The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Ella’s Father Character Analysis

In the yellow notebook, Ella’s father is an aging, exceedingly introverted, ex-military man who lives in splendid isolation in Cornwall, passing his days reading philosophy and writing poetry. When Ella asks him about their family, he professes that he never cared much for other people or had an active sex life with her mother. He loves Ella in the abstract but has no interest in learning about her life; he believes that people cannot change and are better off alone than trying to form relationships with people unlike them. His pessimism about relationships is a more extreme version of what Ella and Anna already feel about their inability to meaningfully connect with men.
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Ella’s Father Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character Ella’s Father appears in The Golden Notebook. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Notebooks: 1
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...at a canteen during the war, spending six months in a sanatorium with tuberculosis, and her father , a brutish ex-army man. He asks about her novels—she denies that she writes. Ella... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...villages,” and Paul Tanner is “frankly startled” (which she only understands later). He asks about Ella’s father , whom she insists is not “like the caricatures” but rather lives alone in an... (full context)
The Notebooks: 3
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
Ella visits her father , who is as solitary and unchanging as always. Ella wonders what her parents’ marriage... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Ella’s father says that Ella was justification enough of his marriage. Family seems “pretty unreal” to him;... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
Alone, Ella remembers her mother running when her father kissed her; he spent his days alone with books, stuffing drawers with unshared writings, which... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
Ella’s father thinks that Ella is especially wrong to demand happiness from life (he says it is... (full context)