The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Jimmy McGrath Character Analysis

In the black notebook, Jimmy is one of the Oxford airmen, who was born to a middle-class Scottish family but adopts “an elaborately affected Oxford drawl.” Unlike Paul Blackenhurst and Ted Brown, who were only homosexual as a form of fashionable protest, Jimmy’s homosexuality is genuine and leads him to a near-constant state of anxiety and insecurity that is only compounded by his fear of dying in the war. He drinks heavily and often gets lost, injures himself, or embarrasses all of the socialists at the Mashopi Hotel. He is completely in love with Paul, who resents and insults him in return. Jimmy ultimately survives the war and ends up in a sexless marriage in England.
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Jimmy McGrath Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character Jimmy McGrath 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
Jimmy McGrath, on the other hand, “suffer[s] a hell of fear.” He ends up surviving the... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...care.” Willi and Paul boss the waiter around, but Ted is kind to him, and Jimmy gets drunk immediately—the rest follow suit, and they decided to return the following weekend. (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
...George to go, but he refuses, and they drunkenly stumble away to his caravan with Jimmy. George chases after them and grabs them—Jimmy falls and bloodies his forehead on the ground,... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...men “positively hang-dog with sex frustration” but still fixated on her brother. And so is Jimmy, who stands next to her but is still in love with Paul. Meanwhile, Paul is... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...night—Paul Blackenhurst with Anna, Willi with Maryrose (on whom George Hounslow was also fixated), and Jimmy, somehow cut and bleeding again, by himself. This becomes “the pattern for all the rest”... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...family, which would probably have to return to Nyasaland instead of staying near the hotel. Jimmy also disgusted Mrs Boothby the previous weekend by drunkenly kissing Paul Blackenhurst. This final weekend,... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Around midnight, Paul Blackenhurst mentions that Jimmy has not returned and goes looking for him along with Anna and George Hounslow. They... (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
George Hounslow stumbles away, and Anna and Paul Blackenhurst take Jimmy to bed before Paul tries bringing Anna to bed herself, since he knows he might... (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
...Jackson has already disappeared with his family, leaving his chickens behind. Mrs Boothby apologizes to Jimmy, who has no recollection of the night before, but she has no regrets about firing... (full context)
The Notebooks: 3
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...Boothby wants pigeon pie. She directs Paul to a nearby marsh, and he goes with Jimmy, Willi, Maryrose, and Anna out into the veld after breakfast. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...of stupidity.” Paul Blackenhurst suggests that the butterflies are also “pursuing vile sex”; Paul and Jimmy crouch down to pull busy grasshoppers off one another and reorganize two couples, re-matching insects... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...pigeon but hear innumerable, maddening cicadas. Paul shoots the pigeon and, like a hunting dog, Jimmy retrieves it. They can hear more pigeons in the distance. Jimmy pokes at some holes... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Two more pigeons arrive; Paul Blackenhurst shoots them and Jimmy reluctantly retrieves them. Then one more—Paul splatters Jimmy’s arm with blood but fails to kill... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...ever been). Paul shoots another bird on his second try, then retrieves it himself when Jimmy refuses. (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...he becomes an investor in the future. Three more birds appear, Paul shoots them and Jimmy brings them back. They have enough pigeons, so it is time to head back. (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
A large beetle approaches, and Jimmy puts it in the ant-eater pit, where it fights with the other insect; another bird... (full context)