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Essay/Term paper: The fifth child

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Book Reports

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The Fifth Child


The word "monster" has many definitions. Some define it as a creature
having a frightening or strange appearance. It is also defined as one that
inspires horror or disgust. Ben certainly fits into all of these categories.
He was different right from pregnancy. He looks extremely frightening, almost
like a Neanderthal. Ben is an outcast even in an institution for "nature's
mistakes."
From the moment Harriet became pregnant it was apparent to her that
something was obviously wrong. She loved having children and had planned on a
total of eight or perhaps even ten. However, something was different this time.
Early in the pregnancy, she began feeling ill. She had been keeping herself
very busy in order not to feel the "demands" from the new being. It was unlike
anything she had known before. At five months the pain was so intense that
Harriet began taking tranquilizers. Even during her pregnancy, Harriet began
referring to Ben as the "monster." During a conversation with Dr. Brett after
he refused to induce the baby, she is quoted as saying, "It's because you don't
want to. It's not you who is carrying this" (She cut off monster afraid of
antagonizing him.) (p. 47) At eight months she went into labor. Although she
had never gone to the hospital before for her other deliveries, this time she
insisted. This shocked everyone, especially her husband David.
Ben was not your typical baby. "A real little wrestler," said Dr. Brett.
"He came out fighting the whole world." (p. 48) Ben was eleven pounds at birth.
None of the other children were more than seven. He was heavy-shouldered and
hunched over. His forehead sloped from his eyebrows to his crown. Even his
hair pattern was erratic. His hands were thick and heavy and contained pads of
muscle. His piercing eyes were greeny-yellow in nature and focused on Harriet
from the moment he was born. "He's like a troll, or a goblin or something."
said Harriet. (p. 49) Ben actually resembled a Neanderthal!
Although Harriet was apprehensive, David, as well as the entire family,
decided it was best if they put Ben into an institution. A small black van came
one morning to take Ben away. This institution was not a place that prepared
children to become part of society. It was a horrific place that kept all their
patients completely drugged and starved them until they eventually died. There
were all types of "mistakes" here. Numerous cots engrossed the hallways
containing children whose appearances were hideous at best. One child lacked
the back of his skull, exposing his brain. Another was literally split in two.
Amongst these terrible tragedies, Ben still managed to stick out. He was so
incredibly strong that he warranted his own room, more sedatives than any other
child had ever received, and had to remain in a strait jacket 24 hours a day.
"He's so strong—I've never seen anything like it." Said the girl at the
institution. (p. 83)
As you can see, Ben is no ordinary child. From the moment he was
conceived, Harriet just knew something was wrong. His physical appearance as
well as his actions easily place him in the category of monster.

 

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