Fifth Business: Understanding Character

Fifth Business: Understanding Character

  • Submitted By: ghockey
  • Date Submitted: 03/21/2010 3:50 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 2174
  • Page: 9
  • Views: 2

Prompt: To what extent do relationships contribute to the central character’s ultimate understanding of himself/herself in Fifth Business?

In Robertson Davies Fifth Business, Dunstan’s relationships with women help him fill the emptiness in his life. This ultimately leads to his understanding of what he needs in order to fully complete himself. Through the relationships Dunstan shares with Mary Dempster, Diana and Liesl, Dunstan is able to fill the lacking holes of spirituality, sexuality and morality within his life in order to fully complete himself.

Body Paragraph 1: (Mary Dempster- Spirituality)
In Fifth Business Mary Dempster is consistently seen as the woman who holds Dunstan back from socializing and growing up as a normal boy. However, upon further examination it is apparent that Mrs. Dempster ultimately helps Dunstan understand himself through the use of spirituality. Before the snowball incident Mary Dempster’s sole relationship with Dunstan was that she was one of his neighbours. However after Mrs. Dempster was struck by a rock covered snowball thrown by Percy, Dunstan and Mrs. Dempster were bound to a life long relationship which originally was born through guilt. “So I was alone with my guilt, and it tortured me. I was a Presbyterian child and I knew a good deal about damnation.” (p. 17) Dunstan grew up as a Presbyterian whilst Mrs. Dempster was a Baptist. Dunstan refers to “damnation” which is a religious reference to eternal punishment for a sin. Dunstan believes that he is bound to a lifetime of repaying his guilt to Mrs. Dempster as he believes that he has sinned by being the cause of Paul’s premature birth and making Mrs. Dempster senile by dodging the snowball. A relationship which began on the basis of guilt, developed into a loving relationship, where Dunstan saw Mrs. Dempster as not only a motherly figure but also a saint. The two share a special bond of trust and caring for one another. It comes as no surprise, when...

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