A Characterisation of the Setting in the Mother of the Child in Question

Topics: Mother, Family, Fiction Pages: 1 (276 words) Published: March 1, 2009
A Characterisation of the setting in Lessing's short story; The Mother of the Child in Question

“The mother of the child in question” is a short story by Doris Lessing, where a social worker (Stephen) is going to visit a family in their apartment. “Stained gray piles went up in the sky, and down below lay grey acres where only one person moved among puddles, soft drink cans and bits of damp paper”

In the text, the setting is described as an area of tower blocks with cement everywhere. In general, the area appears to be in a bad condition, with urine-smelling staircases. It may be a ghetto, which is usually known for these tall concrete buildings, and numerous homes on very little space.

“In front of Stephen, horizontally dividing the heavy building from the pavement to low cloud, were rows of many-coloured curtains where people kept out sight.”

The quickest route to a broken friendship is probably to step in and tell little Peter's mother and father that they are doing a lousy and miserable job raising their child. In our honest, but insolent attempt to help them become better parents, we focus our attention in the wrong direction, believing that if we just enlighten them how to correct their mistakes they will definitely pay attention. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Mother of the Child in Question (1992) is a sharply perceptive story, which deftly explores a sensitive and perennial theme: the overprotection by mothers. It concentrates on a family with a foreign background and a social worker. The social worker is to convince the father and th
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