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Configuration of Transient Shelters as Alternative Spaces Through Nomadic Acts in Doris Lessing’s “An Old Woman and Her Cat”
Doris Lessing’s short story “An Old Woman and Her Cat” from her collection, The Temptation of Jack Orkney, revolves around the nomadic experiences of an old and homeless woman in various spaces and her survival under poor living circumstances with her cat. The spaces occupied by the old woman in this story such as the Council flats, the room in the slum and the ruined flat in a wealthy neighbourhood cannot be considered as proper homes where people have a sense of belonging; rather, they are just material places she tries to appropriate as shelters temporarily on the way without a feeling of warmth and attachment to them. Focusing on the woman and the cat’s relationship with their surrounding provides a discussion on space and nomadism within the framework of Henri Lefebvre’s spatial tripartite – the perceived, the conceived and the lived – which is related to Rosi Braidotti’s theory on nomadism. It also reveals the social norms and values, which disregard an old woman and her cat’s struggle for life in a metropolis. Therefore, this article aims to discuss not only the material qualities of transient places in London and their conceived perspective which segregates the poor and the homeless from the wealthy but also the old woman’s configuration of alternative spaces for herself out of the ruins without a sense of home.

Doris Lessing, Henri Lefebvre, Rosi Braidotti, alternative space, nomadic female

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