Form And Content In The Golden Notebook English Literature Essay

The Golden Notebook is Doris Lessings most celebrated novel and it was published in 1962. This novel is besides considered one of the major plants of twentieth-century literature. Many women’s rightists of the sixtiess have seen it as an influential work that revealed the experience of adult females in society.

The novel is about Anna Wulf, a author and individual adult female, who keeps four different colored notebooks where she writes about her life. In black notebook she writes about her experiences in Africa, before and during WWII, which inspired her for to compose her first novel. In ruddy notebook she writes about her experience as a member of communist party. Yellow notebook is an on-going novel that is being written based on the stoping of Anna ‘s ain love matter and in bluish notebook she writes her ain memories, dreams in a signifier of a diary. All four notebooks and the frame narrative screen subjects of Stalinism, the Cold War and the menace of atomic inferno, and adult females ‘s battles with the struggles of work, sex, love, pregnancy, and political relations.

In The Golden Notebook Doris Lessing explores the subject of dislocation, mental and social dislocation, ‘that sometimes when people ‘crack up ‘ it is a manner of self-healing, of the interior ego ‘s dismissing false dualities and divisions ‘ . ( Lessing, 1989: 8 ) It besides has a powerful anti-war and anti-Stalinist message, an analysis of communism, and scrutiny of the up-coming sexual and adult females ‘s release motions.

Relationship between signifier and content is a topic that must be raised when it comes to analysing The Golden Notebook. This paper begins with word picture of the novel ‘s major subjects and so it explains its signifier, conveying these two subjects into connexion subsequently on. It is about impossible to discourse this novel without explicating its signifier because the signifier of the fresh supports its cardinal subject. This will be analyzed in the chapter covering with signifier but besides in the chapter that explains relationship between signifier and content in the novel.

This novel has been translated into a figure of other linguistic communications. In 2005, The Golden Notebook was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to show.

Major subjects

Doris Lessing stated that major subjects in her novel The Golden Notebook are subject of ‘breakdown ‘ and subject of integrity. But most of the unfavorable judgment of the novel after it was published and written articles about The Golden Notebook even in our clip focal point attending on other subjects that are elaborated in the frame novel and in the four notebooks. These subjects are the state of affairs of adult females, relationship between work forces and adult females, maternity, sex, creativeness, work, belief and political relations.

The state of affairs of adult females in the novel is presented through its cardinal character Anna Wulf. She is a author who got her fiscal independency after publication of her first and merely fresh ‘Frontiers of War ‘ and is faced with composing block because she feels ‘incapable of composing the lone sort of novel which involvements me: a book powered with an rational or moral passion strong plenty to make order, to make a new manner of looking at life. It is because I am excessively diffused. I have decided ne’er to compose another novel. ‘ ( Lessing, 1989: 76 )

Anna feels like ‘everything ‘s checking up ‘ because she struggles to accommodate her ain life with the political and philosophical ambiance of her age, to do sense of the pandemonium she feels all around her. Subject of creativeness is explored through Ana ‘s composing block and it is connected with the subject of integrity that has its triumph over the subject of ‘breakdown ‘ in the 5th gold colored notebook where Anna eventually gets capable of composing a novel as in one piece non to spread it into four facets.

Besides being a author Anna is besides a divorced adult female and a female parent. Doris Lessing discussed subject of maternity in the fresh depicting relationship between Anna and her girl Janet.

“ Lessing writes about the struggles between the maternal and the titillating life, of the duty that can maintain a suicidal female parent alive in the thick of dislocation, of the attempts ( sometimes black ) to carry on a calling while rise uping a kid. She has ne’er had any clip for manque adult females authors who complain that gestations silenced them or cut down their end product: acquire on with it, that was her poising advice. She did see the jobs adult females authors face as being different from those faced by work forces, and although she vehemently rejected the women’s rightist label, of class we read her as a women’s rightist. ” ( )

Anna is shown as a adult female emotionally self-sufficing and committed to her life style of passionate political relations and frequent personal businesss at the same clip she feels empty and hates herself for hungering the security of love, for she sees it as giving in to all that feminine mawkishness that she wishes to be above. Work force are shown like unfaithful, polygamous, unsatisfactory, and rude to their married womans, unable to give pleasance, intimidation, selfish, and indifferent to their kids. But Anna is obsessed with them handling her terribly. The worse they behave to her, the more sexually aroused she becomes. So it is unsure if this is truly a societal commentary or a personal narrative. Sexual dealingss in the novel are characterized with inhuman treatment, treachery and emotional numbness.

This novel reflected on such topics which were tabus in the clip it was published and later on. These topics like menses, climax and frigidness were masterfully confronted with literary decorousness.

As for political subject the fresh describes a universe in which Stalin is being exposed for his offenses in the Soviet Union, the British Communist Party is fall ining, and in the States Senator McCarthy ‘s ‘Red Terror ‘ is decimating the left wing clerisy.

Form in The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook has autobiographical beds: the character Anna reflects elements of writer Doris Lessing ‘s ain life, while Anna writes an autobiographical novel about her imagined Ella, who writes autobiographical narratives. The signifier of the novel besides interlaces the political struggles and emotional struggles in the characters ‘ lives. Rejection of traditional signifier and construction in art and literature can be seen in scrutiny of The Golden Notebook. This rejection is besides characteristic of feminist theoretical point of view ; it is frequently that feminism and postmodernism overlap as in this novel.

Skeleton, or frame of the novel is a short novel, realistic narration of the lives of Molly and Anna, and their kids, ex-husbands and lovers-called Free Women- and it could stand by itself. But it is divided into five subdivisions and separated by phases of the Anna ‘s four notebooks, Black, Red, Yellow and Blue. “ The Notebooks are kept by Anna Wulf, a cardinal character of Free Women. She keeps four, and non one because, as she recognizes, she has to divide things off from each other, out if fright of pandemonium, of formlessness- of dislocation. Pressures, inner and outer, end the Notebooks ; a heavy black line is drawn across the page of one after another. ” ( Lessing, 1989: 7 )

Each notebook is returned to four times, intermixed with episodes from Free Women, making non-chronological, overlapping subdivisions that interact with one another. This post-modernistic styling, with its infinite and room for “ drama ” prosecuting the characters and readers, is among the most celebrated characteristics of the book. When notebooks are finished, their fragments are tied to organize something new The Aureate Notebook. “ In the interior Golden Notebook, things have come together, the divisions have broken down, there is formlessness with the terminal of fragmentation-the victory of the 2nd subject, which is that of integrity. “ ( Lessing, 1989: 7 ) In its signifier this novel is different from the other experimental novels of the sixtiess in its wrestle with narrative, individuality, tone, and truth. Form is of import in The Golden Notebook because it elaborates its chief subject of ‘breakdown ‘ and helps readers to understand Anna ‘s efforts to remain sane in a universe that seems to be falling apart.

Relationship between signifier and content in The Golden Notebook

“ This novel, so, is an effort to interrupt a signifier ; to interrupt certain signifiers of consciousness and travel beyond them. While composing it, I found I did non believe some of the things I thought I believed: or instead, that I hold in my head at the same clip beliefs and thoughts that are seemingly contradictory. Why non? We are, after all, populating in the center of a whirlwind. “ ( )

The Golden Notebook depicts behaviours, aspirations, concerns and the peculiar jobs of the times in which we live. That is accomplished through portraiture of a cardinal character in the fresh author Anna Wulf who deals with some sort of a block which prevented her from making. Picturing grounds for the block Doris Lessing besides made the unfavorable judgment about full society. In Anna ‘s notebooks Doris Lessing made another book, a book about literary unfavorable judgment, utilizing different literary manners in a manner that the form of the book and appositions of the manners would supply the unfavorable judgment. In making so through the unfavorable judgment of literature Mrs. Lessing made a unfavorable judgment of life, and wrote about jobs of disaffection. Doris Lessing defines this procedure of composing a book inside another book as blending these two books into one, maintaining the form of the book enclosed and claustrophobic-‘so egotistic that the capable affair must interrupt through the signifier. ‘ ( )

There are four different colored notebooks Black, Red, Yellow and Blue to confirm the novel ‘s subjects of compartmentalisation and dislocation.

“ These notebooks represent the strain to personality of nonintegrated consciousness, and it remains as feature of ( female ) experience now as so that what Lessing calls the being of “ false dualities and divisions ” – the ego as fragmental and compartmentalized and therefore as potentially dishonest in and of itself – amendss individualism and its position in civilization. The artificial-personal supplants the universal-personal ; truth becomes intermittent and fractured, naming for lunacy, dislocation and decomposition of personality in order for division and falsity to be swept off. ” ( )

The novel is centered around these four notebooks ; each notebook is different, the black 1 where she speaks of her early old ages in Africa, the ruddy 1 where she speaks of her places on Communism, a xanthous one where she has a “ novel within a novel ” , and eventually the blue one where she has a personal journal. These four notebooks cover with assorted subjects: sex, parentage, creativeness, work, belief and political relations.

Doris Lessing has insisted that despite extended inclusion of issues of societal, political, sexual, and psychological import in The Golden Notebook, its existent significance, is non in its content but in its form. In an interview with Florence Howe she said that in the ‘Free Women ‘ subdivision, the envelope, she was truly seeking to show her desperation of composing a conventional novel. She described this subdivision as an perfectly whole conventional novel and the remainder of the book as the stuff that went into doing it. She besides remarked in an debut to the novel The Golden Notebook that her major purpose was to determine a book which would do its ain remark, a mute statement: to speak through the manner it was shaped.

“ Although framed by a conventional novel called Free Women, the point of the novel, harmonizing to Lessing, is the “ relation of its parts to each other. ” By sing her life from these different angles, traveling over her experiences, estimating her responses, and carefully examining her intertwined beds of consciousness, Anna finally manages to unite her identify in one notebook. As she does so, she comes to footings with her turning disenchantment with communism, the injury of emotional rejection and sexual treachery, professional anxiousnesss, and the tensenesss of friendly relationship and household. “ ( )

Relationship between signifier and content is most clearly shown in the relationship between xanthous notebook and bluish notebook in the last subdivision of notebooks. In the xanthous notebook Anna offers 19 possible signifiers for composing a novel/story, these possible signifiers, all 19 of them, are used for composing narrative that makes the bluish notebook. For illustration foremost possible narrative to compose is about a adult female who has an matter with a adult male younger than herself. In the bluish notebook ‘s narrative Anna has an matter with a adult male who is younger than herself cognizing that this is merely as she suggested in the first possible narrative ‘another love matter simply ‘ . ( Lessing, 1989: 467 ) Second possible narrative offers subject of a adult male who uses the linguistic communication of emotionally adult people to derive a adult female. This is what happens in the bluish notebook between Anna and Saul. Third possible narrative is about adult females falling in love with work forces unworthy of them. In Anna ‘s and Saul ‘s narrative that is referred to in Molly ‘s warning that any adult female who gets involved with Mr. Green is out of her senses, and that he is a adult male to travel to bed with for one dark and to lose his telephone figure afterwards.


In one of her quotation marks Doris Lessing suggests to authors that they should compose foremost of all to delight themselves, and non to care about anybody else. In Lessing ‘s sentiment authorship ca n’t be a manner of life because of import portion of authorship is populating ; a author must populate in such a manner that composing emerges from it. This is the best possible description for her novel The Golden Notebook published in 1962, her most celebrated novel is written in a mode that reflects existent life. This fresh emerges from life of its writer ; the character Anna reflects elements of writer Doris Lessing ‘s ain life, it is like she has poured every experience she had of all time had into her characters.

The Golden Notebook is a narrative about a author Anna Wulf who has some sort of block which prevents her from making. Through depicting the grounds for the block Doris Lessing made a unfavorable judgment of society. Novel is shaped in order that its signifier can stand itself as a statement and it presents novel ‘s cardinal subject of ‘breakdown ‘ . Anna Wulf keeps four different colored notebooks where she writes about her life as if it was divided into four sections: her early experiences as a immature adult female and creative person are written down in the black notebook, her political beliefs and activities in the Communist party in England are in the ruddy notebook, an on-going novel about her alter self-importance Ella is in the xanthous notebook and her memories and dreams are written in a signifier of a journal in the bluish notebook. The notebook of the rubric is a 5th, gold-coloured notebook in which Anna attempts to bind these notebooks together to stress other of import subject that is subject of integrity.

This novel besides has a powerful anti-war and anti-Stalinist message, an drawn-out analysis of communism and scrutiny of up-coming sexual and adult females ‘s release motions. It has been translated into figure of linguistic communications and it was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English linguistic communication novels from 1923.