Fifth Business ny Robertson Davies

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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. There are many occasions throughout the Fifth Business in which Dunny shows that he is unable to forget a significant event of his childhood. When Dunny was ten, his friend Boy Stauton threw a snowball in attempt to hit Dunny but missed. Dunny ducked to avoid the snowball and as a result the snowball hit a peaceful lady named Mrs. Mary Dempster. Mrs. Dempster, the wife of Baptist minister Mr. Amasa Demspster, became deranged and went into labour prematurely as a result of the strike. Mrs. Dempster gave birth to her son Paul 80 days prematurely with her husband offering no support. During the delivery, Mr. Dempster prays to God to take his wife and spare his son leaving Mrs. Ramsay to help her. Since the incidence, Dunny has felt responsible for the incident because he felt his actions had resulted in Mrs. Dempster’s suffering. Dunny continuously gets tied up and never is able to leave his roots in Deptford.

Dunstan dropped out of school and went to the army in attempt to leave and forget about his roots. He needed to change something in his life so that he could get his mind off Mrs. Dempster. Prior to him leaving to fight in the war he was not allowed to see her very much because she had told him to s...

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...t will relieve him of his guilt. Dunny located Mrs. Dempster in Toronto under the care of her aunt.

Dunny could never escape his past roots from Deptford. His memories always followed him and eventually brought him back to the same place where he started. Boy had no guilt because Dunny took full responsibility placing all the guilt on his own shoulders. As a result, Boy had no problems heading into the future while Dunny was always restrained. Dunny felt that it was his entire fault that Mrs. Dempsters life was ruined and the thought continued to linger even after taking care of her. Dunny could never live up to Boy because Boy had a better start. Boy’s ability to set aside his childhood memories was something that Dunny could never do and also something that Dunny could never do.

Works Cited

Robertson Davies, Fifth Business. Penguin Books., 1970 print

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