Fifth Business Character Analysis

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“I was contrite and guilty, for I knew that the snowball had been meant for me” (Davies 11). Dunstan Ramsay from Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business is a man who bears the responsibility of dodging a snowball throughout his life. He believes that he caused the insanity of his neighbour, Mary Dempster by letting that snowball hit her. Therefore, the guilt he experiences will ultimately influences his development into an adult. This is especially apparent in his involvement with Mary, his detached attitude towards society, and his opinion towards his parents. Dunstan’s life revolves entirely around the existence of Mary Dempster from the moment the snowball was thrown to the day she died. Following the incident, he carries the thought throughout his childhood of “…the birth of Paul Dempster, so small, so feeble and troublesome, was my fault” (22). Consequently, his guilt forces him to take care of the Dempster household “two or three times a week” (27) while in Deptford. He feels inclined to look after Mary Dempster until she gets better, which…show more content…
Although his mother initially wants to help out Mary Dempster, she quickly changes her mind once the incident in the gravel pit occurs. However, Dunstan’s guilt stops him from abandoning Mary Dempster, therefore a disagreement rises between the two. He believes, “…that nobody - not even my [his] mother - was to be trusted…” (36). He ultimately enlists in the army in order to escape choosing between his mother and Mary Dempster. After the war ended, he learns about his parent’s death and feels indifferent and relieved even. Also, this is apparent in his relationship with Diana, where he refuses to get engaged because “…she was too much like a mother to me” (88). Only later in his life will he feel anything other than relief from his parents deaths, and even then he still feels apathetic towards
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