A Truly Beastly Hero

By Miranda, France | The Spectator, June 24, 2000 | Go to article overview

A Truly Beastly Hero


Miranda, France, The Spectator


BEN,

IN THE WORLD

by Doris Lessing

Flamingo, 16.99, pp. 178

Twelve years ago, Doris Lessing published a cautionary tale about a kind, liberal couple with a large house, four wellloved children, friends and holidays galore. Into this happy home is born `the Fifth Child', a violent, monstrous boy whose presence threatens the family's stability and raises dreadful philosophical questions. How can his parents love him? How can such a creature ever find his place in the social order?

Miss Lessing, now in her eighties, provides few answers in this sequel. Ben is 18, though he looks much older. He isn't a normal human being, but what is he exactly? The old lady who looks after him for a while and teaches him how to keep clean and brush his unruly hair, thinks he might be a Yeti. Others call him a `throwback' or a `beast'. Sometimes he cannot restrain a bark or growl, but, when he speaks, Ben has an educated accent (a posh Yeti, then?).

From the start, we see how Ben's inability to understand the world makes him prey to the abuse of every chancer he meets. After being exploited as a labourer, he becomes an unwitting drugs courier, to France. There he is stranded until a director spots him and takes him to Brazil to star in a film about a primitive race.

In this novel, the men are bad, the women good. In other ways too, it reads like a fable. The style is simplistic; Miss Lessing dispatches more than one storyline with the observation that it had a `happy ending'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Truly Beastly Hero
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.