Analysis of the Mother of the Child

Topics: Smile, Sociology, Zygomaticus major muscle Pages: 4 (1113 words) Published: February 5, 2011
Analysis and interpretation of “The Mother of the Child in Question”

doris lessing

Characterization of the housing estate: tower blocks, cement everywhere, litter lying around, the lift smells of urine and vomit (p.152) grim, drab, dreary, desolate, depressing, ugly.

The characters
Stephen Bentley, social worker
Hassan, aged 12, well-dressed and well-mannered, his English is fluent (153:14) Mrs Khan, plump and pretty, dressed in a Pakistani outfit of pink silk. Speaks English but not very well (p.153:6) Mr Khan is not present although Stephen had spoken to him on the phone the day before and confirmed the visit. Shireen, aged 10, dressed in blue silk, pretty like a kitten, has private fantasies and internal merriment. A report says that ‘the child in question would possibly benefit to a limited extent from special tuition’ (153:19).

The last visit by a social worker
9 months ago the last social worker wrote, ‘Father did not keep appointment. His presence essential’ (152:29). It is essential that the male head of the family is present, since he is responsible for all decisions.

How does Mrs Khan try to pretend that Shireen is normal?
Mrs Khan addresses Shireen in English and then in Urdu, but the girl responds to neither (153:5). Mrs Khan tries to smile at Shireen to calm her down (153:25). Mrs Khan takes up a picture book for a 3-year-old and holds it in front of Shireen pretending that they are reading (154:1)

Sum up the distribution of colours and what they suggest about the social environment and the life of this family, respectively. Warm colours inside, cold colours outside. The Khan family’s home is polished and bright with a red sofa and shiny cushions in the chairs; Mrs Khan and her daughter are dressed in pink and blue silk tunics; Hassan is wearing his school uniform with a blue jersey over a white-collared shirt; Shireen’s picture book is brightly...
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