Politics of Feminine Abuse: Political Oppression and Masculine Obstinacy in Doris Lessing’s The Good Terrorist

Pedram Lalbakhsh, Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya


This paper studies the male-dominated world of Doris Lessing’s novel The Good Terrorist. Alice Mellings, the protagonist of the novel, is a political activist whose reliance on male figures in the story—the leaders of a subdivision of a political party—ends in disillusionment and frustration. Looking at this novel from a socialist feminist point of view, Alice Mellings is found to be a minor member, exploited and abused, who has to follow the orders and instructions of her inept superiors—all male. While Alice is the one who guarantees the continuation of activism (doing all kinds of jobs needed to keep the squat alive), she is never allowed to have a role in decision making. She is a member whose identity is defined by male superiors and is considered as a half-human whose services are to be enjoyed only. However, the findings of this study prove Alice as one who has her own voice at the end. The novel’s closing is marked with an engendered New Woman who is aware of the political abuse and whose independent unbound identity stands much higher than the political oppression and masculine obstinacy that had imprisoned her for so long. She is a different woman at the end; one who knows her power, believes in it and decides to fight and not to surrender. And this is a new consciousness that Lessing raises: discover your feminine power, have a firm belief in it and use it to win.



Abusive politics, female subjugation, female exploitation, New Woman, socialist

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.3p.54


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