Talk:Fifth Business

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WikiProject Novels (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
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Discussion of Reverend Leadbeater[edit]

I don't think there is a character in 5th Business named Rev'd Leadbeater. There is the Rev'd Amasa Dempster, but he's simply rather literal-minded and unimaginative rather than "corrupt." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 26 April 2005 (UTC)

If memory serves, and I do not have my well-thumbed copy of Fifth Business at hand, Reverend George Maldon Leadbeater was the minister who impressed Percy Staunton with his capital-friendly theology. This occurred on the ship (during Percy's and Leola's honeymoon trip). Dunstan was also present on board. Grstain 14:35, Apr 27, 2005 (UTC)
In my book, Leadbeater comes in on page 119. (Anon commment on 03:14, 11 November 2005 by User:
Agreed -- 20:32, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Definition of "Fifth Business"[edit]

The reference to the source/definition of "Fifth Business" is incorrect. Davies discussed his hoax about this in a Biography published in 1979. The Danish source cited by Davies does not exist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:48, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I have just edited this page to correct the reference to the definition of "Fifth Business." Thomas Overskou, the Danish source, does indeed exist, and he did write a history of the Danish theatre called Den Danske Skueplads. Furthermore, Davies insists that the term "Fifth Business" is used in theatre and opera. He does, however, admit to having falsely attributed the quote, which Davies made up himself, to Overskou. You can find this all in Happy Alchemy on pages 343 ff. Diannecowan 19:23, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Inappropriate Addition[edit]

There is a line within the sixth paragraph which is an obvious bit of ambitious work by somebody who has assigned Fifth Business for reading in his or her class. While it is generally understood that wikipedia is not any kind of Cole's Notes, and that summaries are a poor substitute for close-academic reading, it is incredibly inappropriate to use a wikipedia article to chastise your students. I'm taking the liberty of returning the article to an earlier revision. (talk) 02:59, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Just start over![edit]

In addition to the cogent criticisms of previous contributors, I will add that this is one of the most amateurishly written articles on all of Wikipedia, and should just be trashed. The trouble starts with the second sentence ("Fifth Business is perhaps Davies' best-known novel, and by many considered it his finest") and doesn't improve much. I'm not qualified to redo it, but I know someone who is, I'll try to steer him to you (an extremely literate Columbia University grad, published writer himself, who loves this novel). Billcito (talk) 09:15, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

disagree, have a decent enough start here Feldercarb (talk) 21:36, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
The plot summary could definitely be improved: cut out extraneous detail and point-of-view literary/character analysis - just a sentence per chapter (if chapter-by-chapter summary is the best way to go, which it probably isn't; I'll work on it). I had a start on it today. QMarion II (talk) 03:48, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for this! May we hope for more (i.e. parts 5 and 6 of the book)?Herbivore (talk)
I've now added these myself, and also edited the summary slightly. Herbivore (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 14:35, 26 June 2010 (UTC).
The plot summary is way too detailed and lengthy for a summary; it should not include a chapter breakdown. Look at what Wiki MOS recommends.Parkwells (talk) 19:54, 17 October 2016 (UTC)


The theme of the snowball, and how a single event might mold the entire lives of several people, should be discussed. Also, Davies wrote on more than one occasion that one of the themes of the novel is that a man reaps what he sows, although it is not always easy to know what he has sown. Finally, he wrote that he wanted to explore the theme of what Canada might do if a saint appeared there, and how he thought that Canada would have no use for a saint. —Dominus (talk) 14:44, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

resurrection, rebirth, being born again (though not in the conventional sense) Ramsay, Boy Stanton, Eisengrim are all reborn/renamed in a sense. Ramsay's brother is putatively resurrected by Mary Dempster Feldercarb (talk) 21:36, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
yes, do Canadians have use for spirtualality?
can someone give a clear example of the Jungian archtype?

Yes Davies explores the theme of reaping what you sow in many ways. It is for this very reason that you cannot fail to mention the stone in the opening scene [part one No. 1]. Mrs. Dempster was not struck by a benign snowball, but by a stone imbedded snowball launched by Boy. Davies did not hide this fact until deep in the book. The stone is the seed, sown by Boy, that all of the following events grew from. It is not possible to understand either Boy's death [part six No. 6] or Liesl's proclaimation [part six No. 8] without knowing that there was a stone hiding in the snowball.

In a middle section of the book Boy notices this stone as a paper weigh in Ramsey's office and immediately recognizes it but if I remember correctly they do not talk about it. I think Boy picks it up but there is no conversation. c6bolt —Preceding unsigned comment added by C6bolt (talkcontribs) 17:34, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Discussions of themes are supposed to be based on content from and cited RS, just as other sections do. It is not up to editors' interpretations, however well-meaning.Parkwells (talk) 19:57, 17 October 2016 (UTC)


Low importance? Wouldn't this be a candidate for "the" Canadian novel? Feldercarb (talk) 21:36, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

It's definitely a major fixture of Canadian literature. Judging by the importance scale, it's inarguably at least mid-importance, and probably high-importance. I'll change it to high. TheFeds 20:08, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
thanks! Feldercarb (talk) 00:31, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Needs source for ranking.Parkwells (talk) 19:58, 17 October 2016 (UTC)


I want to say that Daria was briefly seen reading this book in the TV movie 'Is it Fall Yet?' Probably not worth putting in, unless there is more than one element to constitute an 'in popular culture' section. Zweifel (talk) 02:00, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

No, too trivial, like product placement.Parkwells (talk) 19:59, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

way way way too much plot summary[edit]

Holy toledo, this article has (a) WAY too much plot summary - this isn't Cliff Notes - and (b) the most awkwardly presented plot summary I've ever seen, with the numbered paragraphs.

Usually I don't complain about something unless I plan to rewrite it, but this section would need to be redone from top to bottom, which is too exhausting to contemplate. So I'll just complain. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:16, 5 June 2017 (UTC)