In Room Nineteen Why Did Susan Commit Suicide? Reconsidering Gender Relations from a Doris Lessing’s Novel

Ningchuan WANG, Yiping WEN


Based on the discourses of Marxist feminism and Psychoanalysis, the paper attempts to reconsider gender relations via a feminist novel “To Room Nineteen”, written by Doris Lessing(1919-), a Nobel Prize winner. Analyzed through the theory of self both by Karen Horney and Lacan,it focuses on the heroine, Susan’s suicidal process, aiming to study the relation between self and ego-- in relation to the “self” and “others”. Phenomenologically, the suicide was caused by the psychological conflicts in her inner self owing to her embarrassing social status. Ontologically, it reveals the disparity and contradiction between her ideal, gender identity (the given nature) and patriarchy (the dominant ideology). It also helps to explain the tension between feminism and patriarchy--why feminists have been scrambling for getting rid of diverse patriarchal suppressions but failing to subvert.

Key words: Doris Lessing; To Room Nineteen; Gender Relations; Marxist Feminism; Psychoanalysis


Doris Lessing; To Room Nineteen; Gender Relations; Marxist Feminism; Psychoanalysis



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