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The Eco-consciousness of Doris Lessing

Author ZhangXiaoLei
Tutor LiuGuoQing
School Northeast Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Doris Lessing eco-consciousness eco-criticism
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize in 2007 for her works in 1960s– 1970s. Undoubtedly, she is a complex and prolific writer in English literature in 20th century. In her novels not only the ecological crisis of the nature but also the crises of man’s spiritual ecology are exposed by Doris Lessing. Lessing offers her way to heal the crisis and appeals that man should join nature and keep a harmonious relation with nature. Such kind of harmonious relationship between man and nature is what Lessing is seeking for. Only in such kind of harmonious condition can human beings live happily and develop in a right way. This thesis analyzes Lessing’s eco-consciousness in The Memoirs of a Survivor and Mara and Dann: an Adventure with eco-critic theory, explores her considerations on the natural crisis, the social crisis, the spiritual crisis and her humanistic care.The thesis contains six parts: the introduction deals with the research background and purpose, such as Lessing’s life and works, the content of the novels, in order to help readers understand the following analysis. Chapter One analyzes Doris Lessing’s natural world which is embodied in the novels. She describes magnificently the natural world and thinks deeply of relationship between man and nature, which reveals her deep care and unique understanding of nature. Chapter Two and Three explores Doris Lessing’s worry about social ecology and spiritual ecology embodied in her works. The destruction brought about by the Industrial Revolution comes easily into view. Industrial civilization not only destroys beautiful nature, but also ruins humanity. People cannot achieve self-fulfillment and consequently lose themselves in life. Chapter Four analyzes Doris Lessing’s solution to deal with the crisis social ecology and crisis of spiritual ecology. Doris Lessing appeals that man should keep a close and harmonious relationship with nature and take precious care of men’s own nature, which is the top concern of eco-criticism. Human beings should regard nature as a good friend because nature is the source of living. The Conclusion argues that Doris Lessing is a great writer who understands the complex relationship between man and nature and who believes that the destruction of natural world must doom human being. Lessing shows her ecological consciousness and presents her worry about nature and human being’s fate in the apocalyptic scenery of the novels. The study of the novels from the ecological perspective reveals that the works are significantly suggestive to the contemporary people and the current social practice.

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