||This thesis intends to examine the theme of women’s identity searching through everyday life in Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. First published in 1962, The Golden Notebook deals with revolutionary topics concerning women and freedom. It is through the background descriptions of everyday life that Lessing depicts women and their relations with society. My focus in this thesis is on three daily aspects that women confront the most: the everyday space, domestic chores and women’s images in the mass media. Using both feminist theories and theories of everyday life, the thesis argues that female identity is shaped by what they do in everyday life, that it is embedded in the practices of everyday life.|
The first chapter focuses on the everyday space women inhabit such as the room, the house and the city. Michel de Certeau’s analysis of the visibility of the city and private space is discussed with the feminist views concerning women and their roles in both public places (workplace and city) and private ones (house, room and kitchen). The result indicates that women’s relationship with space both facilitates and impedes their search for the selves. The second chapter investigates women’s role in domestic realms with a focus on cooking and food. Though routine works such as cooking daily meals are usually taken as insignificant matters, they are actually the determining force of women’s identity making because women perceive their social roles by responding to those trifles in their daily life. Availing itself of Luce Giard’s conception of culinary activities as a pleasure for women and Sarah Sceats’ view of the relation between food and women, the chapter suggests that women’s own definition of belonging and what they value in everyday life have everything to do with cooking and the sharing of food. In chapter three, I use Henri Lefebvre’s conception of women’s magazine and Betty Friedan’s critique regarding certain female images in public media to point out how women live under the watchful eyes of society. I argue that, in modern society, mass media also plays a significant role in women’s identity searching because women’s images on the mass media may trigger each woman’s reflection of their own life. This study demonstrates that through the daily activities, women discover their selves and thus reconstruct their identities in the end.