The Fifth Child

by

Doris Lessing

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Paul Lovatt Character Analysis

Paul is Harriet and David’s fourth child, who is born sweet and good-natured. As Paul was just born when Harriet becomes pregnant with Ben, Harriet is unable to nurture newborn Paul in the same way she has the other children, a trend that continues after Ben is born, since the infant needs a significant amount of attention and care. Paul, as a result, is the Lovatt child who is most affected by Ben’s presence—he is regularly threatened by his younger, stronger sibling, and eventually he develops emotional “disturbances,” which his parents don’t take as seriously as Ben’s issues. Eventually Paul leaves the house to go to boarding school to escape the threat of Ben.

Paul Lovatt Quotes in The Fifth Child

The The Fifth Child quotes below are all either spoken by Paul Lovatt or refer to Paul Lovatt. 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 33 – 74 Quotes

“Suddenly the little girl found she was alone. She and her brother had lost each other. She wanted to go home. She did not know which way to walk […] She wandered about for a long time, and then she was thirsty again. She bent over a pool wondering if it would be orange juice, but it was water, clear pure forest water […] She bent over the pool […] but she saw something she didn’t expect. It was a girl’s face, and she was looking straight up at her. It was a face she had never seen in her whole life. This strange girl was smiling, but it was a nasty smile, not friendly, and the little girl thought this other girl was going to reach up out of the water and pull her down into it.”

Page Number: 44-45
Explanation and Analysis:
Pages 96 – 133 Quotes

Paul was even more difficult than Ben. But he was a normal “disturbed” child, not an alien.

Related Characters: Ben Lovatt, Paul Lovatt
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
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Paul Lovatt Character Timeline in The Fifth Child

The timeline below shows where the character Paul Lovatt 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
In early 1973, the fourth child, Paul, is born in the house after another uncomfortable pregnancy. The family visits for Easter and... (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
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...time David or Harriet enters a room, it’s clear people have been talking about them. Paul, the youngest child, seems hungry for attention, but Harriet doesn’t have the strength or energy... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...born. The other children are brought in to meet their brother. Harriet notes David holding Paul and mourns the way she hasn’t spent enough time with her last baby, one that... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
...family descends on the Lovatt house for the summer holidays. Harriet notes the cheery way Paul behaves when held and entertained by everyone, and how this nature is often obscured by... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...had willed himself into existence. Just after the summer holidays, as the school year commences, Paul puts his arm through the bars of Ben’s crib and Ben grabs Paul’s hand, bending... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Just after Ben turns two years old, Paul is sent to a nursery school to get away from Ben. Paul has begun having... (full context)
Pages 74 – 96
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...Harriet recognizes what a bad idea it is. David asks what they should do about Paul, who is damaged by the way he’s been refused attention because of all that his... (full context)
Pages 96 – 133
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
...hanging out with friends after school, Harriet finally has some dedicated time to spend with Paul, who is now a shrill, difficult child. He seems never to be at ease and... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...end of the visit. Ben spends all his time with John. David works longer hours. Paul remains home, but is even more difficult than Ben, though he is considered to be... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
...the Lovatt house it’s clear she’s careful not to criticize them. Again David suggests that Paul needs a psychiatrist, taking on a part-time job at a polytechnic to cover the cost.... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
...paying all their bills, except for the support James gave to Luke. Harriet, David and Paul leave to visit Helen and Luke, and Dorothy is left alone with Ben, whom she... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...story. He tries to play games, but fails. He loves musicals, but can’t sing. When Paul taunts Ben, Harriet warns him not to do that. One afternoon, Harriet looks for Ben... (full context)
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Conformity and Otherness Theme Icon
Biological Families vs. Nontraditional Families Theme Icon
Happiness vs. Contentment Theme Icon
...sixteen-year-old. James brings Luke, now a reliable eighteen-year-old observer. Dorothy brings Jane, a non-academic fourteen-year-old. Paul, eleven, asks why he can’t go to boarding school like the others, and David says... (full context)