Religion In Fifth Business

1397 Words 6 Pages
Religion is a controversial issue that dictates and defines the society as well as the societal norms of which it consists. The OED defines social norms as the common standards within a social group regarding socially acceptable or appropriate behaviour in particular social situations, the breach of which has social consequences. Robertson Davies explores the idea of religion and its effects on personality within the novel Fifth Business. He depicts the changes caused by religion within the society of Deptford as well as the personal changes some characters’ experience. Through ostracization, fear and dishonesty, religion is a weapon that physically hurts and emotionally damages those who oppose the social norms and church views. Religion negatively …show more content…
Ostracization is a recurring theme within the novel Fifth Business as it is used to distance those who do not follow the social norms from the rest of Deptford. Deptford is a religious town that is home to five adjacent churches; The Anglican, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist and the Roman Catholic. Mrs Dempster is ostracized from the church after she goes simple because she is no longer compatible with the society “‘Yep. The Dempsters’. That’s the bughouse now.’” (Davies 31). Her status as a good mother is revoked when the town learns of her moral flaw. Mrs Dempster 's status continues to diminish with the loss of her husband Amasa. During their marriage, Mrs Dempster gains much respect from the church due to her husband’s status as a preacher. After the loss of Amasa, the church relinquishes the little respect they hold for Mary including her status as a human being. Religion does not only ostracize Mrs Dempster, but also the atheists who call Deptford a home. Often within Fifth Business Atheists are considered unequal and are often referred to as inhuman “I told you once you’d made a God of yourself, and the insufficiency of it forced you to become an atheist. It’s time you tried to be a human being” (Davies, 264). Religion results in the ostracization of those who do not conform, as well as guilt. Conformity …show more content…
In the novel Fifth Business, hypocrisy and double standards are two aspects within every religious personality that mold the atmosphere of Deptford. The bible states “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you” (Romans 15:7), however, this is not a moral the town of Deptford follows. The church teaches Deptford to accept and welcome all despite their differences. The community of Deptford takes what the church teaches, and preaches it to others but does not follow it themselves. Mrs Dempster’s simplicity is a primary example, before her accident she is welcomed into the community due to her normality. Subsequent to her going simple the town ostracizes her but still continues to preach christianity and purity. Religion also teaches it’s followers to spread peace, however, most religious groups use violence to solve their problems. Amasa Dempster, a baptist preacher believes he can solve his wife’s mental state with violence and cruelty. He believes that if he ties his wife up and shuts her out from the world she will be forgotten “I do not say ‘deeply religious’ because that was what people said about her husband, and apparently they meant that he imposed religion as he understood it on everything he knew or encountered. But she, tied up in a rotten little house without a friend except me, seemed to live in a world of trust that had nothing of the stricken,

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