Each of the main characters in the three novels—Dunstan Ramsay, David Staunton, and Magnus Eisengrim—narrates his life story. But the priest discourages Ramsay's obsession. Fifth Business is an ambitious work by any measure—except, perhaps, word count it clocks it at around pages.
How ambitious is it? Ramsay encounters Mary Dempster's miraculous intervention again, but in a very unexpected setting.
He returned to Canada, teaching at Trinity College and writing and acting prolifically. Ramsay is torn between pitying her as a mad woman or honoring her as a saint.
These miracles center on an eccentric local woman, Mary Dempster, the wife of the Baptist parson. Check out our Privacy and Content Sharing policies for more information.
Who wrote this essay?Who wrote this essay? Around this central theme, Robertson Davies spins a story, or rather a multitude of stories, that illuminate the human condition with uncommon brilliance. They're not intended to be submitted as your own work, so we don't waste time removing every error. The shock caused the parson's wife, then seven months pregnant, to go into early labor. When Ramsay's brother Willie succumbs to kidney failure, Dunstan runs to bring Mrs. Download it! Fifth Business is an ambitious work by any measure—except, perhaps, word count it clocks it at around pages. David Staunton, a highly successful criminal lawyer, embodies a thoroughly rationalist belief system. He feels the piece depicts him as a man who never had a life outside the classroom. This is a rare kind of fiction, and Fifth Business exemplifies an uncharacteristic approach to the modern novel, but one perhaps all the more therapeutic the less we initially grasp its applicability to our own situation. At the battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest encounters in military history, he earns the Victoria Cross for his bravery in single-handedly taking out a German machine gun nest.
He even consults a Catholic priest—a humbling step since Dunstan is a Presbyterian, and an ambivalent one at that, but forced to take that step, since only the Church of Rome takes seriously the concept of modern-day sainthood.
In what ways does the war change him? But Davies invented it for his story—not an inappropriate gesture for a work focused on the ways in which myths are created and disseminated.
This incident, in which Ramsay is at the center of peculiar events he neither causes nor controls, is emblematic of the novel as a whole.
Padre Blazon asks Ramsay about the significance of Mrs.