Doris Lessing Questions and Answers

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I want to know about structuralism, Marxism, and ideology in "The Old Chief Mshlanga."  

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Though Doris Lessing was a member of the Communist Party during part of her life, there is, in my view, no special reason to interpret "The Old Chief Mshlanga" as embodying a specfically Marxist ideology. At the time the story was written (1951) much or most of the Western world was still lacking any understanding of the immense injustice of racial oppression in South Africa and elsewhere. The US South at that time, of course, was still governed by a legalized system of racial segregation. Many conservative people in the 1950s tended to associate liberal ideas about race with Communism, partly because the Communist Party was, or professed to be, in favor of full racial equality, while the mainstream political parties in most Western countries were not.

That said, it's clear that Lessing's description of the apartheid system in this story can be subjected to a Marxian analysis, which would tend to identify racial oppression as having an economic basis. The climax of "The Old Chief Mshlanga"...

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