Presentation on theme: "The Fifth Child Harriet's and David's relationship with Ben."— Presentation transcript:
The Fifth Child Harriet's and David's relationship with Ben.
Before Ben's Birth Ben is David and Harriet's fifth child. Even if they have promised not to have another baby after Paul, Jane, Luck and Helen,and although they have been careful (not to the point of Harriet taking the pill) Harriet discovers she is pregnant. From the beginning she is exhausted by the pregnancy, she’s nervous and she suffers a lot as the baby in her seems to be tearing her apart: as a matter of fact she spends her time crying and muttering to herself that the fœtus is poisoning her.
Ben: a poison? Harriet’s fifth pregancy is poisoning: her her relationship with David- as they seem to grow more and more apart and they argue- their family life: she can’t look after her children anymore and she ignores Paul.
Harriet and David are no copers Besides, that pregnancy is another strain on the family life: David has already taken a second job (having a try at coping and being responsible)because he can’t support his family financially but it is not enough. It’s thanks to David's father (James) and his money that they can afford the house. Harriet doesn’t manage to cope with all what she has to do in the house like cleaning, cooking, looking after children, so, they have tried to hire young girls to help Harriet with that but as they seem inadequate they ask Dorothy to help Harriet in the house. So it seems that Harriet and David can’t cope with their choices at all: Their choice to have a big house and a family Their choice to be conservative and not to use the pill
The first signs of the failure David and Harriet feel uncomfortable about the pregnancy. They realize they have been irresponsible. The family's happiness seems shattered. Nowadays, David and Harriet don’t agree on things and it is the first time for them: Harriet wants to invite all the family for the Christmas holidays but David doesn't want to first because, Harriet is depressed,sick and tired so he thinks she won’t manage to cope with it and secondly because financially, they can't afford it even if he doesn’t mention that)
Dorothy and Ben’s birth Dorothy is angry with the news of Harriet’s pregnancy and Harriet and David are aware of that which is why they are afraid to tell her about it.Moreover,they don’t feel comfortable with it themselves. Dorothy finally accepts to stay and help them even if she has enough of being « treated like a maid » by Harriet and her sister because, she realizes that Harriet's fifth pregnancy already has a big impact on the family life and that Harriet and David can’t cope with it.
Harriet's relationship with Ben Harriet rejects her son. Before his birth: she wants to get rid of him by inducing the birth. She doesn’t want to have him at home like with the other babies she wants to give birth in hospital. On the day of his birth: She doesn’t recognize him. She tninks he’s ugly (not a pretty baby) She feels pity for him because he looks like a troll or monster. She feels pity for him because she doesn’t like him.
Harriet's relationship with Ben After his birth His first feeding is quite different from the other children’s (he bites her) and she puts him back in his cot and after few weeks, she has to stop feeding him as it’s too painful. Because she blames herself for being a bad mother, she makes herself pet and play with Ben as she did with the other children even if she doesn’t like him and even if he doesn’t seem to like either.
The beginning of the descent into hell Harriet feels people blame her for giving birth to Ben and she finds it difficult to cope with it and with her own feelings for Ben and eventually she blames her son for it. Because of Ben, people begin to go away from the Lovatts and she feels bad about it: it’s the end of the family’s joyful gatherings and the end of their dream Later, Ben is hidden from the whole family and kept in his room. Finally, Harriet isolates herself more and more from the rest of the family as she’s always looking after Ben thus abandoning Jane, Luke, Helen and most particulary Paul even if she loves him a lot. For Harriet Ben is not a baby, he’s a monster who is shattering and destroying her perfect family life.
Things don't get better because Ben is always violent and agressive with his mother and rejects her deeply and deeply as a stranger, so it's a difficult and a « forced » relationship. Harriet always wants him to be « normal » but in fact he can't because it's his personality. Ben is guilty in Harriet's eyes as he has destroyed all she has dreamed of since her childhood. He creates a gap, a failure between her and David, her and her children and that's why she rejects the fault on Ben.
The final rejection Harriet has to agree with the family’s decision to put Ben in establishment for children like Ben :this a new step in Harriet and Ben’s relationship. At first, it is a liberation for Harriet who feels relieved but soon she feels guilty of leaving him alone and so she takes him back home. Until that moment,Harriet was afraid of Ben but after Ben’s return from the institution she controls him by threatening him to send him away again.
David's relationship with Ben David doesn’t have a real relationship with his son Ben. For him, Ben is an alien: he is Harriet's son while Jane, Helen, Luke and Paul are his real children. He rejects Ben deeply and doesn’t look after him. He wants to send Ben to the institution even if he can’t afford it (his father will pay for that again). David feels he has lost Harriet and their relationship will never be the same and Harriet's relationships with the other children are non-existant and he puts the blame on Ben.
What is Ben?
Strange feelings for Ben begin at first sight: For both Harriet and David, he looks like a troll, a goblin or something like that but not like a baby,They even wonder what he is. Both Harriet and David have mixed feelings about him when they see him for the first time, it is as if he was not their son. Like Harriet and David, Ben is a freak. Ben is the embodiment of Harriet and David’s failure to challenge society. He’s the symbol of their unhappiness and disappointment. He’s their punishment for being too different.
Conclusion In any case, Ben is a burden for his parents and contrary to his brothers and sisters, he is deeply rejected by his father but less by his mother who tries and tries to make herself love him or behave like a mother to him.