The Fifth Business Novel

The Fifth Business is a fictional novel written of Roberson Davies from Canada who is a professor, journalist, critic as well as a playwright. It is the best-known novel of Davies, even has been ranked as the finest. It explores the life of the narrator Dunstan Ramsay. Dunstan is a boy from Deptford, a small town placed in Canada. He evolves into an intellectual man seeking for meaning in life. Ramsay possesses an inherent aptitude of analyzing persons at his first or second meeting with the individual, alternatively under no circumstances appears to achieve an exact read on himself. The protagonist Dunstan is quite well-off monetarily as nicely as was declared a war hero after obtaining the Victoria Cross, which is the most prestigious English award. He was raised well, and his intellect surpasses the fact that he was brought up in a small town. All these aspects give the impression that Dunstan is more likely to lead a satisfying and a happy life. Although when the story is commencing, he experiences a major life changing incident. Percy Boy Staunton, his biggest rival as well as best friend, hits a pregnant woman named Mary Dempster using a snowball planned for him. This makes Dunstan to life a life full of guilt and in the end, leads him to a life with no true friendship or any significant other. As Ramsay struggles in his journey for his role as the fifth business, Liesl enters into the life of Dunstan. She plays a major role in assisting Dunstan to develop himself as an individual and in understanding his role as the fifth business. This paper will focus on Dustan Ramsay’s role as the protagonist in Fifth Business by Robertson Davies.

One of the major themes that are related closely to the developments of the fifth business demonstrates the related roles of Dunstan Ramsay according to the fifth business on his life and his responsibilities as a human being and the effect of the choices he made. Also the impacts of his impression as an individual and self-acknowledgement.

Ramsay’s role was a fulfillment of the fifth business and the narrative voice that he passed on in the novel resulting to the detachment and passive role. While Ramsay was narrating his life story essentially, he depicted attitude that never portrays sentimental attachments of his life events. His narrating tone was incorporated with aloofness of distance, which made his story almost lose interest. Ramsey reflects and comments on his life events as he continues with his narration of the significance his life story that is written in novels. Davies make a lot of imagery of whole life story while writing the Novel. Davies story is properly conveyed to the readers through the painting and the setting drawings. A vivid description of the snowball and Mrs. Dempster falling is give and the proximity of Jesus birth from Mary, also Mrs. Dempster’s name. The thought of Ramsay making himself responsible for Paul’s birth and the setting of snowy night in a painting demonstrates the degree of imagery used by the author. A description of gravel pit is started in the novel that demonstrates the limits of the community to serve and to indicate its outlook limits. The pit shows the description of events of the Mrs. Dempster that shows the relation of Ramsey’s character on every occasion of his life to Deptford and beyond as it can be seen as an affected outlook towards the world (Davies, 78).

Similar to every other work of literary merit, Fifth Business comprise of several references as well as symbols all through. Beginning with the title itself and its connection to the novel as an autobiography directs the person who is reading to identify the establishment of Dunstan’s character and his preference to stay on the sidelines, following the flow of the society, however, questioning secretly. Another significant reference in the story is religion. Ramsay was raised in proximity to Christians beliefs as well as he was often taught to abide by these values throughout until the end of his life. His exploration together with the study of saints permitted him to explore more on the people of belief and nature of religion more closely. Therefore, this provided him with the opportunity to understand whether as well as how saints are engaged. In relation to my thinking, even his wooden legs function as a significant sign which links directly to the theme of religion. Since the wooden leg in most cases served the role of an obstacle in the life of Dunstan, the author aimed to demonstrate to his audience how such hindrance can go as far as exacerbating the role of Dunstan as fifth business in his life, pressing him to remain on the sidelines (Davies, 89).

Finally, apart from the other symbols, Liesl is also another symbol in the novel. Liesl is the only individual who most circumstances understand the true disposition as well as personality of Ramsay’s role as the fifth business, at all times remaining on the sidelines and not willing to admit the rare evil spirit living inside him. She often praises Ramsay to make him more confident of himself. Ramsay finds it easy to share his fifth-year secrets which he had hold on to himself and unload a number of his burden. She is serving the role of a director for Dunstan to understand better his personality as well as his own character, offering a means to accept his inner, yet rare devil, and identifying his own personality as it presents itself to him. In a quote which relates well to the theme, Liesl says to Dunstan that “You must get to know to know your personal devil” (Davies, 205), essentially affirming that Dunstan has consumed several years attempting to discover the world. And particularly the Saints’ world, yet he has not once taken the time to think through his own self and make an effort to understand all the numerous as well as complex factors of his personality. Dunstan state that “The Autobiography of Magnus Eisengrim was a great pleasure to write, for I was under no obligation to be historically correct or to weigh the evidence.” (Davies, 208), this indirectly references the persons reading to his earlier life, also his depiction of his life. Whereas he comfortably sculpts others’ life, up to now, he cannot yet completely sculpt the actual meaning of his life, lingering to identify his personal character as a human.

In conclusion, Dunstan Ramsay as the protagonist plays a significant role in bringing out the main title, themes and purpose of the story. Other characters such as Liesl, Mrs. Dempster, Percy among others assist in developing his character and his role.

Works Cited

Davies, Robertson. Fifth business. New Canadian Library, 2015.

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