Fifth Business

Mr. Dempster is a devout Baptist preacher, husband to Mary and father to Paul. He is considered by many to be religiously devoted to a fault, possessing no judgment of his own and deferring always to God. In many ways his religious convictions and arguably good intentions nevertheless lead him to treat his family poorly, preventing Paul from practicing magic and restraining Mary in the house with a rope and harness after she betrays him by sleeping with the tramp. He eventually dies during the influenza epidemic of 1918.
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Mr. Amasa Dempster Character Timeline in Fifth Business

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Amasa Dempster appears in Fifth Business. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: “Mrs. Dempster”
Guilt and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
...senses that Percy is about to throw a snowball, and he steps in front of Mr. and Mrs. Dempster , imagining Percy will not throw if there is a chance he might accidentally hit... (full context)
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Mr. Dempster asks Dunny for help and he agrees. Mrs. Dempster is put on the sled and... (full context)
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The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
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...go over and see if she can help. Dunny recognizes this as a curious decision— Mr. Dempster is the Baptist minister in this small Canadian town of Deptford, and the Ramsay are... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
...Paul is born roughly 80 days premature, and when he is born, small and weak, Mr. Dempster wants to dip him in water to baptize him. Mrs. Ramsay and Dr. McCausland forbid... (full context)
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...Mrs. Ramsay do everything to keep Paul healthy, keeping him warm and feeding him while Mr. Dempster prays over his barely conscious wife as though she is about to die. He also... (full context)
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The Ramsay’s house becomes disheveled and disorganized as Mrs. Ramsay spends long days at the Dempsters, but Mr. Ramsay thinks his wife is a wonderful woman, and would never “do anything... (full context)
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...when she was meant to be the shy and modest wife of a preacher. And Mr. Dempster was far too fond of her, helping her too willingly and sometimes even taking chores... (full context)
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...more inappropriate after Paul’s birth, going so far as to breastfeed him in front of Mr. Dempster and houseguests. Though they agree she is a good mother, they think she does not... (full context)
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...it is unnecessary or inappropriate. While the rest of town becomes increasingly off-put by the Dempsters, Mrs. Ramsay’s compassion does not waver, and the Ramsays take care of the Dempsters in... (full context)
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6. Dunny faces some social rejection due to his time spent with the Dempsters, but he has a quick wit and a way with words, and is able to... (full context)
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9. Dunny’s hatred is reserved for Mr. Dempster, whose first name is Amasa. Mr. Dempster’s devout religiosity is something Dunny and others find strange and out of place.... (full context)
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...his house by teaching Paul “gambling tricks” and making him into a cheat. What’s more, Amasa has heard that Dunny has been telling Paul stories about saints (about which Dunny has... (full context)
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...be entertaining diversions, compelling and amusing, not unlike Arabian Nights. He is also hurt that Mr. Dempster reduced magic to mere gambling and cheating. (full context)
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Dunny does not see much of the Dempsters after this. Every once in a while, he will see Mr. Dempster, looking more and... (full context)
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Someone points a pistol at the tramp and Amasa Dempster appears. He asks his wife, “‘Mary, what made you do it?’” Her simple answer... (full context)
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11. Mr. Dempster decides not to press charges against the tramp, who is driven out of town and... (full context)
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...voice can be heard shouting for Mary to come outside. Dunstan wishes he could say Amasa Dempster came outside and faced them, but he can say no such thing. (full context)
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Mr. Dempster gets a new job as a bookkeeper at the sawmill. It is rumored that he... (full context)
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...then warms to him and they talk eagerly—she knows nothing about the outside world because Amasa does not have a paper delivered. Dunny goes over a few times a week and... (full context)
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...Rather, it seems to be a religious wisdom—but not religion as her husband understands it. Mr. Dempster sees religion as a thing to be imposed on others, where Mrs. Dempster seems to... (full context)
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The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
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...Mrs. Dempster is in the Ramsay’s house, and when Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay get home Amasa is with them. Amasa takes Mary home and Dunny’s parents grill him about why he... (full context)
Part 2: “I Am Born Again”
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...until her husband died, and then she seemed to give up. He also says that Amasa Dempster had died of the flu, but that Mary had survived. However Paul had run... (full context)
Part 3: “My Fool-Saint”
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...Deptford, only that she had been tied up and that Paul had disappeared. She remembers Amasa praying to God about Mary ruining his life—she remembers that Amasa died praying. (full context)
Part 5: “Liesl”
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...is not in the least bit fond of her. He tells her everything about the Dempsters, about the miracles, and about Paul’s childhood. He begs of her the next day to... (full context)