Doris Lessing Short Fiction Analysis
Doris Lessing engaged in a lifelong process of self-education, becoming involved with all the important intellectual and political movements of the twentieth century: Freudian and Jungian psychology, Marxism, feminism, existentialism, mysticism, sociobiology, and speculative scientific theory. All these interests appear in her fiction, which consequently serves as a record of the changing climate of the times. She has also displayed in her writing an increasing anxiety about humanity’s ability to survive.
In Doris Lessing’s short fiction, the reader meets characters remarkable for their intelligence, their unceasing analysis of their emotions, and their essential blindness to their true motivations. The people who move through her stories, while very vividly placid in the details of their lives, are in essence types. As Lessing says in her preface to The Golden Notebook, they are “so general and representative of the time that they are anonymous, you could put names to them like those in the old Morality Plays.” Those whom the reader meets most frequently in the short fiction are Mr. I-am-free-because-I-belong-nowhere, Miss I-must-have-love-and-happiness, Mrs. I-have-to-be-good-at-everything-I-do, Mr. Where-is-a-real-woman, and Ms. Where-is-a-real-man; and there is one final type Lessing names, Mrs. If-we-deal-very-well-with-this-small-problem-then-perhaps-we-can-forget-we-daren’t-look-at-the-big-ones. This last type is the character so...
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