Dunny Takes The Fifth The roles which, being neither those of Hero nor Heroine, Confidante nor Villian, but which were none-the less essential to bring about the Recognition or the denouement... Fifth Business, as defined in the book. The book Fifth Business is testimony of events in the life of the main character Dunstable (later renamed Dunstan) Ramsay. Dunstan feels that his whole life has been spent as the 'fifth business' in the lives of others. There is a lot of truth and relevance to this.
Dunstan was the 'fifth business' in the lives Paul and Mary Dempster, and Boy Staunton because he altered their lives without it ever being distinctly for the better or worse. Dunstan Ramsay was the 'fifth business' in the life of Paul Dempster. Dunstan had a great deal of impact on the life of Paul even before his birth, at the simple toss of a snowball. If Dunstan wouldn't have had the instinct to move out of the path of the 'snowball', that caused him so much mental anguish in the future, then Paul would not have been born premature and almost still.
Ramsay took it upon himself to educate Paul, though the material he used to do this with was highly unheard of, in order to help reduce some of the guilt Dunstan still had with Pauls birth. This new interest of magic and saints is what later led Paul to chose the path he did when he ran away from home. Dunstan greatly altered Pauls life without it ever serving more than the purpose of just moving his life along. A lot of the events that changed Pauls life also effected that of Mary Dempster. The same 'snowball' that caused the premature birth of Paul also greatly altered the life of Mary. Mary suffered mentally and was said to have gone 'simple' (24) after Pauls shockingly sudden birth.
Dunstan's daily visits to Mary Dempster seemed to help Reverend A masa Dempster cope with his wife's illness. If it wasn't for work that Dunny did for Mary then the Reverend would not have been so ignorant of his wife's condition for such a long time. Ramsay had a large effect on Mary's life without his presence ever being that of a main character. Unlike the alterations Dunny caused on the lives of Mary and Paul Dempster, those of Boy Staunton were a lot more subtle.
Dunny and Boy always had a rivalry between them that was occasionally unintentional. Dunny and Boy spent years of their life competing for Leola Cruikshank. If this rivalry had not been there, it is possible that Boy would not have been as attracted to Leola and therefore would not have the incentive to marry her. This same rivalry caused the two to argue the night that the snowball was thrown. This is the first time that Boy has used the method of denial to deal with a problem. Boy, after noticing how well he coped with this situation, used this method to deal with almost all his problems later in life.
Dunstan played neither the role of the Confidante, nor the villi an in Boy's life, yet Dunstan was responsible a lot of the paths Boy chose in his life. Dunstan Ramsay was responsible for a lot of the events in the lives of Paul and Mary Dempster, and Boy Staunton. It seems nearly impossible for Dunny to do so much, and yet so little in these highly altered lives. The fact is, Dunny Ramsay is the 'fifth business'. Epilogue The word 'snowball' is in quotations because of the 'snowball effect' it had on the lives of Dunny, Paul, Mary, and the Reverend.