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Transcript of Fifth Business
PART 6: THE SOIREE OF ILLUSIONS
By Alyssa, Seckoy, Jason, Brian, Alex, Zoha
What are two major losses experienced by Ramsay? Why did each of them occur?
What does Dunny mean when he refers to his relationship with Boy in terms of "the cloaks we had wrapped about our essential shelves were wearing thin"? (242)
What is ironic about Ramsay's reaction to the death of Mary Dempster (244) and about the undertaker's assumption that she is in his mother?
Is Boy's death murder or suicide?
To what extent is Mrs. Dempster a saint, a fool-saint, and a fool?
Comment on Denyse Hornick's effect on on Boy.
What is the dramatic of reporting Boy's death first and then recreating the scene of the Deptford Three?
The brazen Head says Boy Staunton was killed by the usual cabal: who plays each of the roles?
• Boy Staunton’s death is presumably a result of a murderous act.
• This leads the reader to come up with different conclusions.
• One theory is that Magnus Eisengrim (previously Paul Dempster) murdered Boy Staunton.
The Build Up/Suspense
• Boy constantly taunted Paul’s mother, therefore Paul wanted to get revenge.
• Boy and his gang would insult Paul’s mother, calling her a “hoor.”
• This led Paul to despise not only Boy, but also his own mother.
• His mother would be an embarrassment to him, which he could no longer hold.
• Paul consistently brings up this topic when the three men (Boy, Dunstan, Eisengrim) are talking to one another in Part 6, chapter 7.
• Dunstan reveals to Paul that Boy threw the snowball at Mary Dempster
• Dunstan also reveals that he feels a sense of guilt because he and Boy robbed Mrs. Dempster of her sanity (pg. 249).
• The rock, known to Dunstan as his paperweight is missing the following morning.
• It is also suspiciously placed in Boy’s mouth at the time of his death.
• Paul also asked for a ride back to the hotel and stating that, “I have everything I need.” Malicious thinking.
• The most convincing argument is that Paul Dempster hypnotised Boy into an unconscious state of mind.
• He then made Boy put an egg-sized rock in his mouth and have him drive off the pier.
• The reader knows that Paul, as Magnus Eisengrim, is capable of hypnotism, due to the countless shows he puts on.
• Paul’s ability to obtain the rock and get Boy to drive him to the hotel led to the perfect opportunity for Paul to get his revenge.
• One can also interpret Boy’s actions, even still hypnotised, as an act of suicide.
• In the end it was Boy’s “actions,” that led to him driving off the pier and sinking to his death in the car (argument of technicality).
• Boy’s death is probably the most climactic scene in the Fifth Business.
a.) What is ironic about Dunstan Ramsay’s reaction to the death of Mary Dempster?
• In the beginning of chapter four (Part 6), Ramsay stated that he believed that “the insane lived long.”
• This comes off as ironic because the reader learns that Mary Dempster dies before Dunstan’s expectations.
• He also states that he has already made preparations for her maintenance if he should die before her.
• It gives the impression that someone other then Dunstan would have to care for Mrs. Dempster (potentially a different course of action).
b.) What is ironic about the undertaker’s assumption that she is his mother?
• Mary Dempster was a motherly figure to Dunstan.
• One can recall the vision that Dunstan experienced on the battlefields of World War I.
• Mary Dempster appeared to him instead of the Crowned Woman as he was essentially dying.
• This occurs sort of like the way that soldiers see visions of their mothers during near-death experiences, especially during war.
• Padre Blazon stated this when Dunstan inquired that Mary is a saint (Part 4, chapter 3).
• Dunstan, over the course of his life, has spent a lot of his time with Mary Dempster; like a son.
• This can be related to how children spend a lot of time and are raised by their mother.
• Not only is Mary Dempster Dunstan’s “fool-saint,” but she acts as a motherly figure.
• Therefore, Mary Dempster meant more to Dunstan than just a friend.
• It was obvious that the undertaker would make the first assumption that Mary was Dunstan’s mother.
Soiree of Illusions (Title Analysis):
- French translation: "Evening of Illusions"
Illusions are things that are wrongly perceived or interpreted by producing a false or misleading impression on reality. (dictionary.com)
-Name of Magnus Eisingrim's magic show
-Boy Staunton created an illusion of his childhood to forget his actions and rid himself of guilt
"We all forget many things we do, especially when they do not fit into character we have chosen for ourselves." (248)
Denyse is seen as a power in the world of women; someone with strength, power, fierceness, intelligence, and the ability to manipulate. She marries Boy, after Leola's death, to help his political career.
Denyse Hornick humanized Boy through showing him that successful people can show vulnerability meanwhile, keeping a respectable position in society.
Denyse and Boy are the most similar which may be the reason that the audience gets to see Boy break down once he realizes that Denyse has weaknesses too.
Who is Denyse Hornick?
One major loss for Ramsay was the death of Mrs.Dempster, which can be attributed to multiple things. In the grand scheme of things, we can attribute her deteriorated health to Dunstan mentioning Paul and causing her much mental suffering. However, she has a heart attack one year after Boy's wedding, so the time frame might seem a bit off to correlate the cause and effect.
A Second major loss for Ramsay was the death of Boy. I believe it was a major death for him because Boy was a very influential figure in Dunstan's life entirely, despite the way their relationship unfolded by the end of the novel. I believe Boy's death was caused by a questionable amount of factors, and I believe it was influenced by another party.
In Part 6 of Fifth Business, the story comes round full circle. The stone represents the full circle conclusion of the story. In a sense, the round stone that was present since the beginning being revealed at the end to explain questions was, in its own respect, rounding out the story. The stone also represents Dunstan relinquishing his role as "Fifth Business." By bringing out the stone, Dunstan admits to the reader he knows something, and instead of withholding information like a fly on the wall, the information he presents brings him to the forefront of the story and a major plot propeller.
Dunstan Ramsay - The self, he has completed the individuation process. Dunstan has come to terms with his role as fifth business and joins Liesl in Switzerland.
Boy Staunton – The villian, the truth is revealed about the stone put in the snowball which portrays his true self and his need to win and hurt others to feel superior.
Mrs. Dempster – The mother, Dunstan held the most affection for Mary and through her death we see the strongest effect on Dunstan.
Liesl – The confidante, she is one of the two people that Dunstan feels comfortable sharing his life story and true feelings about other characters with. She forces self-realizations upon him and understands him better than anyone else.
Paul Dempster – The trickster, he uses magic to make people regard him powerful.
Padre Blazon – The wise old man & confidante, he is able to provide wisdom and knowledge to Dunstan and helps advise him spiritually and psychologically about his fool saint.
Dunstan- JOURNEY/QUEST to COMING OF AGE
Before, Dunstan was trying to find himself through looking for the statue of the Vigin Mary and searching for different saints to relieve himself of guilt. He is now humanized by his devil, Liesl, which allows him to come to terms with Mary’s mental illness. He has evolved and accpted himself which he does by joining the circus to be with other “outcasts”.
Boy Staunton- THE FALL to THE UNHEALABLE WOUND
Boy was very successful but his mask began to fall and he revealed that he was not happy. He descended from being the character everyone wanted to be due to his perfect life into depression. By Dunstan revealing the stone, he was pushed over the edge and desprate to escape which was executed through suicide.
The anima is a feminine image in the male psyche that represents our true selves, rather than the personas we use everyday.
Dunstan's anima is Lisel because she knows more about him and his true feelings than Dunstan does about himself. He acknowledges his anima through breaking his misogynistic views of women with the help of Liesl. Before, Dunstan viewed women as naive and unintelligent but, Lisel is the first woman he accepts because she matches Dunstan intellectually and is able to mentally stimulate him.
The Anima/ Animus
What Dunstan means by “essential self” is the characteristics and traits that are strong in childhood. Dunstan says that he and Boy learned to disassemble these traits but not get rid of them entirely, the disassembly of traits is what he means by the cloaks wrapped around their essential selves. These traits don’t disappear; very often they make a vigorous appearance after the age of fifty, Dunny and Boy are in their late fifties when Dunny writes this quote, suggesting that the cloaks will be removed entirely and their essential selves will be fully revealed to each other just as they were when they were children.
Their traits from childhood are beginning to make a reappearance in this time of their lives.
Cloaks Covering Reality
Boy felt that he had to keep up the facade of being successful in order to be successful. He did not feel that he could be soft, shy, and unhappy to keep his mask.
It was once that Denyse confided in him that she "doubted if she was up to being Mrs. Boy Staunton" (223) and showed that successful people have both strengths and weaknesses. Denyse showed Boy that she was tender and loving and it was only then that Boy broke down infront of Ramsay.
He crumples up and admits his feelings. "I feel rotten. I've done just about everything I've ever planned to do, and everyone thinks I'm a success. And of course I have Denyse now to keep me up to the mark, which is lucky - damned lucky... But sometimes I wish I could get into a car and drive away from the whole damned thing. "(227)
Doubts & Insecurities
Boy's goal when he was with Leola was to create an appearance for himself which was to be extremely successful. This included creating a prosperous family and community of friends.
- He was constantly trying to change Leola to mold her into the standard of an 'executive' wife. He did this through forcing her to take lessons in bridge, mah-jongg, golf, tennis, and French. She was expected to speak and act in a sophisticated etiquette that was suitable for the "speech of the world to which they now belonged". (140)
- Boy was a politician for the Conservative party. With the help of Denyse he would become Lieutenant-Governor which connected him to the crown. He was doing very well and seen as extremely successful.
- Denyse was the perfect match for Boy both politically and physically. He did not have to work to change her because she was already well respected by important people and she had the qualities of a "Real Woman" (171) who was "intense, passionate, cruel, witty, challenging" (171).
Before and After
Mental Hospital in Toronto- this is where Mary Dempster lives, and where Dunny comes to visit her.
Vienna Spain- This is where Dunstan reunites with Padre Blazon
Salzburg Austria- this is where Dunstan finds the statue of a saint that looks exactly like Mrs. Dempster to him.
Colborne College- This is where Magnus performs a hypnotism show.
Man vs. Man- Dunstan, and Paul confront Boy about their feelings that they have held in for a long time regarding the snowball and Mrs. Dempster.
Man vs. Self- Dunny is often feeling the guilt of all past events.
What are your opinions on Boy’s death; murder or suicide?
Murder or Suicide?
“Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words."
-It may also be a situation that may end up in quite a different way than what is generally anticipated.
Denyse Hornick increased Boy's outer happiness however, he is now depressed.
She was his last piece to success that led to his downfall.
Appearance vs. Reality
Small Town Living
The atmosphere can be described as grim because of the deaths that occurred during this part. It can also be described as sentimental because Dunstan revisits characters from previous part in his life.
Point of View
First person- Dunstan is the narrator of the story. The story unfolds from his point of view.
The ability to capture the readers and emphasize of the moment is done by many methods
- The spontaneous introduction, by introducing the death of Boy abruptly to the reader as well as to Dunstan.
- While also using a scene of ignorance to camouflage the obvious truth, this being in the form of the media and those around him.
-Finally there's how the direct perception of Boy that was given to the readers. One of a man who was selfish, arrogant, and who only concerns life with himself. In reality there was a subtle approach to Boy's personality through many of his actions. His openness with Dunstan, his strong connection with his family, or even his need to be superior.
Whereas the clear cut explanation given to us at the school is easier to follow.:
-It has structure, by the way it follows the actions that take place during Boy's death.
-It reveals the past that Boy was holding back.
-It show's Boy's reaction to the truth and how his dominant personality changes into a submissive one.
-Then finally the disbelief of the truth, just like what happened in Deptford and how he wanted to run away again.
-Cabal is a metaphor to what? Life, and to what extent life can hold you up, or in Boy's case hold up his suppressed guilt.
-The guilt by his actions at Deptford (hitting Mrs Dempster), that being himself.
-The woman he knew, and how guilty he felt about the way he tried to better Leola.
-The guilt he felt in using Denyse his new wife as a way to compensate for his old wife. Or as a man who was exposing his true self.
-Then by the Fifth, which is implying Dunstan. As how Boy used Dunstan as way to look back on his past and at least do some reflection of his actions.
All these representing when Boy found out the truth of his life, the burden was too great for the cable and it snapped into the endless abyss.
Web. 7 Oct. 2015. <http://imgarcade.com/1/guilt-art/>.
"AP Literary Terms." FlowVella. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. <https://flowvella.com/s/23po/AP-Literary-Terms?iframe=true>.
Davies, Robertson. Fifth Business. New York: Penguin Group, 1977. Print.
"Dictionary.com - The World's Favorite Online English Dictionary!" Dictionary.com. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. <http://www.dictionary.com>.
Richert, Scott. "What Is a Saint?" Web. 7 Oct. 2015. <http://catholicism.about.com/od/thesaints/f/What_Is_A_Saint.htm>.
Who is the main character?
-Is it really Dunstan or is Dunstan being used as a literary tool to provide a third person perspective; that being Boy's.
-While the understanding of Boy through Dunstan's eyes gradually begins to change, when Dunstan continues his adventures to find saints.
-While also slowly revealing the truth about Deptford through those who are and were in it.
-While in the end Liesl who tries to open up Dunstan to the world he's actually living in, or Robertson Davis getting his readers to see the real story.
How does this relate to the main character?
-It brings into question the meaning of the story.
-What the purpose of each character is.
-While also reflecting on the connection to this book and life.
• Dunstan believes that Mrs. Dempster’s simplicity symbolizes her saintliness
• Mrs. Dempster helps the chronic patients despite her sorry condition, as Dunstan describes, “[She] was of use in taking some of the people who were more confused than herself for walks”
• After careful consideration, Padre Blazon tells Dunstan what he thinks of Mrs. Dempster, “…her life was lived heroically; she endured a hard fate, did the best she could… Heroism in God’s cause is the mark of the Saint, Ramezay, not conjuring tricks” (234)
• Mrs. Dempster thinks that Paul was kidnapped, “enticed, by evil people who knew what a great treasure he was” (217)
• Dunstan recalls that “Saints, according to tradition, give off a sweet odour when they are dead” (132); Mrs. Dempster does not
• Dunstan is the only person who remembers Mrs. Dempster as she passes away, as he recalls that “The following day, I sat quite alone in the crematory chapel as Mary Dempster’s body went through the doors into the flames” (132)
• “a person who lacks judgment or sense”
• When she learns that Paul is still alive, Mrs. Dempster loses her sanity and feels that “[Dunstan]… pretended to be her friend, was a snake-in-the-grass, an enemy, an undoubted agent of those dark forces who had torn Paul from her”
• She is ignorant to the events of the world, as Dunstan explains “she had no sense of time” (217)
• Dunstan spends countless amounts of money towards Mrs. Dempster’s well being and is keen on living up to his responsibility of safeguarding her against worldly problems, as he says “I wanted to do the right thing but could not help regretting the damnable expense” (217)
• He visits her on a weekly basis although “if [he] were absent for six months, it was not greatly different in her mind from the space between [his] weekly visits” (217)
• Dunstan feels ashamed at having written about gypsies in Paul’s autobiography when he comes to know of Mrs. Dempster’s distaste for them
• Dunstan keeps the rock that Boy threw at Mrs. Dempster as a paperweight as he reminds Boy that it is “the piece of stone [he] put in the snowball [he] threw at Mrs. Dempster” (250)
• Dunstan’s obsession with saints is solely an attempt to comprehend the power Mrs. Dempster holds over him
• Percy completely forgets the past; he desires to always move forward and looks at his past with contempt
• His reason for marrying Denyse is that she is the complete opposite of Leola, who was a small town girl
• Dunstan and Percy still quarrel as they did in their Deptford days, as Dunstan uses his clever remarks to provoke Percy, like when he chastises him saying “You created a God in your own image, and when you found out he was no good you abolished him” (227)
• Paul desires to hide his past with the persona of Magnus Eisengrim, the conjuror of illusions to mask his reality
• He has evidently not forgotten his Deptford days, as he says to Boy, “You have chosen forever to be a Boy. Was it because your mother called you Pidgy Boy-Boy, even when you were old enough to call my mother ‘hoor’?” (247)
• Dunstan doesnot particularly like his past but does not hide from it; instead, he uses knowledge and his curiosity for the underlying purpose of things to rectify the problems in his past