The fifth child

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  • Publié le : 20 août 2010
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I have chosen to study The Fifth Child with my students in terminales the coming year. I have found difficulty in finding much related to its analysis. Pity there are no cliffnotes or sparknotes.The following I came across in what is known as Library thing. Hope you find it helpful.

Harriet and David Lovatt are a happy upper-middle-class couple, living in the house of their dreams duringthe 1960s. Their world is filled with visiting family who stay for weeks at a time and with their four children, all born in the large, comfy house. When Harriet becomes pregnant all too soon afterthe birth of Paul -- the fourth child -- something changes. The child seems to rebel against her inside the womb, draining her of energy, making her tired and irritable when dealing with the rest of thefamily. But after the violent birth of Ben -- the fifth child -- the idyllic life of the Lovatts changes forever.

What I found intriguing about the story was how the Lovatt's family life shows howsociety as a whole reacts to change, especially when it's a perceived negative change. Most people notice the change and either ignore it or believe someone else will take care of it; others -- asmall few -- will try to do something, anything, to work with the change in some beneficial way. From the moment Ben is born, everyone in the Lovatt family turns their backs on him. The other children dotheir best to avoid him; most of the extended family stops their annual visits; David denies that the child is even his. And then they lay all the blame on someone else. They want to stay stuck intheir comfortable routines. But not Harriet. She definitely sees the differences and tries to go along with the rest of the family, but some maternal instinct won't let her abandon him no matter howmuch she knows it's in the best interest of the rest of her family. She shows him love, tries to teach him right from wrong, does whatever she can to make Ben understand and at the end, still isn't...