The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Maryrose is a young white woman and former model, born and raised in the British Cape Colony in present-day South Africa, and the only woman in the socialists’ group besides Anna. Most of the men she encounters, including Paul Blackenhurst and Willi Rodde, obsess over her beauty while ignoring her formidable intellect. Maryrose is sensitive, non-confrontational, and more sympathetic to the situation of white settlers than the others in the group. During her time at the Mashopi Hotel, she is heartbroken over the death of her brother (with whom she possibly had an incestuous relationship) and feels ambivalent about the prospect of a relationship with George Hounslow, whom she considers the only man capable of fulfilling her romantically.
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Maryrose Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character Maryrose 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
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...a “self-punishing, cynical tone” that comforts the pain of remembering her political activities in Africa.) Maryrose, as usual, silences the argument—the men never take her seriously, even though she is a... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...Mrs Boothby’s relief, June soon meets someone. Just as he had once shocked and subdued Maryrose’s mother with a few harsh words, Willi loves to bully Mrs Boothby. That night, they... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Maryrose is “a tiny slender girl,” born and raised in the Colonies, and a former model.... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
Then the roadsman George Hounslow arrives in his caravan—he kisses Maryrose and Anna, leading them to exchange pained smiles they prefer not to think about, before... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...While some refuse the concept “under pressure of all our knowledge,” it is undeniable that Maryrose will always be Maryrose; even if she has a breakdown, “she would break down into... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...Ted hummed, but Stanley has “no ear at all.” Paul Blackenhurst points out how pitiful Maryrose is, surrounded by men “positively hang-dog with sex frustration” but still fixated on her brother.... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
George Hounslow walks in and comes after Maryrose—he always approaches women with humble words but intent eyes; he is a rare breed “who... (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
Anna goes inside, past George Hounslow, and meets Maryrose, who has clearly been crying after realizing that the group has lost its optimism about... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
They dance until about five that night—Paul Blackenhurst with Anna, Willi with Maryrose (on whom George Hounslow was also fixated), and Jimmy, somehow cut and bleeding again, by... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...George and because he sees her budding relationship with Paul (and she notices his with Maryrose). (full context)
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...she defends the Rosenbergs but not Michael’s friends. Molly cries, too, which reminds Anna of Maryrose crying when she realized that the beautiful revolution will not happen. (full context)
The Notebooks: 3
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...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
...if Paul had said the same thing. Paul crushes his two insect couples, which offends Maryrose, and gives a speech imitating Stalin, which alienates everyone. (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...colony has enough resources for its million and a half blacks—like the whole world, says Maryrose. Humorlessly, Willi says to look to “the philosophy of the class struggle,” and everyone but... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...and criticizes “the simple savagery” of Africans—another joke on Willi, who falls for it easily. Maryrose reassures Willi that they are laughing at his predictability, not his words. Paul disagrees—Willi is... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
...cicadas begin shrieking again, and two more pigeons land at the other clump of trees—at Maryrose’s request, Paul refrains from shooting them. The two walk off together; the others remark that... (full context)