Study Questions for Davies’ Fifth Business**, Introduction and pp 3-23.
Note the definition of “fifth business” that precedes the Introduction. Restate the definition in your own words. Introduction
Note that in the Introduction, the editor, Vasanji, describes Fifth Business as “a novel about moral responsibility” (p ix).
What is the question that troubled Davies for years and that drove him to write the novel (p x)?
What does Vasanji say were a couple of Davies’ interests (p x)?
Part 1: Mrs. Dempster
What do you think Dunstan Ramsay is so precise about the time at which his relationship with Mrs. Dempster began (p 3)?
How does Ramsay describe Percy Boyd Staunton? List in quotation marks the specific words and phrases Ramsay uses (p 3).
Describe Dunstan and Percy’s relationship (p 3).
Looking back at his younger self, Percy sees himself as ridiculous. How specifically does he describe himself? What does this description reveal about Dunstan as a man? What is his attitude towards his younger self (p 4)?
Summarize the pivotal event that happens while Percy is on his way home to dinner (p 4).
Dunstan sees this event as a “scene.” Later, when he describes himself at the dinner table, he says he played “the role” of the “Good Samaritan” (p 5). Explain the significance of the theatre/stage/acting metaphor. What are the implications for Dunstan’s understanding of identity?
Why does Dunstan Ramsay write a report to the Headmaster of his school (pp 7-8)?
How does D feel he has been misrepresented. Quote passages or lines in which he explains the reason. What parts of his identity were not adequately celebrated in the article, “Farewell to the Cork” (pp 7-9)?
Dunstan calls his report a “memoir” (p 9). Look up the definition of “memoir.”
What does Dunstan dislike about most memoirs (p 9)?...