What is the theme of The Golden Notebook?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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One of the central themes in The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing is identity and how trying to define it in terms of one's own personality is fraught with tricky problems. A person's identity depends on so many things such as personality, personal history and baggage and background and education. Anna realises that she has not been precise or accurate enough in trying to define hers, and that her efforts to do so,particulary through her writing, have been misleading to others. She decides to try again but again has great hurdles to overcome in trying to record the truth. So truth is another theme. Her resulting psycholgical distress and gradual unravelling of mental order is another theme. Guilt and culpabilty as themes play a part in this too as Anna contemplates her role in another person's death. Eventually, although partial responsible for Anna's breakdown, the notebooks' cathartic actions mean that they also contribute her new-found self-awareness: