chapter  6
Free indirect discourse in Doris Lessing’s ‘One off the Short List’
A case of designed ambiguity
ByHelen Aristar Dry
Pages 17

Doris Lessing’s ‘One off the Short List’ (1958/1992) is a short story ‘about a journalist who forces sex on a woman who does not want him and afterwards makes the humiliating discovery that he and his sexual attentions are of minimal importance to the woman’s scheme of things. Though the subject is what Germaine Greer has characterized as “petty rape”, in [the story the woman], without stooping to conscious retaliation, [affirms her] moral and intellectual superiority over a cocksure and intellectually manipulative male’ (Harvey 1993:66).