This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessing. “To Room Nineteen” is a short story by Doris Lessing . • Doris Lessing. To Room Nineteen • was an additional proof of their happiness. They had played the same roles, male and female, in this group or set . To Room Nineteen. Lessing, Doris. Primary Finally, in order to get some time alone, she rents a hotel room every afternoon where she just sits and thinks.
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From the magnificent ‘To Room Nineteen’, a study of a dry, controlled middle class marriage ‘grounded in intelligence’, to the shocking and sharp ‘A Woman on a Roo.
From the magnificent ‘To Room Nineteen’, a study of a dry, controlled middle class marriage ‘grounded in intelligence’, to the shocking and sharp ‘A Woman on a Roof, where a workman becomes obsessed with a pretty sunbather, this superb collection of stories from the s through lessign the s bears witness to Doris Lessing’s extraordinary perspective on the human condition. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
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To Room Nineteen
Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessing. For more than four decades, Doris Lessing’s work has wittily and wryly observed the muddle and passion of human relations, unflinchingly dissected its truths and shown us the unique quality of her understanding.
From the magnificent ‘To Room Nineteen’, a study of a dry, controlled middle class marriage ‘grounded in intelligence’, to the shocking and sharp ‘A Woman on a Roo For more than four decades, Doris Lessing’s work has wittily and wryly observed the muddle and passion of human relations, unflinchingly dissected its truths and shown us the unique quality of her understanding.
Paperbackpages. Published October 10th by Flamingo first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about To Room Nineteenplease sign up. Neerja Tripathi guilty as charged. See 1 question about To Room Nineteen…. Lists with This Book. These are my thoughts on the title story only. Susan Rawlings is married to a man she has loved, has four beloved children, is financially comfortable, and seeks a centre and purpose for her life. She yearns for ‘freedom’ and can only satisfy her need by renting a seedy hotel room to sit in for seven hours a day doing nothing at all.
Finally, ha These are my thoughts on the title story only.
Finally, having falsely admitted to her husband that she is having an affair and receiving a reciprocal true confession, she returns to the room and ends her life. Little colour is given to Matthew’s portrait; is it unimportant to Lessing’s purpose. The briefly sketched character of Sophie Traub, the agreeable German au pair who seems to understand Susan’s plight, in so far as she can imagine a healthy response to it, is more significant and interesting.
Sophie seems to be a healthy mirror for Susan, even a younger self, representing possibilities and freedoms no longer open to Susan, but real for Sophie’s generation.
Lessing does not need to describe the freedom Susan is starving for; her desperation is absolutely clear and her husband’s rational objection based on the comparison with his own life is met with the reader’s sympathetic frustration.
Matthew can carry on a secret affair; he has an independent emotional life. The constraints on his time reflect his power and control and are utterly different from the ostensibly light demands on Susan, which render her purposeless and subject her emotions to scrutiny from all sides.
Though we understand her thirst, her extreme solution highlights the severity of her disease. She is ill and therefore society is ill. Susan’s life is her culture’s ideal for a woman, yet it drives her to despair. She is so damaged that the ‘creative darkness’ she accesses does not heal her. All artists have some kind of creative inner refuge, which satisfies and is restorative, even transformative when it is productive.
Susan lacks a creative outlet she has worked as a commercial artist so she has the mechanical ability to express herself because she lacks stimulation – this is what patriarchy has deprived her of, no? When Lily paints a tree in a creative space that enlarges her spirit it is a tree that Susan could never see in the garden that threatens her and where she senses the presence of her ‘enemy’, who takes a man’s image.
She is oppressed and her emotional space is pressurised by this monster, who is a creation of her guilt and resentment, of the ‘aridity’ she can’t fathom. Perhaps it’s her response which is pathological – we want her to confront this demon and instead she retreats and retreats – but the whole story is pervaded by a sense of inevitability, as if no escape from him is possible.
So the creative confrontation, the artist’s episode of self-discovery, is not accessible to Susan, and Lessing sees this as a fatal disaster. View all 5 comments. Dec 03, Chen Wen rated it it was amazing. It is said that married men like to sit in their cars in the garage before going back home. Marriage is a chasm and we are all trying to enjoy the fall. View all 11 comments.
Nov 23, Laura Rittenhouse rated it it was amazing. It’s obvious why Lessing won the Nobel prize – she can write! Room 19 is a simple story about a frustrated housewife. Her life goes exactly according to plan which leaves her at a loss when she can’t manage happiness. This story is a fantastic character piece that really gets you into the head of someone you might know, might even be, but would rather not deal with.
You could easily summarise this as a book about an ungrateful woman suffering a mid-life crisis and find it devoid of anything new or interesting – but boy would you be way off the mark. I don’t want to presume to know what Ms Lessing was thinking about when she wrote this but it certainly made me wonder what it takes to be happy, consider how much we can actually manufacture our own happiness and whether that changes with time.
To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessing, |
So many things to think about coming from such a short story. It turns out that I really like Doris Lessing. They have the same dry sarcastic sort of writing. This short story starts off quite innocently, pairing up husband and wife in their seemingly equal circumstances… Up until the wife is singled out in the task of giving up her career to look after their children.
Thus starts a divide between the couple. The wife ceases to have a life besides her family, while the husband is ever more absent from home, becoming entranced in his work and finding comfort outside of marriage. There is no way to win this game.
You realize just how little she has, despite on the surface having it all. Such a strange world we live in. They had everything they had wanted and had planned for. Too much of something is in itself a sickness that can drive you to madness. When you have everything you have ever wished for, have ever wanted and planned for, what is there more to have and look forward to then? Nov 06, Eman Ismael rated it really liked it Shelves: It’s the first English story that I found interesting, even it doesn’t have many events.
Mar 24, Neira rated it really liked it Shelves: However, while Edna Pontellier’s end is depicted as victorious and Gilman’s “madwoman” also reaches a freedom of sorts, Susan seems to succumb under her entrapment after a short-lived freedom always of sorts.
The insight into the protagonist’s thoughts, however, makes the story refreshing and original if not as hopeful as the two above. Jul 22, Lady Jane rated it it was ok. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was expecting something more realistic considering we’re talking about an “intelligent” marriage. I thought that would be their Achilles heel The way the story opened up, it did seem like it was taking that route.
They had to be perfectly “rational” in everything, very left-brained, clinical, methodical, no room for emotion. I was almost certain that wou I was expecting something more realistic considering we’re talking about an “intelligent” marriage. I was almost certain that would be the downfall, as it often is in relationships of the sort where partners treat it as a business unit rather than the union of two loving, beautifully flawed, emotional beings.
Well, the story kind of lost me when later on in their marriage, the wife started blaming her anxieties on demons, and talked about literally seeing demons. I mean, come ON. Her anxiety actually stems from the fact that she needs solitude sometimes.
A few hours a day of solitude, without needing to manage four children, a husband and two maids. So she does this by sneaking secretly renting a hotel room three times a week.
All by herself, just to sit there in silence and do nothing. This goes on for a year before her husband starts investigating. He thinks she’s having an affair. He confronts her about it, she tells him what she’s really been doing Her pride is hurt, so she falsely “confesses” that yes, she is also having an affair, just to be on equal terms. The husband seems relieved, asks questions about him, tells her he doesn’t see himself married to anyone else, and that he’s glad they both finally opened up.
Then he suggests a foursome. The woman says her lover is out of town, but that she’ll suggest it when she sees him.
Now she’s stuck trying to figure out what to do because she doesn’t actually have a lover! She was just renting the hotel room to have alone time from the kids and responsibilities, She’s disgusted by the idea of a foursome, by her husband, by the things she made up It all seemed so unnecessary, unlikely, and utterly ridiculous.
Jul 15, Heather Sellers rated it it was amazing. I read only the title story, however I felt the anxiety that Susan describes, and I felt the utter sadness, or even touching on despondency, when you reach the end of the story that I imagine Susan felt as well. There was a certain slide into contentment at the end at making a decision that was solely her own, not needing to answer to anyone else for it, and I also felt the frustration of not getting the help or support that she so desperately needed, and the fear of reprisal if she should Wow!
There was a certain slide into contentment at the end at making a decision that was solely her own, not needing to answer to anyone else for it, and I also felt the frustration of not getting the help or support that she so desperately needed, and the fear of reprisal if she should actually tell anyone how she was feeling.
I also felt frustrated with her, because I can only empathize with her feelings, not being able to say they are my own, but it is rather telling that this story can evoke so many emotions in just a few pages that some very long drawn out novels can never hope to tap dance near.