Robertson Davies is effective in using many different literary devices in driving his plot forward. Foreshadowing is used constantly and effectively, as this is a memoir. Since this is a memoir being narrated in the first person, the reader is able to feel Dunstin’s true emotions during his many man against man and man against nature conflicts.
The author’s development of Dunstan as a protagonist is useful in pushing the plot forward. “After a few weeks during which I was miserable because of the village talk, I sneaked over there on day and peeped in the window” (46) Although the town frowned upon Mary Dempster after her incident at the gravel pit, Dunstan continues to visit Mary, sharing the latest gossip of the town, because she is not allowed the daily newspaper. Dunstan is a very modest character, “Where Boy lived high, I lived – well, not low, but on in the way congenial to myself.” (111), he is happy with the bare necessities in life and asks for nothing more.
The other characters in the novel are seen from Dunstan’s eyes and the reader’s opinion on the characters is based on Dunstan’s feelings toward them. The author’s diction is also effective in developing characters. When Dunstan meets up with Milo after the war to discuss ...
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...l of the soldiers, and they are all alone. Dunstin decides to head towards the gun’s nest, as he suspects everyone else is headed. This symbolizes ones journey through life because we are all fighting an individual war, trying to survive. We suspect that we are all headed to the same place, thinking that we all know how to find it, even though some of us get lost along the way. This is explained briefly when Dunstan is speaking to Boy Staunton of his hieroglyphic research. “If you don’t hurry up and let life know what you want, life will damned soon show you what you’ll get” (128)
At this point in the novel, Davies has created an interesting story of a boy who is, in effect, explaining human nature through symbolism. Dunstan’s many conflicts with man and society are very effective in maintaining the readers interest in the novel and make the plot more exciting.
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