Proceedings of Research Papers Presented At The National Research Seminar In English On “Widening Canvas Of Literature” Held On 03rd And 04th December, 2015

 Gautam Chatterjee,

Astt. Professor

Mahakal Institute of Technology


Described by the Swedish Academy as  “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”, Lessing is a Nobel Laureate who observed history , saw and scrutinized the flaws of present and depicted a bleak future where flaws of our present age would eventually lead us to.

She is a prolific British  novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her major works are The Grass is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983)

The novel under consideration is Memoirs of a Survivor(1981). The story takes place in a near-future Britain where society has broken down due to an unspecified disaster. Family units themselves have broken down and survivors band together into loose units for basic survival.

The unnamed narrator ends up with ‘custody’ of a teenage girl named Emily Cartwright. Emily herself has unspecified trauma in her past that the main character does not probe at. Hugo, an odd mix of cat and dog, comes with Emily. Due to the growing scarcity of resources, the animal is in constant danger of being eaten.

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Voicing the Impending Doom in Lessing’s Memoirs for Survivors