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In the novel Fifth Business, what may one's opinions be about Mary Dempster? Is she...

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afterburn | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 3, 2008 at 9:11 PM via web

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In the novel Fifth Business, what may one's opinions be about Mary Dempster? Is she crazy? Is she a modern day woman? etc.

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rachhhhael | Student , Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 15, 2008 at 5:04 AM (Answer #1)

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well in the book the town people refer to her as "simple"

however this was before the gravel pit inncident.

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danylyshen | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 26, 2008 at 12:38 AM (Answer #2)

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If we interpret Mary Dempster along Jungian archetypes, we see her in various roles and see her as a dynamic character who changes as much as Dunny does in the novel since she is arguably, one of the active agents for change in Dunny's life. Firstly, she is the mother figure, brining forth a weakened child into the world. She then becomes a type of a saviour figure, not only because of her appearance to Dunny as he crawls through the mud in WWI, but also because she gave of herself unselfishly to the drifter in the gravepit. After this incident she is not crazy, but distracted. She becomes the jungian outcast in the novel since the small town mentality cannot accept why she would ever prostate herself to a drifter. Mary becomes other things through the novel. This is just a start. The point is that Mary Dempster cannot be dealt with so tritely. She fills a complicated function in the novel so we should have many opinions about her. 

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