Fifth Business Essay

1208 Words Mar 24th, 2013 5 Pages

With reference to fifth business, show that the author develops a central theme through a character who is unable to change his/her course of action

Paragraph One

Our childhood plays a significant role in defining the kind of person that we become and the type of life that we live.

In “Fifth Business”, Robertson Davies displays how the main character, Dunstan Ramsay’s, childhood friends and family influence him to be incapable of changing the course of action of his life.

By his senior years, Dunstan had undergone limited progression in his life as he experienced the resurfacing of his childhood persona, the haunting reminder of his family’s relationships in his own affairs, and the persistent burden of guilt
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“I yearned for my mother’s love and hated myself for having grieved her, but quite as often I recognized that her love had a high price on it and that her idea of a good son was a pretty small potato” (37)

Paragraph Four

Dunstan Ramsay was unable to experience complete freedom in his adult life due to his relation with his childhood friend Mary Dempster.

Dunstan’s perspective of Mary as a saint set him on a lifelong journey dedicated to the interest and study of Roman Catholic saints.

“I became involved with the Bollandists and found my way into the mainstream of the work that has given me endless delight and a limited, specialized reputation” (164)

“…I would think: Dunstan Ramsay, what on earth are you doing here, and where do you think this is leading? …here you are puzzling over records of lives as strange as fairy tales, written by people with no sense of history, and yet you cannot rid yourself of the notion that you are well occupied” (168)

“It’s this saint business of yours. Of course your books are splendid. But if you were a father would you want to send your son to a school headed by a man who was an authority on saints?” (196)

Dunstan felt almost wholly responsible for the disintegration of Mary Dempster’s sanity, which committed him to go out of his way to help her for as long as she lived.

“Your one human responsibility is a madwoman about whom you cherish a maggoty-headed delusion” (168)

“My lifelong

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