Paul was born prematurely as a result of the snowball hitting his mother Mary’s head. He is a frail child, who at an early age, and under Dunstan’s tutelage, displays a talent for magic tricks. Mr. Dempster believes magic is sacrilegious and will not allow it in the house. Paul eventually runs away from home after being lured into a circus by Le Solitaire, who is an implied pedophile. He becomes a famous magician and illusionist, going by the name of Magnus Eisengrim. He eventually reconnects with Dunstan, whom he hires to write his magic persona’s falsified autobiography. Through Dunstan he meets Boy Staunton again, whom he kills after learning that Boy threw the snowball that hit his mother and doesn’t remember the incident at all, leaving the stone hidden in the snowball that struck his mother in Boy’s mouth.
Paul Dempster Quotes in Fifth Business
The Fifth Business quotes below are all either spoken by Paul Dempster or refer to Paul Dempster. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Fifth Business published in 2001.).
Paul Dempster Character Timeline in Fifth Business
The timeline below shows where the character Paul Dempster appears in Fifth Business. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: “Mrs. Dempster”
...Mrs. Ramsay agrees with the townspeople that Mrs. Dempster has become even more inappropriate after Paul’s birth, going so far as to breastfeed him in front of Mr. Dempster and houseguests.... (full context)
...“gifts” of wilted garden vegetables to her neighbors—Mrs. Ramsay always accepts kindly. Dunny only sees Paul once, and he runs away crying. Dunny cannot see Mrs. Dempster or think of Paul... (full context)
Part 2: “I Am Born Again”
Part 3: “My Fool-Saint”
...visit of a circus. Dunstan recognizes the man performing card tricks in the circus as Paul Dempster. Dunstan recognizes his dexterous hands immediately. After the show, he approaches Paul, who has... (full context)
Part 5: “Liesl”
Part 6: “The Soirée of Illusions”
...so lead him to make an impulsive decision—he tells Mrs. Dempster that he has found Paul. However, this news pushes her deeper into insanity—she does not understand why Paul is not... (full context)