenelle's comment: "free" is a label they've given themselves. But it isn't that simple, is it? There is a sense that the word itself is limiting, just the way that a subjective narration is limiting. A single adjective, like a single perspective, is not enough. From one angle, certainly they are free from marriage, but they are not free from feelings of desire nor dissatisfaction (which they seem to tie to "marriage" as they remind themselves they are "free").

    Anna herself first declares them "free women" on page four, but she says so "wryly." But Lessing has given this adjective in the title of the first book; Anna simply echoes it. And if we think of Lessing as echoing a label given by a larger culture at this particular moment, we are sorting through many layers of meaning. This ties us back (as so many pages do!) to Lessing's introduction, page xviii in the American edition, that "once a pressure or a current has started, there is now way of avoiding it: there is no way of <i>not</i> being intensely subjective." Lessing seems pleased to exist somewhere in between either and or ("Bound. Free."), and employs a simple title to call into question how "free" the readers think the "free women" are (presumably this will be up for debate throughout the text). Freedom is a premise for the first chapter, not the conclusion of the last.
    • CommentAuthorlian
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2008
    In 68, I was 18 and all I wanted was to be free. In 86, when I read The Golden Notebook, I felt totally free, although doomed to be "princeless"... Doris prepared me to accept my fate. I love it.
    I read this book & all of the children of violence, plus several others, in the early 70s, when I was in my late teens. I am amazed at how radical it seems now while it didn't at all then. Two women discussing being polygamous like Molly & Anna -- I don't hear discussions like this now, but it was the very open assumed attitude among myself and my friends then. We've really swung back to a much more conservative social pattern today of worshipping the nuclear family & motherhood above nearly all else. yechchchc. Like Lian I am so glad that I read doris early on (and of course other influences) and looked for something more. Thanks Women's Studies departments!