The Golden Notebook A True Gem

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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. Continue reading

She Would Fight To Return To Naivety

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.”

― Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

Response To The Post “Women Are Second Class Citizens “

jalal michael sabbagh on October 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm said:

Jofelyn,your post about women being second class citizens is true in most 3rd.world country .l believe firmly God created us equal.Man is the one who invented laws to be the boss.I believe Women will do much better job if they rule the WORLD.My regards.jalal

Jofelyn M. Khapra on October 11, 2012 at 6:30 am said:

Jalal I would rather live in a world where a person is no longer define by gender but as human. Where he and she is irrelevant. The person who have the best capacity to rule should rule regardless of gender. 🙂

Ruth Rainwater on October 11, 2012 at 12:44 am said:

Unfortunately, it isn’t only in 3rd world countries where women are second class citizens, but in the US also. Women have come a long way here, but there is still a long way to go. I look forward to a time when women can be who and what they want to be, just like men are.

Jofelyn M. Khapra on October 11, 2012 at 6:26 am said:

I and my husband had been discussing this same issue a few weeks back, we came to the same conclusion, sadly.

The Quote:

‘Anyone could tell us two writers shouldn’t be together. Or rather, that a competitive American shouldn’t be with a woman who has written a book.’
‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘It’s a challenge to my sexual superiority, and that isn’t a joke.’

‘I know it isn’t. But please don’t give me any more of your pompous socialist lectures about the equality of men and women.’

‘I shall probably give you pompous lectures because I enjoy it. But I won’t believe in them myself. The truth is, I resent you for having written a book which was a success. And I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve always been a hypocrite, and in fact I enjoy a society where women are second-class citizens, I enjoy being boss and being flattered.’

‘Good,’ I said. ‘Because in a society where not one man in ten thousand begins to understand the ways in which women are second-class citizens, we have to rely for company on the men who are at least not hypocrites.’

‘And now we’ve settled that, you can make me some coffee, because that is your role in life.’

‘It will be a pleasure,’ I said, and we had breakfast in good-humour, liking each other.

– from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Women Are Second Class Citizens

‘Anyone could tell us two writers shouldn’t be together. Or rather, that a competitive American shouldn’t be with a woman who has written a book.’

‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘It’s a challenge to my sexual superiority, and that isn’t a joke.’

‘I know it isn’t. But please don’t give me any more of your pompous socialist lectures about the equality of men and women.’

‘I shall probably give you pompous lectures because I enjoy it. But I won’t believe in them myself. The truth is, I resent you for having written a book which was a success. And I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve always been a hypocrite, and in fact I enjoy a society where women are second-class citizens, I enjoy being boss and being flattered.’

‘Good,’ I said. ‘Because in a society where not one man in ten thousand begins to understand the ways in which women are second-class citizens, we have to rely for company on the men who are at least not hypocrites.’

‘And now we’ve settled that, you can make me some coffee, because that is your role in life.’

‘It will be a pleasure,’ I said, and we had breakfast in good-humour, liking each other.

– from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

The Boulder Pushers

‘There’s a great black mountain. It’s human stupidity. There are a group of people who push a boulder up the mountain. When they’ve got a few feet up, there’s a war, or the wrong sort of revolution, and the boulder rolls down — not to the bottom, it always manages to end a few inches higher than when it started. So the group of people put their shoulders to the boulder and start pushing again. Meanwhile, at the top of the mountain stand a few great men. Sometimes they look down and nod and say: Good, the boulder-pushers are still on duty. But meanwhile we are meditating about the nature of space, or what it will be like when the world is full of people who don’t hate and fear and murder.’

‘Hmm. Well I want to be one of the great men on top of the mountain.’

‘Bad luck for both of us, we are both boulder-pushers.’

*****

“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.

― Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

To Be A Woman Independent And Single

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What is terrible is that after every one of the phases of my life is finished, I am left with no more than some banal commonplace that everyone knows; in this case , that women’s emotions are still fitted for a kind of society that no longer exists. My deep emotions, my real ones, are to do with my relationship with a man. One man. But I don’t live that kind of life and I know few woman who do. So what I feel is irrelevant and silly…I am always coming to a conclusion that my real emotions are foolish, I am always having, as it were, to cancel myself out. I ought to be like a man, caring more for my work than for people; I ought to put my work first, and take men as they come, or find an ordinary comfortable man for bread and butter reasons– but I won’t do it, I can’t be like that…

Ella from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

This novel have me in a tight grip. As I turned the pages I get sucked more and more into it. I can feel my mood changing, my being, my thoughts, influenced. My dreams becoming vivid intermingling with the characters in the book as if I am living their lives.

The Author a woman. The protagonist a woman who is writing about the life of a woman in the 1950s. About a period of time when the roles of women were set for change. Feminism was rising in a crescendo and women were breaking free from stereotypes but still galled at the fact that they still need the love of a man to make them happy. Her honesty stings. And still so relevant even today. The truth in her words scalds. It forces you to look at what you refuse to acknowledge.I am like a moth drawn to a fire. I cannot stop reading even if it burns me.

©JMKhapra

Illustration by Jofelyn M. Khapra