Fifth Business

Complexity Between Dunny and Mrs. Dempster 11th Grade

Fifth Business fixates on Dunstan Ramsay, a man stricken with profound guilt that stems from a childhood accident. At only ten years old, he dodges a snowball aimed at him, that instead strikes Mary Dempster, the young, pregnant woman next door. Consequently, her baby is born prematurely, and she is left with a simple state of mind. As a result, Dunny’s mother takes over the household and acts as the mother of the baby. Dunny, in turn, builds a flourishing relationship with Mrs. Dempster. This complex relationship becomes a way for Dunny to eradicate his chronic guilt. This multi-layered relationship develops into his most extensive internal conflict, as Mrs. Dempster plays four roles in his world: a child, a wife, a mother, and a saint. The intricacy of this relationship, along with Dunny’s love for Mrs. Dempster, causes him to constantly feel inadequate, which only amplifies his guilt.

In the aftermath of the snowball incident, Mrs. Dempster is abandoned by both her husband and son, and ends up living with her Aunt Bertha. For several years, Dunny visits her, against Bertha’s better judgement. After Bertha dies, Mrs. Dempster is truly left alone, which causes Dunny to immediately come running to her rescue. Due to her...

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