The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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De Silva is an old friend of Molly’s, who moved from his native Ceylon to London and married a British woman before moving back home after failing in his journalism career. Later, he moves back to London on a whim, borrowing the money for his travel and leaving his wife and children penniless in Ceylon. Near the end of the novel, in the last part of the blue notebook, Anna sleeps with him “because it didn’t matter to me.” She cannot stand his arrogance and misanthropy—he tells her about convincing a girl to let him pretend to be in love with her, only to fall out of his fantasy when she actually responded to his romantic gestures, and later about ruining his friend’s marriage by revealing an affair, just “to see what will happen.” After Anna refuses to sleep with him again, he tries to sleep with a prostitute in the room above her to make her jealous—but when she finds him out, he cries pathetically to her and asks for forgiveness. Like Nelson, he represents men’s bifurcated consciousness and “the principle of joy-in-giving-pain”: he hurts and neglects women but expects Anna to care for him and forgive his cruelty.
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De Silva Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character De Silva appears in The Golden Notebook. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Free Women: 1
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...either. They chat briefly about the Americans in London, Tom Mathlong, and Molly’s old friend De Silva , who went home to Ceylon, left his wife there, and returned to London (although... (full context)
The Notebooks: 3
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...afraid of failing again. After another black line on the page, she describes this man, De Silva , who had returned to his native Ceylon from London years ago after failing to... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
After dinner, De Silva insists on telling Anna a story. High on marijuana, he once walked up to a... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Later, De Silva tells another story, about his friend B.B., permanently unsatisfied with his marriage, who was sleeping... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Anna spends the night with De Silva “because it didn’t matter.” At times, he seems like a desperate infant, and they are... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
De Silva calls later and asks to have “a friend of mine” sleep in Janet’s room. Anna... (full context)
The Golden Notebook
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...he is visiting a woman. He comes back inside her room, and she thinks of De Silva saying, “I wanted to see what would happen.” She and Saul both do. Saul compares... (full context)