The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Patricia Brent Character Analysis

In the yellow notebook, Patricia Brent is the conservative “editress” at the Women at Home magazine where Ella works. Brent worked at “one of the big smart woman’s magazines” but had to leave because she had no concept of fashion or culture. She takes pride in treating people she disagrees with fairly, and since her husband left her 11 years before, she consistently speaks about men with a “gallant, good-natured, wisecracking cynicism.” She eventually becomes Dr West’s mistress, and Ella fears becoming like her: at once resigned to never finding love and exceedingly reverential to men who end up mistreating her. Patricia Brent demonstrates the self-punishing resignation of women who are left behind by men but cannot conceive themselves as valuable outside their romantic relationships.
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Patricia Brent Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character Patricia Brent 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
Mrs West brings Ella to the living-room, where Ella chats with the “editress,” Mrs Patricia Brent, about her letters and “these people you can’t do anything for,” a phrase she... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...whether she is middle-class—she says she is working-class, and then to break up the conversation, Patricia leads Paul away. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
After just an hour, with Paul Tanner claimed by Patricia and another captivated woman, Ella decides to go home. She flashes him a smile and... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
At work, Ella pays special attention to Patricia after offending her with a temperamental comment. Patricia’s husband left her after 11 years, and... (full context)
The Notebooks: 2
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
The novel The Shadow of the Third resumes in the yellow notebook. Patricia Brent recommends that Ella go to Paris for a week—she needs to free herself from... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...and tells her about his “formidably pretty, intelligent and talented” fiancée, Elise. Ella knows that Patricia would love if she bought the story Comment J’ai fui un Grand Amour from Monsieur... (full context)
The Notebooks: 3
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...West tries and fails to start an affair with her; instead, he ends up with Patricia Brent, his last choice. Ella is amused but angered at Patricia’s reverence for him; she... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...and decision to stop having sex. She worries that her own bitterness will turn into Patricia Brent’s joking criticism of men; Julia’s “is turning rapidly into a corroding contempt.” Ella thinks... (full context)