?The Fifth Child? By Lessing And ??N? Is For Noose? By Grafton Essay, Research Paper
Conflict is an integral part of a literary work. Many authors use conflict as a technique to help the reader feel exactly what the character is going through in he/she’s internal battles and struggles. Both of the fictional pieces, “The Fifth Child” by Doris Lessing and “’N’ Is For Noose” by Sue Grafton, contain significant conflicts between characters which are brought out through the use of many scenarios within the novels.
The novel, “The Fifth Child” takes place in London during the late 1960’s. David and Harriet Lovatt are a happily married couple who reside with their four beautiful children in an enormous home on the grassy outskirts of town. The Lovatt’s are a close-knit family until the abnormal pregnancy and birth of a fifth child, Benjamin. Ben is a strong, loud, violent toddler with an appalling appetite. Besides his actions, Ben is also very different looking compared to the rest of the Lovatt children. Ben’s behavior and attitude begin to ruin the family to the point where each of the children are sent off to live with relatives and Harriet’s husband abandons her. Harriet is stuck with the internal conflict of choosing between her newest son and her husband and other 4 children. Harriet decides to get the best of both worlds by sending Ben off to a doctor to help control and correct his problems, so her family can return home and feel safe once again. Sending away her own flesh and blood starts eating at Harriet to the point where she takes Ben back home. She was astonished to find out that Ben had not gotten any better; he had actually gotten worse. Ben was now fascinated with the local town gang and was involved in many robberies, rapes and violent acts. Harriet feels like a failure as her attempt to regain her “perfect family” was destroyed.
The literary work “‘N’ is for Noose” took place during the late 1980’s in Southern California. Selma Newquist, a run-down widow, hired a private investigator named Kinsey Millhone to find out the reasons behind the sudden death of her late husband Tom. Selma felt that something had been eating away at Tom right before his death, and she was nosey to find out what exactly it was so she could be at rest with herself. Tom Newquist was a very well respected sheriff within the community of Nota Lake, so Kinsey was unable to find any sort of negative information about him that might have been important. Finally, Kinsey gets a lead from Tom’s old desk blotter. The numbers 2-18-1-14-20 were written in the bottom, left corner of the desk pad. Kinsey is puzzled at the significance of these numbers but moves on figuring they as useless as the other doodles consisting of stickfigures and abnormal shapes. One thing leads to another and Kinsey gets hold of Tom’s blackbook. She discovers the case that he was working on shortly before this death was one from years ago in which two people were killed in the same manner; both hung by a noose. Kinsey is soon brought back to the code on Tom’s desk. She is relentlessly trying different codes, matching up letters to numbers, and discovers the code spells out B-R-A-N-T; Selma and Tom’s son. The numbers in the code also match up to the dates in which the two men were hung. Kinsey is startled by the discovery that Tom’s own son was the killer and shortly after, Brant came home. Kinsey heard him loading a gun and soon as he appeared at the door, she shot him down, before he could kill anyone else. Selma returned that evening to find out that her son was now also dead and had to live in more conflict within herself than ever before.
Conflict is a major element in literary works that a lot of the time is the high point of the plot. In both “The Fifth Child” and “’N’ is for Noose”, the main characters are faced with internal conflicts based on the actions of a loved one. Both protagonists fail in their attempts at success against the conflict and are led to more distress in their hectic lives.