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Fifth Business Essay

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Essay title: Fifth Business Essay

Competition, guilt, and the contrast between Boy Staunton and Dunstable Ramsay is what Robert Davies used to define the novel, Fifth Business. Davies portrays the idea of competition through the relationship between Boy and Dunstan in their childhood, their military recognition, and their love for Leola. Moreover, the theme of guilt is shown through the experiences of the characters as Dunstable felt guilty for the premature birth of Paul Dempster, Boy subconsciously felt guilty for the death of Leola, and Paul felt responsible for causing his mother to go insane. Guilt essentially is what drives the characters of Fifth Business and in the end determines the final conclusion. Lastly, although Boy and Dunstable are parallels of each other Davies uses their contrast in values, desire for control, and contrast in prosperity during youth. Their awkward relationship plays a major role in the elements that make Fifth Business such an interesting story. Hence, the story revolves around the idea of competition, guilt, and contrast between two similar yet different characters.

Competition plays an essential role in defining the relationship between Boy Staunton and Dunstable Ramsay, as it is prominent in their childhood relationship, military recognition, and relationship with Leola. While at a young age Dunstable never showed much interest in competing with Boy, Percy always saw Dunstable as a rival. This is evident as Percy became enraged and jealous when his new and expensive sled was not as fast as Dunny’s, “I had been sledding with my lifelong friend and enemy, Percy Boyd Staunton, and we had quarreled, because his fine new Christmas sled would not go as fast as my old one” (Davies, 01) It was this competition between who had the better sled that established the setting for the novel, since it provoked conflict and escalated into Boy throwing the snowball at Dunstable that triggered the cycle of events which define the plot. Although Dunstable and Boy did not see each other for many years

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