Fifth Business Character Foils Essay

This essay has a total of 685 words and 3 pages.

Fifth Business Character Foils


Robertson Davies' novel, Fifth Business, revolves around guilt, competition, and two men
who are foils of each other. Although Dunstan Ramsay and Percy Boyd Staunton are parallels
to each other, they contrast in a great number of ways. Their awkward relationship plays a
significant role in the number of elements which make Fifth Business such an interesting
story.

While Dunstan Ramsay had never been too interested in competing with Percy Boyd Staunton,
Percy from a young age saw Dunny as a rival. When Percy's brand new expensive sled isn't
as fast as Dunny's, Percy gets angry and throws a snowball at Dunny, which in turn begins
the setting for the novel. The two continue to compete throughout the novel, for things
such as Leola's love, military recognition, and more.

Percy's and Dunstan's characters contrast in many ways. The most prominent way in which
they contrast is their values. Dunstan values spiritual things, while Percy values only
material things. Percy is impressed by and yearns for money, while Dunstan could care less
about it. Dunstan explains his lack of desire for materialistic things:

Where Boy lived high, I lived - well, not low, but in the way congenial to myself. I
thought twenty-four dollars was plenty for a ready-made suit, and four dollars a criminal
price for a pair of shoes. I changed my shirt twice a week and my underwear once. I had
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