Fifth Business

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    Natural selection is the favouring of specific traits in an environment. Organisms able to adapt, or who are born with favoured traits, have a better chance of survival over others. In Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business, the main characters model the process of natural selection. When Dunstan Ramsay is reborn after the war, he is better suited to the environment of Deptford. Paul Dempster faces many challenges in Deptford. The reason he survives is because he moves into an environment that better suits his skills and traits. Percy “Boy” Staunton is the only character who does not adapt, therefore he perishes. Dunstan, Paul, and Percy model the process of natural selection where individuals who adapt and experience rebirth survive and individuals…

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    Gender In Fifth Business

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    Male vs Female Repercussions It has been said that behind every successful man is an exhausted woman. For centuries women are seen as fragile and delicate beings who need a husband to protect them. On the contrary, the female race are a group of women who are strong, intelligent and are the root of their husbands accomplishments. For this and many other reasons, people believe women should be the leaders of society. In Robertson Davies’ influential novel, Fifth Business, women are seen to be…

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    Feminism In Fifth Business

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    significance as legitimate social concerns with political consequences, men were forced to examine their own socially constructed roles as men…” (Plain and Sellers) This notion takes shape in Robertson Davies’s 1970 novel, Fifth Business. The novel presents an interesting debate over whether or not it is a feminist text since it was written by a non-feminist man. However, Fifth Business was authored during the second wave of feminism, a prominent movement which focused heavily on gynocriticism,…

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    Religion In Fifth Business

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    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…

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    The term “feminism” refers to the ideologies, political and social movements that exist to achieve equal rights between women and men politically, socially, and economically. Feminist literary criticism began in the 1960’s during the second wave feminist movement that focused on voting rights, property rights, domestic violence, etc. Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business took place before the first wave feminist movement and is set from androcentric view which means a masculine point of view…

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    There is one human feeling that can incapacitate us, lead us to lie both to ourselves as well as other people, compel us to make a move that we don't care for, and to disable any objective manners of thinking. It is self-propagating if permitted to escape control. Its reactions are outrage, forcefulness trepidation, or withdrawal. Its manifestations are silly conduct, lying, anguish, absence of self-regard, and in great cases, musings of suicide. It is guilt. In The Fifth Business and The…

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    Morality In Fifth Business: A Study of Good and Evil Is there a difference between good and evil? Throughout Fifth Business, Robertson Davies attempts to address this seemingly simple question. Davies writes against the simple system of good vs. evil, instead arguing that there is a spectrum of morality that governs our actions instead of definitive rights and wrongs. Davies conveys this through plot and style devices woven into the narrative of the life experiences of Dunstan “Dunny” Ramsey,…

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    Dunstan Ramsay and Percy “Boy” Staunton have a disjointed relationship throughout the novel Fifth Business. Boy is Dunstan’s oldest friend, however, Dunstan never forgot an incident in which Boy meant to hit a stone covered in snow at Dunstan. It changed Dunstan’s life negatively, as he carried guilt for the damage done to the life of the person that the stone hit. Mary Dempster gave birth prematurely, and as a result the child, Paul Dempster, was born with deformities. While, Dunstan sees Boy…

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    Robertson Davies explores in Fifth Business the conflict between love of others and love of ourselves. The characters in the novel are not attached to only one person in physically or spiritually, because they only love themselves and just seek for their own pleasures. Ironically, people want to love and also want freedom. Human’s behaviors are in order to satisfy their own desires, that shows love is selfish. Dunstan’s love to Mary Dempster is selfless because he does not want to get anything…

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    Life is never easy, as people do good and terrible things but mostly life is about the challenges of either being known or know what you feel. In the book Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies, explores many ideas and many feelings, but one idea spilt into two stays’ throughout. The idea of an internal character or spirit of one versus the characters that worry about external things, like appearance and materialistic objects. The ideal characters that would fit into these acquisitions is Boy…

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