The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Julia Character Analysis

Julia is Molly’s equivalent in Anna’s novel manuscript The Shadow of the Third, which appears in the yellow notebook. Like Molly, she is an unsuccessful, unmarried Jewish actress with communist leanings (unlike Molly, Julia is not a member of the Party). She plays a much smaller role in the yellow notebook than Molly does in Free Women, although Ella reveals her close attachment to Julia when she moves out into her own apartment. Julia has more contempt for men than Molly; she is an astute, if pessimistic, critic of sex and relationships, and perhaps reflects the responses Anna wishes Molly would offer her in their conversations about men.
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Julia Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character Julia appears in The Golden Notebook. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Notebooks: 1
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...The Shadow of the Third and is a manuscript for a new novel) begins with Julia calling upstairs to Ella, who is putting her four-year-old son, Michael, to sleep and has... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
Julia mentions that Ella wants to remarry and should go to the party—they are both “very... (full context)
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
Ella reads Julia one of her letters, which was addressed to the medical advice column but apparently neurotic... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...is hard not because of the writing but because of Ella’s shame at it—she knows Julia would respond badly, with some “judgment from the current communist armoury,” if she were to... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...agrees to go on a drive with Paul the following afternoon and returns inside to Julia’s home. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Julia invites Ella into her bedroom—the party was boring, Ella says, but a man whom she... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...next day, Ella thinks about Paul Tanner’s voice while making lunch for her son, whom Julia has brought to visit friends while Paul takes Ella for their drive. Ella is at... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...cries, ignoring the doorbell and the telephone, which ring again and turn out to be Julia, telling Ella she can stay out; Paul calls soon after, and Ella agrees to go... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...which makes her feel “completely rejected” and disdain their sex that night. She chats with Julia, who is pessimistic about Paul and thinks he had “such a tight miserable face”—and he... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...emotional for women,” and that even “the most perceptive and intelligent man” cannot understand—like when Julia insists that a marriage broke up because the wife did not love the husband, and... (full context)
The Notebooks: 2
Love and Sex Theme Icon
At home, Ella tells Julia that Cy was “very nice” and she will be “extremely depressed in the morning,” although... (full context)
The Notebooks: 3
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Ella moves out of Julia’s flat, creating animosity between them. Ella realizes that Julia used to dominate her but now... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...“hatred and resentment,” while Ella continues to ruminate about Paul Tanner. Ella also learns that Julia has “protected [her] from a certain kind of attention”—she sees the difference between living alone... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Ella talks with Julia at a mutual friend’s house, and “their relations are chilly” until she mentions Dr West.... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...gets four phone calls from men at work in the next few weeks and tells Julia, who “shows a flash of triumph.” They share an awkward silence, considering Ella’s departure and... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...know he has been sleeping around. She decides to give up sex and not tell Julia. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
At lunch the next day, Ella nevertheless tells Julia about her experience and decision to stop having sex. She worries that her own bitterness... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Ella finds Julia “sardonic rather than bitter.” Julia explains that the impotent actor has made another advance, and... (full context)
The Golden Notebook
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...through various films: Mashopi, then Paul Tanner and Ella, then Michael and Anna, Ella and Julia, Anna and Molly. He laughs when it says, “directed by Anna Wulf,” over Anna’s pleas... (full context)