Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Fifth Business ' By Barry Wood

Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Fifth Business ' By Barry Wood

Length: 1321 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

According to writer Barry Wood, the central theme of Robertson Davies’, Fifth Business, can be characterized as “the plight of the imagination in this chilly cultural climate” (Wood 24). The theme of small town life and isolation serve as a common thread throughout the book, and Davies’ juxtaposition of the mundane with magic, sainthood and mythical transformation identifies both the narrative and the literary composition of the book itself. The trivialities of life in rural Ontario, contrast with this sense of creation, and mythic journey towards sainthood; a literary mechanism of which Davies develops in order to convey “the universality of the realms of imagination as against the parochial mediocrity of an ordinary world.” The concept of magic and mythology are apparent throughout Davies’ novel, and grapples with questions of “hysteria”, and social deviance as fundamental aspects of transformation and sainthood. Furthermore, Wood claims that Ramsay-the protagonist of Davies’ book-in his recounting of his life, which in its own way is heroic and full of magic, succeeds in facilitating the “creation of mystery”, which manifests itself throughout the story.
Essentially, Wood characterizes the book’s prominent themes not as reoccurring concepts pervasive throughout the narrative, but as a “commentary upon the making of the books”. Further, the book “belongs to a relatively recent genre called “metafiction,” which is to say it is a book about its own writing”, again tying back to this concept of creative magic. “The narrative center lies on a spectrum somewhere between fiction and autobiography’, and constitutes a fictional autobiography”, and “constitutes a fictional autobiography that accounts for itself” (Wood 25-26 &...


... middle of paper ...


...ce, or a “descent into the underworld”, or “hysteria”, resulting in an ultimate rise to sainthood. Finally, the dullness of life and the societal ideals of the male and female roles are challenged in the transformation of Mrs. Dempster in her respective process of sainthood. Abnormal behavior is looked down upon in rural Ontario; however, this process of “sainthood”, as a theme in the book, seems to assume that and individual rejection of social norms is a fundamental tenant of this transformation. Like Mrs. Dempster, Ramsay experiences a similar transformative trajectory, and the magic of this process is not necessarily magic in the traditional sense of the word, but related to a deeper sense of becoming. The magic manifests itself as a creation, and transformation, seeping out from within the most unlikely of places, namely a rural Ontario village called Deptford.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Fifth Business ny Robertson Davies

- Events that occur in a person’s childhood develop the person that they become later in life. The person is attached to their past because they retain the thoughts and memories that change the person as a whole. The importance of one’s past results in the way one acts in the present. This concept is developed in the Fifth Business as the main character Dunstan Ramsey, Dunny, is reminded of his past wherever he goes. In the novel, Dunny is unable to forget his past and it becomes a large part of his present character....   [tags: Essay on Fifth Business]

Better Essays
900 words (2.6 pages)

Mythological Realism in Fifth Business Essay

- Mythological Realism in Fifth Business Spellbinding like his creation Magnus Eisengrim, Robertson Davies is a wizard of the English language. Who says that Canadian literature is bland and unappealing. New York Times applauded Fifth Business – the first of the Deptford triptych – as "a marvelously enigmatic novel, elegantly written and driven by irresistible narrative force." How true this is. Dunstable Ramsay – later renamed Dunstan after St. Dunstan – may be a retired schoolteacher, but what an engaging narrator he is....   [tags: Fifth Business]

Free Essays
1016 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Shadows in Fifth Business

- Shadows in Fifth Business Incidences that occur in one's childhood tend to affect them possibly for the rest of the rest of their life. This applies to the novel Fifth Business and the characters Dunstan Ramsey and Boy Staunton. Throughout the lives of these characters Dunstan lives in the shadow of Boy due to feelings of guilt and responsibility as a result of one winter evening in the town of Deptford. As Boy and Dunny grew up together they were each others best friends and also worst enemies, but they were on basically equal terms in their childish trials of life....   [tags: Fifth Business]

Free Essays
631 words (1.8 pages)

Fifth Business by Robertson Davies Essay

- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies In the essay Fifth Business, each of the main character traits is developed more and more clearly throughout their lives. Childhood characteristics are evident in the characters of Dustan Ramsay, Percy Boyd Stauton and Paul Dempster. All paranoia, and memories of the town of Deptford are resurfaced in each of them after they all had left to start lives on their own. It was childhood that scared or marked them as people and the fact that parents often have influence on children so, there is no question that these characters were definitely influenced by the parents in Deptford....   [tags: Essays Papers Davies Fifth Business ]

Better Essays
638 words (1.8 pages)

Fifth Business by Robertson Davies Essay

- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies      In Robertson Davies' novel Fifth Business, the author uses the events that occurred in Deptford as a Canadian Allusion to reveal character identity. Three characters in the novel from Deptford: Boy Staunton, Dunstan Ramsey and Paul Dempster, leave Deptford to embark on a new identity to rid of their horrid past. The three main characters of the novel, all of whom to some extent try to escape their small town background, change their identity to become people of consequence....   [tags: Fifth business robertson davies Essays]

Free Essays
847 words (2.4 pages)

Robertson Davis' Fifth Business Essay

-      Guilt can only be suppressed for a limited time before it comes out in unwanted ways. In the novel Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, Boy Staunton -a successful businessman with a polished appearance but a tortured soul- took the ultimate plunge to his death. His decision was not merely his own, but was influenced by a team of hands that helped push him to his destiny. First Leola, who was his first love and his wife. Then Mary Dempster, a neighbor from his old town Deptford, whom he mistakenly made into a 'simple' woman....   [tags: Robertson Davies Fifth Business Essays]

Better Essays
1185 words (3.4 pages)

Liesl - Fifth Business by Robertson Davies Essay

- Liesl Robertson Davies’ colourful novel “Fifth Business” outlines and describes the development of a lost and emotionally void man, Dunstan Ramsay. This is a man who carries the weight of Paul Dempsters premature birth on his shoulders his entire life. It portrays his quest for self knowledge, happiness, and ultimately fulfilling his role as ‘Fifth Business.’ This would not have accomplished without Liesl, an extremely graceful and intelligent woman imprisoned inside a deformed and gargantuan body....   [tags: Robertson Davies Fifth Business Critique]

Free Essays
1076 words (3.1 pages)

Robertson Davies' Fifth Business Essay

- Robertson Davies' Fifth Business In the novel 'Fifth Business', the author Robertson Davies is successfully able to relate both the themes of magic and religion throughout. He achieves this relationship between the themes primarily through the characters and their actions. Dunstan Ramsay, Paul Dempster, Mary Dempster and Liselotte Vitzliputzli all help to illustrate the close relationship between magic and religion. One of the characters that Davies uses to relate the theme of magic and religion is Dunstable Ramsay....   [tags: Robertson Davies Fifth Business Essays Papers]

Better Essays
597 words (1.7 pages)

Religion, Myth, and Magic in Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business Essay

- Religion, Myth, and Magic in Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business Interwoven with light and shadows, Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business is penetrated with fantastical elements that rub uneasily against feelings of guilt. A snowball thrown by young "Boy" Staunton misses Dunstan and hits Mary Dempster, causing the premature birth of Paul and the insanity of Mary. Guilt ensues and threatens to envelop Dunstable, Dunny, and Dunstan. One is his name by birth; the other a pet name; and the third, his true name upon being born again....   [tags: Fifth Business Essays]

Better Essays
4091 words (11.7 pages)

Fifth Business1 Essay

- Fifth Business1 Canadian Heritage Commercial A railroad line is shown in the background as workers slave away at finishing the Canadian Pacific Rail line, which will run through all of Canada. Finally, the last stake is driven into the rail line thus completing it, rendering it useful for many years to come and effecting the lives of many in the present and future. The purpose of this essay is to reveal the importance of Canadian history in the novel Fifth Business by Robertson Davies....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Better Essays
929 words (2.7 pages)