The Fifth Child Literary Analysis

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An oppressed woman in patriarchy

In the book ‘the Fifth child’, Doris Lessings illustrates the unfairness of women in the patriarchal society in 1970s. The protagonist, Harriet is a conservative and old-fashioned woman who shares the family value with her husband, David that forming a family with lots of children must be happy. It seems that the couple are happy living with their four lovely children. However, after their fifth child, Ben is born, more problems and conflicts occur in this family. Harriet finds that she always receives unjustified criticism when there are problems in their family. She is greatly suffered because of the traditional family value which she believes in and the oppression from the patriarchal society. Through the
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For Harriet, she is oppressed and suffered in the patriarchal society. David and Harriet are conventional in the gender stereotype that ‘Man are breadwinners while women are homemakers’ that they think this old family style is happy. However, patriarchy and gender stereotype makes Harriet suffering from the family problems. When Ben is born, he is not as lovely and normal as people expect and he disappoints David. As a married woman living in a patriarchal society, Harriet thwarts her husband’s dream which is to have a happy perfect family so she feels that she is condemned by everyone even though it is not her fault indeed. After taking Ben back from the institution, she is condemned by people including her husband again for her own decision. Because she decides to take Ben back home, she is considered as a ‘irresponsible’, ‘selfish’ and ‘crazy’ women. All people think that Ben will ruin David and other four children’s life and make
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