In the novel Fifth Business, the theme of rebirth is apparent. Diana Marfleet,
a volunteer nurse, is responsible for tending to the injured. One of the injured
she aids is Dunstable Ramsay, the narrator of the novel. Dunstables involvements
in World War II, causes him severe physical damage. Diana plays an integral part
in the rebirth of Dunstable, by taking the role of a friend, mother and lover in
his life.

A person with whom one enjoys mutual affection and regard is identified as a
friend. Diana’s displays the act of friendship when Dunstable acknowledges,

“We were on tremendous terms in no time, for she had been nursing me since
I had come to the hospital …and such nourishment as I had taken had been
spooned and poured into me by her; she had also washed me and attended to the
bedpan and the urinal, and continued to do so; a girl who can do that without
being facetious or making a man feel acknowledges is no ordinary creature. Diana
was a wonderful girl, and I am sure I gained strength and made physical progress
at an unusual rate because of her.” (p. 80)

Dunstable recognizes all of Diana’s efforts and affection in taking the
time to assist with his injuries from the war, being comfortable around each
other, in almost any given situation and helping him in the everyday tasks, that
he could no longer do on his own; just as any true friend would. Dunstable
believes that, if it were not for their friendship, he would not have healed so
quickly. Dunstable is reborn in the sense, that even after all the hardship he
gone through he still has someone to look upon as a true friend who treats and
respects him no differently, then any other.

A women in relation to a child or children to whom she has given continuous
care and birth is known as a mother. Diana’s demonstrates this quality of
motherhood when Dunstable says, “She regarded me as her own creation…she fed
me…washed me…and lured me back into this world when I was far away. Didn’t
she teach me to walk…showing the greatest patience when I was most clumsy? Was
she not anxious to retrain me about my habits of eating and behavior?…she was
too much of a mother to me…”

(p. 88) The figure of the mother play’s an integral part of the rebirth
portrayed in Dunstables life, after the war. Diana teaches and provides the
early life lessons and nurturing love to Dubstable. Clearly, Dunstable tells us
that Diana portrays all the behavioral qualities, which define a mother.

By simple definition, one who feels sexual love for another is described as a
lover. Dunstable proclaims his the sexual love towards Diana, when he say’s,
“Thus we became lovers in the fullest sense, and for me the experience was an
important step towards manhood, which had been thrust upon me so one –sidedly
in the trenches.” (p. 85) Dunstable makes love for the first time with Diana
Marfleet. He acknowledges this experience of sexual intercourse as an maturing
factor and an important step towards his manhood.

Clearly, one can perceive that Diana plays a fundamental part in the rebirth
of Dunstable, by taking the role of a friend, mother and lover in his life.
Friendship, family and love are all essential aspects of life that must be
experienced, in order to reach self-fulfillment.

Category: Book Reports