fifth business

Guilt in The Stone Angel and The Fifth Business
Every piece of literature that has been written uses words, which have concrete meaning
in everyday life.As a resultof that it cannot ever be completely abstract.Theme is
what sustains its link with living, by giving it a topic or idea that extends it beyond
the aesthetic, and unites it with the preoccupation of humanity.A work can have one
theme or many, and Margaret Laurence’s and Davies Robertson’s essential humanism makes it
very inevitable that in this respect their novels are multifaceted.In their novels The
Stone Angel and The Fifth Business the main characters Hagar Shipley and Dunny Ramsay
through the birth, lack of feelings and escape from the family have undergone similar
feelings of guilt through their whole lives.
First of all, Dunny the main character of The Fifth Business, for whom the snowball was
intended, feels extremely guilty because he knew that Percy Staunton with whom he had
earlier a fight, would throw one final snowball at him before he goes into the house for
supper.To avoid the coming snowball he dodges around pregnant Mrs. Dempster who at the
same time gets hit on the head, causing her great pain.Dunny is just reaching puberty
and listening to his mother’s reports on the premature birth of Paul Dempster gave him
the sense that he is directly involved in it.Furthermore, he has been raised in a
strict Presbyterian household that has encouraged him to feel guilty about almost every
So at the beginning of the two novels the reader learns that thefirst feeling of
guilt that the two main characters share is a birth of one of the characters presented in
the novels.In The Stone Angel Hagar blamed herself for being born, because it was she
that caused her mother’s death.She felt that it should be her who should die not he…


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