The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Jackson / The Cook Character Analysis

Jackson is the amiable and hardworking African cook at the Mashopi Hotel, whose budding friendship with Paul Blackenhurst during the black notebook draws Mrs Boothby’s ire. After Mrs Boothby catches Jackson helping the drunk, homosexual Jimmy McGrath get up off the kitchen floor, she sends him, his wife Marie, and his family back to Nyasaland, even though she has employed him for 15 years. The tension between his personality and his fate demonstrates the tragedy of colonial racism.
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Jackson / The Cook Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character Jackson / The Cook appears in The Golden Notebook. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Notebooks: 1
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...off to bed, and George Hounslow asks what they are doing there—Paul Blackenhurst decides that the Boothbys’ cook will be “the obvious key man” in their revolutionary plans, and George is furious at... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
The next morning, the three airmen come with breakfast, which they had convinced the cook to let them make—and the rest of the hotel’s guests are already partying, so all... (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
...why she hit him. She leaves for lunch, and Anna finds George outside, gazing at the cook ’s shack, failing to light his cigarette. The gong rings, signaling lunchtime, but George tells... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...kitchen (being there is “against the rules”), where they have been chatting with the cook, Jackson. Paul instead starts walking Jackson back to his cottage, making sure to show white spectators... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...the kitchen to help with that evening’s dinner, and of course Paul starts chatting with Jackson, which leads to an explosive argument with Mrs Boothby—June storms out, and Paul and Anna... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Paul Blackenhurst meets Jackson after his shift ends, while George Hounslow looks at “the father of my child” and... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...the cold shoulder, and she goes to take a nap, only to watch Stanley visit Jackson in his cottage and ask for the keys to the cupboard, and then Stanley eagerly... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...returned and goes looking for him along with Anna and George Hounslow. They stumble upon Jackson in the kitchen, “angry and troubled” for the first time, looking at “Jimmy lying asleep... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...follows him, and Willi intercepts her, bringing her into the bedroom, where he proclaims that Jackson’s firing is “the best thing that can have happened” because George will “come to his... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
The next day, George Hounslow is solemn, and Jackson has already disappeared with his family, leaving his chickens behind. Mrs Boothby apologizes to Jimmy,... (full context)