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This commentary is based on an extract from the Penguin hardback edition of the novel, Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. The passage begins on p. 114 last paragraph "I was fill with..." to p.116 "... a selfish, envious, cankered wretch, wasn't I?"

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Introduction

Fifth Business Commentary This commentary is based on an extract from the Penguin hardback edition of the novel, Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. The passage begins on p. 114 last paragraph "I was fill with..." to p.116 "... a selfish, envious, cankered wretch, wasn't I?" Written by Jonas Hahn IB English A1 (hl) Shanghai American School "I recognized that my limp was always worse..." and "... I did not want her, but it annoyed me Boy had her" give the time after the First World War, of a man fighting his own battle. It can be observed, that at surface level, it is about the narrator returning from war with only one leg and not succeeding with the girl he desired. This causes him even more pain that his limp. Yet with closer examination is can be seen that this passage holds more to it, it is a power struggle between Boy and the narrator. Also it is about impressing each other and always wanting more than the other person, not just simply the return of a soldier who is wounded. Hahn 2 The entire extract is written in first person, seemingly allowing the reader to enter the state of mind and emotions the narrator is in; yet paradoxically his personal affairs are not mentioned, instead the narrator talks about boy's affairs, he only mentions that he is envies. ...read more.

Middle

The narrator has nothing yet he feels as if he were imprisoned, this is an oxymoron meaning one thing but really something else is going on. This passage moves from envies what Boy has and the narrator does not, towards jealousy that Boy has everything and the narrator has nothing, although he is a cruel person, thus the narrator deserves some sympathy. In the first paragraph the narrator describes the situation he undergoing, then moving on to the "free spirit girls in Toronto," to the narrators argument amongst himself. Though out the stages of this passage the narrator is very anxious of what he doesn't have, yet he doesn't want what he doesn't have he simply wants Boy not to have it. He uses such words as "deceived Leola" instead of saying he lied to her. He was also a very active listener to Boy when he talked about all his girls who "knew what they were doing" yet he was never critical to with Boy's decisions. The narrator questioned in his mind if these "pashes count[ed]" or not. In a way he is imprisoning himself with Boy's affairs yet Boy doesn't seem to mind at all. The narrator has nothing and nobody in his life and the only thing he relates to are Boy's affairs and he explains everything Boy does against Leola that Boy truly loves her and that all the other girls mean nothing. ...read more.

Conclusion

He rejects the fact that he wants what Boy has all along yet what he really wants is a girl like Leola or Diana. This passage can be very deceiving at first sight, it seems as if it is about the narrator having a struggle between himself and comparing himself to Boy who seems to have everything but he doesn't want any of it. Yet underneath all this allusion it can be observed that the narrator really wants a girl and someone to love him. He also doesn't think Boy has earned everything he has since he hasn't been disfigured like the narrator has. I think this is a very powerful passage, of course I can't relate to it since I don't know how it feels to be so disfigured. Yet I do know how it feels to love someone and be with him or her all the time and then all of a sudden lose them. This was the worst feeling I have ever had, and that feeling combined with a disfigured body must be terrifying. Also seeing Boy who hasn't been injured in the war and has a woman like the narrator wants, using her simply as an object of lust. I believe the narrator couldn't experience more pain at moment. He has experienced pain, jealousy and envy as thoroughly as anyone will ever experience these feelings. ...read more.

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