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The Concern With Individualism and Freedom in Martha Quest According to Paul Schlueter the novels of Doris Lessing tend to give her characters a personal commitment that will in turn provide the means for the individual to purposefully identify with others and to the world This commitment can be pursued in a variety of ways whether it becomes a battle for personal freedom or even for womens independence In the novel of Martha Quest Martha obtains this freedom through her reading Schlueter 2 Martha has to achieve this freedom herself for as Lessing says every human being is unfree from the moment of conception and she emphasizes that people are influenced by the manner of their parents and others who may also influence ones attitude Lessing seems to have some of the same beliefs about freedom that Martha has in the novel Schlueter reveals his observation that Lessing seems to choose characters in her novels that have the capability to move freely through a masculine world Schlueter 62 At the beginning of Martha Quest Martha is sickened when she hears her mother and Mrs Van Rensberg say that she should make men respect her if she intends to do well for herself Lessing 15 Martha seems to have her own opinion on the subject which is probably that men should respect women just for the dear fact that women respect men She also seems to possess the view that one should not have to prove oneself to anyone or make someone respect oneself This also seems to be similar to Lessings thoughts that some women seem to be pushed into being someone they are not Many conform to the image they are presented with but if someone is living with this false identity it will end up being a huge weight on ones life Sukenick 117 Martha is trying desperately to acquire an identity in a masculine world that will set her
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