Book Report On the novel "Fifth Business" by Robertson Davies. Title is "Fifth Buisness Essay"

Essay by KylejgwUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, December 2003

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Fifth Business Essay

In 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...