What an incredible, wonderful exhausting book to read!
The last page has been read, the book closed, kissed and kept away yet the sentiments of those beautifully crafted words still linger around me like an intoxicating perfume leaving me dazed confused and lost in a different world and time. The protagonist’s depression rubbed on me a little. Leaving me pondering over my existence in this world as woman and what have I contributed for the betterment of humanity. I am ashamed to admit that most of my energy and efforts revolve around myself, my family and my friends’ concerns. Whatever good deed I dished out to someone or to some organization had been too inconsequential to even mention. Perhaps it’s not too late. There are so many chances to care for others and be involved.
Needles to say the book moved me very deeply. I fell in love with Anna’s (the protagonist ) beautiful, lucid introspections that assaulted me page after page, sometimes finding myself closing the book when it’s about to overwhelm me.
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”
“We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known. They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse. They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave. They have known it. We know it. But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it? No. It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them. Because the great men are too great to be bothered. They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon. That is what is important for our time. You and I are the boulder-pushers. All our lives, you and I, we’ll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain. The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind.”
Everything she said about relationships between a man and woman resonates. Loudly. Deafening.
The truth in these passages echoed in my head over and over like a song in an endless loop.
“For with my intuition I knew that this man was repeating a pattern over and over again: courting a woman with his intelligence and sympathy, claiming her emotionally; then, when she began to claim in return, running away. And the better a woman was, the sooner he would begin to run. I knew this with my intuition, and yet I sat there in my dark room, looking at the hazed wet brilliance of the purple London night sky, longing with my whole being.”
“Sometimes I dislike women, I dislike us all, because of our capacity for not-thinking when it suits us; we choose not to think when we are reaching our for happiness.”
“Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me. That’s what people really want, if they’re telling the truth.”
“He destroyed in her the knowing, doubting, sophisticated Ella, and again and again he put her intelligence to sleep, and with her willing connivance, so that she floated darkly on her love for him, on her naivety, which is another word for a spontaneous creative faith. And when his own distrust of himself destroyed this woman-in-love, so that she began thinking, she would fight to return to naivety.”
I wished I had read this book when I was younger. It could have answered my thousand whys every time a ruthless rake would cast my heart asunder. Or when people frustrates me with their denseness, with their obstinate stand to remain narrow minded and stereotypical.
Ah, Doris Lessing, I love you.
“Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.