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Fifth Business - Percy Boyd Staunton: A man disliked by many

Uploaded by tigger_84 on Jul 29, 2002

Many people dislike a certain individual when they meet or exceed certain predefined criteria. In the novel FIFTH BUSINESS by Robertson Davies, the antagonist, Percy Boyd Staunton, performs a number of incidents, which leads one to dislike him. He denies his guilt of throwing a snowball, happily displays nude pictures of his wife, and commits adultery. In his early childhood, Boy throws a paperweight concealed in a snowball at Mrs. Dempster. Towards the end of the book, Boy denies ever throwing the snowball at her, oblivious to the fact that Dunstable (Dunny) Ramsay was present at that time. The fact that a man of such grace and distinction like Boy Staunton denies the guilt of throwing the snowball that causes a dramatic change in the mental stability of Mrs. Dempster, as well as the birth of a premature child, Paul Dempster, angers one. Shortly after Mrs. Dempster's assailant, Boy, throws the snowball at her, Dunny, unable to contain his own guilt, confronts Boy about the guilty deed. Boy, exemplifying his nonchalant attitude, denies all accusations Dunny makes about him. Dunny makes this point evident when he says, "We looked into each other's eyes and I knew that he was afraid, and I knew also that he would fight, lie, do anything rather than admit what I knew" (Davies 23). In today's society, all people are responsible for their own actions, and trying to escape from them creates the image of a cheap coward. This is the hateful expression that one would get from Boy Staunton's denial of the truth. Percy Boyd Staunton changes his name to Boy Staunton, which is consistent with his self-image as an eternally young and fatally handsome swordsman among the ladies. Boy later marries Leola Cruikshank, the girl who his best friend, Dunny, has had his eye on since they were children. As the years go by, the relationship between Boy and Leola starts to disintegrate. Throughout their marriage, Boy wants Leola to be something she cannot. Leola tries hard to suit his lifestyle but eventually Boy realizes that she is not what he wants. Boy treats Leola as an object, rather than as a woman as well as his wife. A serious incident which takes place between Boy and Leola is when Boy gives Dunny a number of reels of film, and asks him to develop them for him. At first, this seems a harmful...

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Uploaded by:   tigger_84

Date:   07/29/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (1,006 words)

Views:   12438

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