Response Paper – The fifth Child by Sophia Söderström
The fifth child, a book written by Doris Lessing, describes the life-changing events in a happy couples life. Harriet and David Lovatt an upper-middle-class couple meet each other at an office party. The relationship goes quickly forward and they bought an enormous house outside of London with the idea to raise a lot of children there, maybe six or even eight. Nine months after they bought the house the first baby came, Luke. Everything went on well and they were very happy. They became the centrepiece of the family and a lot of relatives and friends came to visit for the holidays. However, no one was really supporting the fact that they wanted to have a big family. Everyone was thinking, how will they be able to support this house with eight children? David and Harriet couldn’t manage without help. It started already when they bought the house and David’s father James took care of the mortgage. Harriet’s mother was probably the person who helped out the most and she was also the person who seemed to be against, David and Harriet’s life plan, the most. However, This was something I was stunned by already in the beginning of the book. How Harriet and David wanted to find happiness and achieve something, but they didn’t seem to care if they did it on others expenses. I see this as one of Doris Lessing’s key points in the book. We will read about the family’s six happy years for forty-eight pages of the book and then the change will come trough the birth of their fifth child, Ben. Harriet use to have difficulties during her pregnancy but this one is far more worse. This baby seems too active and she is struggling a lot until he finally is born in the eight month. Ben is not like their other children. In the book he is described like this by Harriet thoughts, “He was not a pretty baby He did not look like a baby at all”(p.48). No one likes Ben and less people are coming to the house for the holidays. His family...
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