Fifth Business As a Spiritual Quest Fifth Thesis

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Fifth Business as a Spiritual Quest

Fifth Business is a novel that clearly follows a spiritual quest that is the central theme of the lifelong journey of its protagonist, Dunstable Ramsay. Throughout his life, Dunstable (later called Dunstan after a saint whose virtues Dunstable emulates) is always looking for redemption for childhood guilt through religion and spirituality. From his very first feelings of guilt resulting from causing a neighbor woman to go into premature labor when he dodges a snowball with a rock in it that hits her instead, to feelings of guilt over the death of his brother, his conflict-filled relationship with his parents, and his struggle to find a place in the world that does not seem to have a place for someone who is eccentric and does not quite fit the norms of society like himself, Dunstable is constantly searching the world of spirituality for answers that will give him the peace he seeks in his life. It is a journey that comprises the entirety of the book.

Dunstable's spiritual quest begins with his connection to Mary Dempster, a local minister's wife who has her baby prematurely after being hit in the head with a rock-filled snowball that Dunstable dodged.
He becomes a good friend to her, mainly out of guilt, but soon comes to love her, as well. He teaches magic to her son, Paul, and her minister husband soon tells Dunstable to stay away from his wife and son. Mary is ostracized by the town after being caught having voluntary sex with a local hobo (and not being raped, which would have brought her sympathy), but Dunstable continues to sneak around to see her. He becomes convinced she is a saint when he witnesses three miracles he believes are attributed to her. First, she seemingly brings his dead brother back to life after praying over him. Secondly, he sees her face in the statue of the Madonna during the war. Thirdly, the hobo with whom she had sex turns his life around and becomes a well-known and respected advocate of the needy. Dunstable maintains contact….....

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