Engendering the Feminine Power: Identity, Prescience and Anticipation in Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing and The Good Terrorist
The story of Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing and The Good Terrorist goes around two characters that may seem quite different at the first sight. Mary Turner and Alice Mellings come from different cultures and live in different historical contexts. Yet, both share oppression and exploitation in economic and sexual terms. While Mary has to enter a family that mirrors the prevalent oppressive relations in the society Alice enters a family-like circle in which oppressive relations are dominant and overwhelming. The former is oppressed and exploited under the patriarchal conduct of her husband while the latter has to suffer a lot being bound to an abusive boyfriend and exploitative squat. But oppression and exploitation are not the only things these two share. A strong sense of anticipation and prescience are the qualities that shape these characters’ identities. Reading these two novels from a socialist feminist point of view we argue that Lessing introduces anticipation and prescience as crucial characteristics for her protagonists. Considering the emphasis that Lessing puts on anticipation and prescience we believe that she takes these qualities as subversive power in the hand of women who struggle to change and revolutionize oppressive relations in capitalist and patriarchal structures. While women are always bombarded by ideological messages that advocate their inferior position in the hierarchy of family and society, we argue that Lessing’s prescient characters can be good examples of New Women who can be powerful agents trespassing false identities and ideologies of patriarchal capitalist circles and societies.
Key words: Doris Lessing; Prescience; Anticipation; Socialist Feminism
Doris Lessing; Prescience; Anticipation; Socialist Feminism
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