• TFC: extract 2

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    TFC: extract 2

  • A's Analysis of Extract 2



    This text is an excerpt from the novel written by Doris Lessing who’s entitled: the fifth child. The scene takes place in the afternoon, David and Harriet will discover their new mansion and this is in this extract where they are going to make love for the first time.

     we will see in a first time  the feelings of Harriet and David during the discovering of the mansion  and the description of this mansion; in a second time we will see that behind the joy and happiness is hiding a dark side in this house that allows us to anticipate about their future lives.

    I) discovery and description of the mansion

    In this excerpt D.Lessing tells us that Harriet and David are very happy about their new house”their hearts thudding with happiness”

    Then she continued with the description of this mansion: three floors, with a big living room and kitchen, many bedrooms for the children and family, and the big attic

    Through the visit of their home they already imagine what will happen in each room:  children who are not yet born, they imagine theme playing magical games in the attic and also they imagine all the bedroom full of children.

    In this extract we can see  that for David and Harriet this mansion  it’s a kind of a fairytale because their dreams come true and moreover D.Lessing compare the mansion to a kingdom and  Harriet ad David are the queen and the king of this one and nobody will control them they are free to live like old fashion persons.

    At the end of this extract Harriet and David they made love in the big room where they was already a bed which belonged to the previous former. That for tell us that they want that is the heart of they kingdom the place where all will happen.

    II) This happiness hides a dark side

    In this extract we can moreover see that there are negatives aspects that can destroy this happiness:

    First we can compare the mansion to an ivory tower because they can be disconnected with the world and they need go out to feed they love because they have old fashion values and it can be dangerous for theme

    Also in this extract it’s describe a lilac tree which emphasize love but the author tell us that this tree give a shadow into the room s which can be positive because it‘s can protect of the sun ray but can also have a negative meaning threat, rotten fruit=Ben.

     Moreover she tell us that the tree was with “vigorous buds, soon to burst into flower”  so it’s means  that the season where the scene takes place is springs and it emphasize fertility that why Harriet was “at the height of her fertility” and she knew it. And that why she says :”no ,stop” because they have  plan to don’t have children during the following two years because of financial problems because they have just purchased this mansion they did not have  the financial resources to take care of children.

    And finally we can also compare them  to the milkmaid story ,there are imagine everything and nothing will happen like there were imagine it and also it shows there unconsciousness because they are making love in this extract without contraception



    To conclude we can say that this extract is important because it‘s present the place where all will happen: the birth of the children and the life which they imagine this is hear where Harriet and David made love for the first time. 


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  • N's analysis of Extract 2



    Introduction : Extract 2 , spring 1966 , Harriet and David have just bough the house

    I /  Global presentation of the extract :

    A /  Fairy tale :

            - meeting, weeding => The house
            - story start as a fairy tale : L.1- 4 "on the afternoon ( ...) the garden"
            - Atmosphere of Hapyness : L.5 " hearts thudding with happyness"
            - L.12 - 15 lots of adjectivs for qualify their attitudes

    B /  Description of the house
             D.Lessing gives lots of details for the house : " little porch" , " facing capacious stairs" , " walls had been pulled down "

    => Can make a map of the house

    C  /  Point of view

    => travelling shot
    => discover the house at the same time as H&D
    => can be adapted for movie

    II / Full of symbol present in the extract

    A / Lots of climax

    1) physical freytag's : Porch => Attic => room
    2) biological climax ( fertility) : L.48 " she was at the height of her fertility"
    3) sexual climax => Orgasm

    ==> symbol of rebirth : spring , Lilac ( hope / expectitious / dreams / imagination)

    B / Dream   ( => the milkmaid )

    H&D ->childish behaviour : like Hubris and the Milkmaid L.28 -29
    --> visit rooms and they imagine what they can do in ( children room )
    Attic : can be " for secret magical game "

    C / Symbol of the house

    Castle/ mansion  --> gothic , supernatural things ...
    look like a face --> other character : Attic = Head ( imagination)
    Bedroom = " the great room that would be the heart of their kingdom" L.18
    Harriet = Queen , David = King , Bed = Throne

    L.30 the bed it's juste a bed : " a large bed had been left in"
    L.41 the bed become their " they made love , there , on their bed"

    ==> cursed object ->> hanted house by the unknown former because they let their Burden = BED

    David = the boss , he takes the decision L.44 - 47 , even if Harriet says " No , stop "

    Conclusion : interesting extract , lots of symbol present in , it permits to announce what is awaits us ---->> BEN


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  • C's analysis of Extract 2



    Introduction:  - extract taken from the fifth Child – by Doris Lessing.

    by C. M. (Marx Dormoy)

    -          won Nobel Prize of literature thanks to this novel

    -           story: Harriet and David= young couple : want to start a family, be happy forever so 4 children, achieve their projects but fifth child: Ben= different, a “freak”, violent, uncontrollable. Destruction of the family because of him.

    -           Extract 2: at the beginning of the novel, after the 1st extract in which: meeting of H&D, decision to get married.

    -          In extract 2: visit of their future house, dreams, projects, want babies, wonderful expectations.


    I)                    An idyllic scene for H&D: an ideal house for a perfect life…

    1)      A house like in a fairy tale

    -          Bedroom qualified as the “heart of their kingdom”: kingdom= big house, garden, many many rooms like in fairy tales.

    -          This house: as if their dreams would come true, over-excited, happiness like in a fairy tale.

    -          As if they were character of a fairy tale: H: queen, perfect housewife, cooker and D: king in a story “Once upon a time H&D… and they lived happily and had many children”.

    2)      A rising scene full of emotions:

    -          Scene like a story, plot of a book = divided into different parts with physical steps (when they move in the different rooms of the house) related to emotions.

    1. Beginning of the book: H&D are visiting the ground floor, first floor and second floor (quickly). Emotions: happy
    2. Rising action and after all climax: in the attic. Emotions: ecstatic, exhilarated= climax in emotions and imagination: they are dreaming about children, playing magical games.
    3. Finally, resolution: in the bedroom when they are making love. Emotions go down, H said: “No” because she is reluctant to make love: doesn’t take the pill, doesn’t want to be pregnant now.

    So for them, this house: not with ordinary rooms but it brings them emotions.

    3)      Symbolic elements related to H&D’s behavior and situation:

    -          Season (spring) and lilac tree= not a coincidence because

    1. Spring: Symbols? Cheerfulness, fertility (trees turn into flowers, fruits), rebirth (life again after winter). Link with H&D: happy, forward-looking, hopeful, H’s fertility: “at the height of her fertility” = her body is ready for pregnancy= biological climax.
    2. Lilac tree: symbol of love: H&D love each other, young couple, make love. Lilac could represent: H&D and buds of the lilac: future babies.

    II)                  … but also full of bad omens:

    1)      Some dark elements, curses in the scene

    -          Lilac tree: shadow. Represent threat for H&D= bad omen: must be Ben’s birth: he’s a rotten fruit on the tree= a monstrous child for the family.

    -          H afraid to be pregnant:

    1. Doesn’t take the pill: also reason of Ben’s birth= maybe punishment because she could take the pill if she wanted but she didn’t take it.
    2.  D’s behavior: influences H’s decision = they must wait 2 years before starting a family but he doesn’t care about that= not cautious, they don’t keep their promise (to wait 2 years) = too fast= bad omen.
    3. The bed: not their bed = belongs to the previous owners. H&D not ill-at-ease to make love in a bed which is not their bed. Maybe cursed bed, and also haunted house

     = misfortune, tragedy for H&D’s future.

    -          Manor, castle: elements in gothic genre = bad omen. Ben:  qualified as a freak (also element of gothic genre).

    2)      Ivory tower and bad endings:

    -          H&D: decision to lock themselves in their house to feel protected, in their bubble= bad omen, isolated, they don’t have any contact with the rest of the world, outside world= danger, they need to keep contact with the outside world in order to feed their love, to be blooming (have friends, met people, learn things, to add a bit of spice in their life, in their couple…).

    3)      Their behavior is hubristic:

    -          Comparison between H and the Milkmaid and her pail . Milkmaid: dreams about what she is going to do with the money she will have thanks to the sale of her milk / H dreams about her future life and projects. However both have their heads in the clouds: doesn’t concentrate on her pail (for the milkmaid) and on the present moment (for H) so unfortunately: breaks the pail (for the milkmaid) / pregnant of Ben and then Ben’s birth (for H)= all is destroyed: the pail, dreams (for the milkmaid)/ dreams, family (for H).

    -          Link with hubris: enormous dreams are not realistic (H&D want to have many many children to be very very elated, they don’t make like other young couples: they buy a big house just after their wedding, with a mortgage= childish behavior), they believe in fairy tales and they want their dreams come true very fast: not a good way to achieve their dreams: people must deserve their dreams.

    So in the end: tragedy.


    -          Apparently: joyful scene for H&D: idyllic house, future. Nevertheless: Doris Lessing shows that there are also threats for the couple, dark side of their happiness.

    -          Behind the text: full of details, symbols to warn the reader about what is going to happen, the type of atmosphere (gothic genre for example, curse, and bad omens).

    -          She may intend to give us clues, indications to help us to distrust appearances (it seems that they are going to happy but it’s not true).



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