Robertson Davis' Fifth Business Essay

Decent Essays

Guilt can only be suppressed for a limited time before it comes out in unwanted ways. In the novel Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, Boy Staunton -a successful businessman with a polished appearance but a tortured soul- took the ultimate plunge to his death. His decision was not merely his own, but was influenced by a team of hands that helped push him to his destiny. First Leola, who was his first love and his wife. Then Mary Dempster, a neighbor from his old town Deptford, whom he mistakenly made into a 'simple' woman. Next his life long-friend and enemy, Dunstan Ramsey, who was a constant reminder of the virtuous life boy longed to live. Then Paul Dempster, the product of Boy's immature childhood behavior. Finally …show more content…

Throughout their marriage
Boy wanted Leola to be something she could not. Leola tried hard to suit his lifestyle but eventually Boy realized that she was not what he wanted; ?She was trying hard, but she could not keep pace with Boy's social advancement?(page
151). As a result Boy began neglecting her and their children. The neglect grew and eventually Boy cheated on her. As the neglect grew, so did his guilt. When
Leola eventually killed herself (due to Boy's neglect), his guilt grew so big he could not face it. This could be seen when Boy did not even attend her funeral.

Dunstan Ramsey was Paul's life-long friend and enemy. Boy and Dunny ran somewhat of a parallel life. They both grew up feeling guilt for Mrs. Dempster.
Dunny realized that to live a complete life, one must rid one's self of the guilt. Dunny dealt with his guilt by supporting Mrs. Dempster in her later years.
Boy on the other hand ignored the guilt he felt for Mrs. Dempster and Leola. Boy did not know, but his conscience was so big that he would soon have to somehow open it up and face it. Dunny's paperweight was the key. His paperweight was the stone that was hidden in the snowball that hit Mrs. Dempster in the head when they were children. When Dunny told Boy and Paul about the snowball incident,
Boy realizes what he is guilty of and what he repressed for so many years. Boy

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