"Character Analysis of Judith in Doris Lessing's 'Our Friend Judith'"

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English 102: Introduction to Literature

Instructions from professor: Write an essay (at least 3 pages) - a brief character analysis of Judith. Use examples from the story to support and develop the thesis. Devote particular attention to the details that contribute to the characterization.

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Through the revelations of an unnamed narrator, we are given a glimpse of Judith's contradictory attitudes and behaviors without any insight into previous experiences that would explain them. Judith's persona is more than an enigma; many people are not what they seem if we don't know them well. No, her character and actions are so out of alignment as to exist almost as multiple personalities.

Judith is a complex woman who, on one hand, values her privacy and lives a somewhat isolated life (no other female friends are mentioned beyond the narrator and Betty), and, on the other hand, has no qualms about discussing extremely personal matters, such as her sex life, with her two lady friends.

She is not well socialized, which results in her self-imposed isolation. There is a hint that something cut her off from her family long ago, as she is now "on cool good terms" with them. Judith's family is upper middle class and described as quite brilliant. Judith is well educated in diverse subjects (poetry and biology at Oxford) and well read. Yet she does not work and is never described as doing anything constructive with her life. She lives on very little money in a low-class flat that is "shabby and badly heated" and furnished with old, worn items. Her behavior indicates that she is distancing herself from her family by living in a way that is in direct opposition to their lifestyle, and suggests some form of childhood abuse.

Judith's friends think that she's extremely...