Wordspinning

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Robertson Davies - Fifth Business

Roberston Davies, along with Umberto Eco, Michael Ondaatje and others whose names I can't call to mind at this moment, knows more than he has any business knowing about any number of subjects.

He used his love of the theater, Jung, and a great deal of autobiographical experience to craft Fifth Business.

• Davies and Ramsey both had fathers who were one-man publishers and Davies grew up in the publishing business.

• Davies and Ramsey were raised in the Presbysterian church but later rejected its strict doctrines.

• Davies had a lifelong love of the theater, travelling circuses and drew heavily on these for the scenes with the adult Paul Dempster.

• Davies also had a lifelong interest in Carl Jung's readings and in the Saints, which he gave to Ramsey.

Here's a Robertson Davies Bio


I cam across something that stated most of the characters in Fifth Business could be identified as Jungian archetypes.

Mother - nurturing one
• Ramsey's mother to other families, but not so much to him
• Mary Dempster in an unconventional way

Shadow - perceived as the enemy, but really amoral; like the snake in Eden. Monsters, demons...
• Mary Dempster as seen by the town
• Liesl
• Paul Dempster

Persona - public image, good impression
• "Boy" Staunton
• Leola early in her marriage

Anima/Animus - Female/male spectrum - two halves in equal partnership
• ?/Ramsey

Father - authority figure
• Amasa Dempster

Family - ties that go beyond reasonable explanation
• Ramsey and Mary Dempster

Child
• Paul Demptser as a child
• The statue of Mary

Wise old man
• old monk/priest

Trickster
• Ramsey as a child
• Paul Dempster as an adult

Hermaphrodite
• bearded lady

Jung Archetypes


3 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

Thanks for posting this. Fifth Business is one of my favorite books and I keep running across clues that illuminate it more. I may have to read it for a fourth time now.

8:50 AM  
Blogger sam mccarty said...

what are the similarities between jungs ideas and davies ideas do you think?

5:03 PM  
Blogger helen said...

Are Mrs. Dempster, Mrs. Ramsey, Diana and Liesl all mother figures to Dunstan? why or why not

2:07 PM  

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