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Fifth Business: Setting

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Teegan Ojala

on 21 January 2013

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Transcript of Fifth Business: Setting

- http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/robertson-davies

- www.wikipedia.org

- http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/massey/h5-200-e.html

- http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/tric/article/view/7507/8566 Bibliography -Represents Dunstan's more spiritual side
- Dunstan visits several different locations in Europe to look for
and research saints
- Meets the Bollandists at the College de Saint-Michel, in Brussels, which is where he meets one of his closest friends, Padre Blazon
- Dunstan feels that "in matters of religion [he] was an illiterate, and illiteracy was [his] abhorrence" (115)
- it is here he 'rediscovers' religion and experiences a sort of "enlightenment" or realization
- he finds a different way to look at and interpret religion that is very different from the religious views of the many of the individuals that Dunstan interacts with who take religious dogmas very seriously
- As Dunstan becomes more passionate about the saints he starts to see that he doesnt have to look at religion in a serious, literal sense, but he can appreciate it for its more mystical, mythological qualities
- Dunstan "confirmed [his] childhood notion that religion was much nearer in spirit to Arabian Nights than it was to anything encouraged by St James's Prebesterian Church"
( 116) - Arabian Nights is "a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales" (wikipedia)
- Blazon says this to Dunstan: "Forgive yourself for being a human creature, Ramezay. That is the beginning of wisdom; that is part of what is meant by the fear of God; and for you it is the only way to save your sanity. Begin now, or you will end up with your saint in the madhouse" (170) Toronto - Dunstan spends the majority of his time in Toronto

- represents Dunstan's more professional, serious, public side

- It is the location of his job, at Colborne College, and permanent home

- Toronto contrasts with Deptford in that it is more sophisticated, modern and people here place much less emphasis on religious matters

- This change in environment mirrors the changes in Dunstan that occured from the time he left Deptford to the time he started living in toronto

- Dunstan fits his role as "fifth business" the best while in Toronto

- it provided an environment in which Dunstan could grow, mature, and become educated

- an environment like Toronto was necessary for Boy to become successful; he needed a big modern city, Toronto is the perfect Canadian city for Boy to achieve his goals in Mexico - Represents Dunstan's more emotional and passionate side

- Dunstan encounters Paul, who now goes by the name Magnus Eisengrim, for the second time since Dunstan left Deptford

- He also meets two other important members of Paul's 'crew' : Liesl and Faustina

- The change in location from Toronto to Mexico also marks a change in Dunstan

- Mexico provides a perfect environment in which Dunstan can face his "devil"

- he recaptures a bit of his youth

- Liesl tells Dunstan that his "horrid village and [his] hateful Scots family made [him] a moral monster" (208) which prevented Dunstan from displaying any characteristics or emotions that Leisl claims are an important part of being a human

- It allows for Dunstan to let lose a little and he experiences a "breakdown of character" (208), in which he tells Leisl his secrets, and is ashamed of this because he is "irrationally obsessed with an ideal of secrecy" (208)

- Dunstan falls in love with Faustina who, according to Liesl, "has nothing of what you call brains" (208) Fifth Business




The Significance of Setting in the
Second Half of the Novel Locations - Throughout the second half of the novel Dunstan visits many different locations

- The locations in the novel change often

- The changes in location often coincide with changes in Dunstan's views and ideals

- The different locations also represent different parts of Dunstan

- The locations in the second half of the novel include Toronto, Mexico, and various locations in Europe

- Dunstan meets his two closest friends in Mexico and Europe Europe -Represents Dunstan's more spiritual side
- Dunstan visits several different locations in Europe to look for
and research saints
- Meets the Bollandists at the College de Saint-Michel, in Brussels, which is where he meets one of his closest friends, Padre Blazon
- Dunstan feels that "in matters of religion [he] was an illiterate, and illiteracy was [his] abhorrence" (115)

- it is here he 'rediscovers' religion and experiences an "enlightenment" or realization

- he finds a different way to look at and interpret religion that is very different from the religious views of the more pious individuals that Dunstan interacts with who, take religious dogmas very seriously

- As Dunstan becomes more passionate about the saints he starts to see that he doesnt have to look at religion in serious, literal sense, but he can appreciate it for its more mystical, mythological qualities

- Dunstan "confirmed [his] childhood notion that religion was much nearer in spirit to Arabian Nights than it was to anything encouraged by St James's Prebesterian Church"
( 116) - Arabian Nights is "a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales" (wikipedia)

- Blazon says this to Dunstan: "Forgive yourself for being a human creature, Ramezay. That is the beginning of wisdom; that is part of what is meant by the fear of God; and for you it is the only way to save your sanity. Begin now, or you will end up with your saint in the madhouse" (170) - Takes place from around 1927 to around 1969

- encompasses the Great Depression, WWII, and post - war time periods

- also encompasses some of the "jazz age", which is a similarity to The Great Gatsby, Dunstan even compares Boy to F. Scott Fitzgerald


- The rise of psychology, especially analytical psychology

- Davies was very interested in and inspired by Jungian psychology; as a result the characters in the novel represent many of the Jungian archetypes

- The Great Depression - important aspect of the novel because it allowed Boy to make a lot of money: Boy "dealt extensively in solaces" (141), meaning he produced very cheap, sugary food and drink for people who were "down on their luck", and they bought it because they didn't have much of a choice

- similar to The Great Gatsby in that they both depict the lives of people who live through the great depression but are not strongly affected by it

-WWII - also allowed Boy to make even more money and become even more respected; he became the Minister of Food

- second wave women's rights movement - inspired the creation of Boy's second wife, Denyse Hornick, who is very involved in the feminist movement, and is very strong and ambitious; "All her moral and ethical energy... was directed towards social reform. Easier divorce, equal pay for equal work as between men and women, no discrimination between the sexes in employment -- these were her causes..." (230) Similarities Between the Novel and Davies' Life - Both Dunstan and Davies attended school at the University of Toronto and worked as educators in Toronto

- They were both respected authors

- Both had interests in mythology

- Colborne College was inspired by the Upper Canada College, where Davies attended from 1920 to 1932. The University was founded by Sir John Colborne

- Boy Staunton's character bears some resemblance to Vincent Massey, a friend of Davies'

- Just like Boy, Vincent had served in the military , came from a wealthy family, he was a businessman, and an important Canadian figure (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca) Historical Context Time Period and Historical Context Time Period Europe -As Dunstan visits these different places, he finds or is shown the different parts of his self that eventually unite, and provide him with a complete sense of self.

- Toronto represents his more professional, responsible side

- Europe represents his more spiritual side

- Mexico represents his more passionate and emotional side Summary
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