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Book Report On The Novel "Fifth Business" By Robertson Davies. Title Is "Fifth Buisness Essay"

1072 words - 4 pages

Fifth Business EssayIn Robertson Davies' novel, "Fifth Business", through the lives of his main characters, Davies makes a comment on the idea of change. Davies through the characters of Percy Boyd Staunton, Paul Dempster, and of that of his main character Dunstable Ramsay, shows the progression of their changing identities to illustrate his idea of change. Davies makes it clear that he believes people can change their exterior persona, their identity as the world sees it, but can never escape their true identity as is made apparent both in childhood and in senility or old age. I agree with Davies idea that one can, during the course of their life, adopt a new identity but can never truly abandon their true identity or characteristics developed in childhood. This can be seen, in the novel, when all three characters adopt new names and personalities in middle age, all three revert back to childhood tendencies as seen in their meeting in the last chapter of the book, and all three unconsciously display characteristic childhood traits through out the various events of their lives as revealed by Dunstan near the end of the novel.Davies through the lives of his three main characters illustrates people's ability to adopt a new persona or exterior identity during their life time. All three characters not only change their lifestyles and mannerism to reflect their desired identities, but they also go so far as to change their names in a feeble attempt to escape their humble beginnings in Deptford. Davies main character Dunstable is the first to change his name. After the war a woman, who he was involved with, named Diana wanted to rename him before he returned to Canada, because she thought his name sounded stupid and that Dunstan would be much more appropriate, as she thought St Dunstan was similar in character to Dunstable. Dunstable accepts the new name, he views it as a new opportunity to change himself, to pattern his life after one of the saints he adored so much, and to distance himself even more from his small town beginnings, as can be seen when he says, "I liked the idea of a new name; it suggested new freedom and a new personality."(Davies, 90). Percy Also change his name some time during the war to Boy Staunton, this name suited his self invented personality as the charming young man who represented all the glory of youth. Finally Paul After running away with circus changed his name to Faustus Legrand, and then eventually Magnus Eisengrim, a name fitting of his completely fictional public identity as the great conjurer. Dunstan's statement sums up nicely the reasoning behind the adopted personalities and names of all three characters. All are attempting to become something they admire but essentially are not and can never truly be.Davies begins to present his idea that one can never escape their childhood identity in some of the events of the event of Dunstan and Boys' lives. He does this by subtly showing that the characters, though heavily...

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