A Structural Analysis of DORis Lessing’s The Gold Notebook毕业论文
2.1. The paralleling structure in Characterization·······················2
2.1.1 Juxtaposition of Doris Lessing and Anna···························3
2.1.2 Juxtaposition of Anna and her characters····························4
2.2 The interweaving structure in Plot Arrangement·······················5
2.2.1 Interwoven Plot Structure·········································5
2.2.2 Multiple thematic concerns········································7
2.3 The non-linear structure in narrative strategy·························8
2.3.1 Inverted Narrative Orders·········································8
2.3.2 Shifting points of view···········································9
Doris Lessing (1919 – 2013) was honored as one of the greatest British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five other novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983), etc. Lessing’s fiction is commonly divided into three distinct phases: the Communist theme (1944–56), when she was writing radically on social issues (to which she returned in The Good Terrorist ); the psychological theme (1956–1969); and after that the Sufi theme, which was explored in the Canopus in Argos sequence of science fiction (or as she preferred to put it “space fiction”) novels and novellas. The Golden Notebook which won her the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature, and became the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Prize, is always considered a feminist classic by some scholars, but notably not by the author herself. Lessing did not like being pigeonholed as a feminist author. When asked why, she explained:
What the feminists want of me is something they haven’t examined because it comes from religion. They want me to bear witness. What they would really like me to say is, ‘Ha, sisters, I stand with you side by side in your struggle toward the golden dawn where all those beastly men are no more. Do they really want people to make oversimplified statements about men and women? In fact, they do. I’ve come with great regret to this conclusion.(Lessing 14)
The Golden Notebook, Lessing’s breakthrough work, tells the story of the writer and character Anna Wulf. In five notebooks, Anna records her life in the first four notebooks, and she attempts to tie them together in the fifth, gold-colored notebook. The novel intersperses segment of an ostensibly realistic narrative of the lives of Molly and Anna, and their children, ex-husband and lovers entitled Free Women with excerpts from Anna’s four notebooks, colored black (of Anna’s experience in Southern Rhodesia, before and during WWII, which inspired her own bestselling novel), red (of her experience as a member of the Communist Party), yellow (an ongoing novel that is being written based on the painful ending of Anna’s own love affair), and blue (Anna’s personal journal where she records her memories, dreams, and emotional life). Each notebook is referred to four times, interspersed with episodes from Free Women, creating non-chronological, overlapping sections that interact with one another.
There are so many different researches about this novel. The first is the thematic and image study. The novel is rich in content, including times, politics, art, sexual relations and etc. All four notebooks testify the above themes of Stalinism, the Cold War and the threat of nuclear conflagration, and women’s struggle with the conflicts of work, sex, love, maternity and etc. The second is the psychological and religious critique study. At that time, some people criticized that the description of experience and consciousness in The Golden Notebook was too abstract, and stuffless. On the other hand many people started to analyze it from psychological and religious critique. The third one is form and artistry study which started from 1980s.
This thesis is aimed to discuss the structure in the novel by analyzing its characterization, plot arrangement, and narrative techniques and thereby disclose the writer’s attempts to explore order in the seemingly disordered, and then probe the true aims of the structure innovation, and analyze the theme from the special structure. This thesis is divided into three parts. The first part analyzes the paralleling structure in characterization. The second part discusses the interweaving structure in plot arrangement. The third part expresses the non-lineal structure in narrative strategy.
2.1. The paralleling structure in Characterization
The paralleling structure in characterization is embodied not only in the biographical similarities of the writer and her characters, but also in the juxtaposition of the writer and her character. After we read this novel deeply, we can compare Lessing’s life with Anna’s in “Free Women” and Ayla’s life in The Shadow of the Third Party, we can easily find they have high degree of similarity. We all know that when Lessing comes back to England from Africa, she is a single mom with the manuscript of The Grass Is Singing. In the “Free Women”, the main body of The Golden Notebook, the protagonist is also a woman writer and single mom. She publishes a book Brink of War about the life in Africa. Anna’s Yellow notebook is a novel called The Shadow of the Third Party, the main character Ayla is still a single mom and writing a suicide novel. The similarities of the three women, both as writers and mothers represent the juxtaposition of writers and their characters, embodying the complexity and variety of characterization.