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The Golden Notebook Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 62 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Golden Notebook.
This section contains 336 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Golden Notebook Study Guide

The Golden Notebook Summary & Study Guide Description

The Golden Notebook Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Related Titles and a Free Quiz on The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.

Plot Summary

In a word, the novel "The Golden Notebook" by Doris Lessing can be best described as complex. It is structured in a complex form intended to mimic the complexity of the life of the main character, Anna. Although complex, the form is actually an attempt by Anna to simplify and compartmentalize what she sees as disorder and chaos in her world. The main plot focuses on Anna's quest for wholeness but at the same time addresses difficult issues such as gender relations, love and marriage, suicide, child rearing and politics.

The novel is comprised of a frame story interrupted by excerpts from Anna's four notebooks. The frame story, Free Women, details a portion of Anna's life. The story begins shortly after Michael, Anna's married lover, ends their five-year relationship. Anna's friend Molly has just returned from a yearlong trip and is dealing with her son's lack of direction in life. Anna is attempting to deal with this loss as well as trying to raise a daughter on her own, deal with a friend's suicide attempt and overcome her blocked writing ability.

This frame story is divided into five sections, each separated by excerpts from Anna's notebooks. These notebooks each details one section of Anna's life. Her black notebook contains information about the time period in which she lived in Africa. An experience in Africa where a black woman was impregnated by one of Anna's friends became the background for Anna's award winning novel. Anna's red notebook includes details of her membership in the British Communist Party. The next notebook, the yellow notebook, contains a partial manuscript of a novel as well as ideas for other short stories and novels. This novel, called The Shadow of the Third, closely mirrors Anna's own life. In the blue notebook, Anna attempts to keep a day-to-day factual record of her life. Anna makes a decision to stop separating her life into sections and integrates all of her life into one notebook - referred to as the golden notebook.

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This section contains 336 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Golden Notebook Study Guide
The Golden Notebook from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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