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First scene of Doris Lessing's "The Fifth Child"

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  1. Introduction
  2. The charecters
  3. A stark contrast
  4. What it foretells?
  5. Conclusion

This extract is the first scene of Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child, a book published in 1988 which deals with Ben a monster-like child whose birth deeply alters his parent's life.
This first scene introduces us to the main characters i.e. David and Harriet and sets the general tone of the story to continue. In this extract we are given insight into characters and their lifestyles, their moral and psychological traits.

I will study David and Harriet to see the stark contrast between them and their environment.

We first met David and Harriet David at an office party ,or they meet each other for the first time and right from the start it sets the tone with adjectives such as "conservative'' ,"old-fashioned" the narrator use them as "non-affectionate adjectives". We immediately feel that David and Harriet don't fit in and are not welcome by the rest of the crowd.

[...] III/ What it fore tells The first scene not only gives us insights of the main characters, but it also foretells the way these two will conduct their married life. "Old-fashion" and "unfashionable" are the true key words in this passage and this is how they are going to lead their life, that is in an outdated manner, not caring about what goes on around them. When other party guests "engaged and separated, ricocheting off each other", they appeared to have found a soul mate. [...]


[...] stood near a nice vase of dried grasses and leaves and her dress was something flowery. The Gazing eyes saw her curly dark hair, with blue eyes that were soft but thoughtful lips rather too firmly closed. In fact, all her features were strong and good and she was solidly built. A healthy young woman but perhaps belonged more at home or in a garden David had been standing just where he was for an hour ago, drinking judiciously, his serious grey-blue eyes taking their time watching how people engaged and separated, and rebound to each other. [...]

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