The fifth child worksheet 3

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The scene takes place in Harriet and David's home, first in their bedroom, cf l. 5-6: ”It's this room, I swear it's a baby-maker, l. 30: ”Harriet lay weeping on her bed ...” and l. 33: “He sat on his side of the bed...” and finally in the kitchen”, cf l.60: “She sat at the head of the table-the position near the stove-”
Soon after they have bought their bigVictorian House, Harriet is pregnant. She & David are going to announce her pregnancy when David's parents and Harriet's are reunited. They hardly dare to announce the arrival of the first baby. Frederick, Molly's husband, tells them they are mad and irresponsible to rush into parenthood. Later, they discuss with David's father and stepmother about the mansion. James approves oftheir decision; he thinks it's a good investment and not overpriced. Dorothy, H's mother, is more reticent concerning babies. She makes a difference between aristocrats, who can afford many children and a large house, and “middle” people, who have to be more careful because they will have to raise them correctly. Luke comes into the world, then Helen, Jane and finally Paul. Thefamily is happy, although a Down's syndrome child was born into Sarah and Williams family.
The extract can be divided into 3 parts:
a) From the beginning to l. 22 “And she would be right.”: Harriet cannot manage without help after Dorothy's departure.
b) From l. 23 “It will be easier ....” to l.44 “... washing up.”: D & H have an argument/ quarrel: Harriet insists that thewhole family come for Xmas as usual whereas David thinks it costs too much; they also disagree on the fact that H cannot manage to keep any of the girls they hired for help.
c) From l. 45 “Dorothy telephoned ...” down to the end : Although she feels she needs a break, Dorothy comes back to find her daughter is pregnant again, which she strongly disapproves of.
The important event that takesplace at the Lovatts' is that Harriet is pregnant again for the fifth time and to their utter dismay as they had decided not to have anymore children for a while.
Dorothy's role in this passage is that of a saviour or a life-saver. Harriet cannot cope on her own; she needs some help. She needs someone who does all the work, who both looks after the children & does thehousework, not like the girls she hired & who she thought were hopeless, were nothing else but burdens.
{text:soft-page-break} When she learns that she is pregnant, Harriet feels shocked and utterly dismayed, totally helpless and confused - cf l. 2 “To her utter dismay” & l. 3 “How could it have happened?”- all the more so as this fifth pregnancy had not be planned, and on topof that the four previous pregnancies were no beds of roses; she is exhausted therefore this new pregnancy is not welcome .
(cf 6.)
She puts off telling Dorothy that she is pregnant because she knows that the latter will disapprove & that she will be scolded by her mother who thinks she is irresponsible.
Dorothy is very angry to find out that Harriet is pregnantagain; although she does not voice it, she reproaches them for using her as a maid, for letting her do all the work in the house; she silently blames them for being selfish and irresponsible too, cf l. 54-59”; she contains her anger, suppresses it because she knows that anger is a bad counsellor & that in the grip of it, she might go too far & say things she may regret later. Ibelieve her reaction is quite understandable and can be accounted for. Indeed, she has already helped the couple and did more than her share, being at their house full time, minding both the children & the housework and even taking off on visits to help Sarah, her other daughter. At one stage, it is mentioned that Dorothy “remarked sometimes that it was a pity there wasn't...
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