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Volume 02, Number 2 (1977)

"False as Harlot's Oaths": Dunny Ramsay Looks at Huck Finn

  • Wilfred Cude
May 22, 2008


A comparison of Robertson Davies's character Dunny Ramsay, of Fifth Business, with the protagonist of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn exposes the divide between different generational viewpoints and demonstrates the complementarity of the two works. Each novel delineates an emerging North American society struggling to realize its genuine individuality while encumbered with the trappings of another time and space. Through the use of the Homeric concept of the voyage or quest, the narrators reflect this struggle through their transformation into fugitives whose initial lack of direction becomes focussed by their flight. These manifestations of North American social order, one seen through the eyes of innocence and the other through the eyes of experience, reveal the limitations of these polarized points of view while giving the reader insight into the worlds they present.