The Fifth Child

by

Doris Lessing

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Amy Character Analysis

Daughter of Sarah and William. Amy has Down syndrome, which the family is embarrassed by at first. When Amy’s sweetness is threatened by Ben’s cruelty, though, the family quickly becomes protective of Amy. Amy has a large dog companion, which Ben threatens to strangle. This moment is the impetus for the family deciding to put Ben into an institution.

Amy Quotes in The Fifth Child

The The Fifth Child quotes below are all either spoken by Amy or refer to Amy . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Fifth Child published in 1988.
Pages 3 – 33 Quotes

Harriet said to David, privately, that she did not believe was bad luck: Sarah and William’s unhappiness, their quarrelling, had probably attracted the mongol child—yes, yes, of course she knew one shouldn’t call them mongol[…]David disliked this trait of Harriet’s, a fatalism that seemed so at odds with the rest of her. He said he thought this was silly hysterical thinking: Harriet sulked and they had to make up.

Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Pages 33 – 74 Quotes

The new baby had of course been offered to everyone to hold, when they asked, but it was painful to see how their faces changed confronting this phenomenon. Ben was always quickly handed back. Harriet came into the kitchen one day and heard her sister Sarah say to a cousin, “That Ben gives me the creeps. He’s like a goblin or a dwarf or something. I’d rather have poor Amy any day.”

Related Characters: Harriet Lovatt, Sarah , Amy
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Fifth Child PDF

Amy Character Timeline in The Fifth Child

The timeline below shows where the character Amy appears in The Fifth Child. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Pages 3 – 33
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
Christmas and Easter are again celebrated by the larger family. Sarah’s daughter Amy is born with Down Syndrome, confirming that Sarah and William must stay together to properly... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...Harriet mentions to David that she doesn’t believe it’s bad luck. Instead she thinks that Amy was born with Down Syndrome because of Sarah and William’s constant fights. David criticizes this... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
...of Dorothy’s time and leave none for her. Sarah feels the need to hide little Amy behind a blanket because the sight of her upsets people. Harriet is irritable because she... (full context)
Pages 33 – 74
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Harriet invites the family, determined to have a regular Christmas. Sarah asks if Amy will be safe in the house, and Harriet says yes, as long as they never... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
...it’s not right. After Ben turns three, the house is only partly filled for Christmas. Amy brings along a large companion dog that all the children love, but one morning Harriet... (full context)