Attitudes to Race in ‘The Fifth Child’

Attitudes to Race in ‘The Fifth Child’

Mar 29

In my book on Lessing, I related the novel to attitudes to race in the 1980s. Here are a couple of very short quotations from my book for you to think about:

Despite praise for the novel, many critics saw its message as profoundly conservative and potentially racist. Louise Yelin, for example, argues that in representing Ben as a throwback Lessing evokes the threat of the “enemy within” or racial “other”.’

However, I disagree with Yelin, and instead argue that The Fifth Child is ‘a critique of 1980s conservative Britain and its defensive focus on family values and fear of inner-city social unrest.
(Susan Watkins, Doris Lessing, Manchester University Press, 2010, pp. 124 and 125.)

I’d love to know what you think!

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