The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Ivor Character Analysis

Ivor is a gay Welsh student who rents out the extra room in Anna’s flat. He is reclusive until after Tommy’s suicide attempt, when he becomes something of a surrogate father to Janet, and his lover Ronnie moves into the apartment. While Anna appreciates his help with Janet, she worries that his influence is harmful because he is not “a real man.” Although he returns to his previous isolation after Ronnie leaves, Anna eventually evicts him, too, hitting him in the face with the flowers he offers her. Anna’s attitudes toward Ivor reveal her contradictory sense that “real” heterosexual love requires tension and conflict, and that masculinity is about the kind of insensitivity and power that she loves in Michael and Saul.
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Ivor Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character Ivor appears in The Golden Notebook. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Free Women: 3
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Anna is not worried about returning late, since she has Ivor, the upstairs boarder, who has recently become Janet’s friend and has started looking after her.... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Anna hears Ivor reading Janet a story about a girls’ school and feels that he is mocking “the... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...braver than giving up alcohol altogether—and Anna mentions that she has just seen Richard as Ivor finishes his story for Janet upstairs. Marion looks like “an abundant, happy, lively matron.” (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Anna has to bring Janet dinner. When she does, Janet asks whether Anna likes Ivor and Ronnie—Anna says she does like them, but Janet knows she actually despises Ronnie, “because... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Anna decides that Ronnie is the problem and figures she will tell Ivor to get rid of him. She feels as she did about Jemmie, a previous boarder... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...over the lotion, and Ronnie leaves for the bedroom. On her way upstairs, Anna hears Ivor and Ronnie announce, “Fat buttocky cows…” and “Sagging sweaty breasts…” from their room, then make... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...dream is a sign of self-knowledge, which means that “she must shed burdens.” She tells Ivor to leave; he offers money, which she refuses, and says they will talk about it... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
That night, Ivor asks that only Ronnie leave, and Anna agrees. Ronnie makes a scene that leads Anna... (full context)
Free Women: 4
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...Janet will not end up “incomplete and tormented and fighting” like everyone else. Anna tells Ivor to vacate the next day, but she knows he will bring her flowers and an... (full context)
The Notebooks: 4
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
Janet is disappointed that Ivor has left, and she wants to go to boarding school—Anna feels “sad and rejected, then... (full context)