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A Summary Of A Country Doctor

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1717 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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This story is about a country doctor who experiences so many hardships in a time no one in his village is willing to help him in any manner. In the book, A Country Doctor, by Franz Kafka, the doctor experienced so many challenges, all of which came at an impulse. They all happened with little expectation of the doctor’s knowledge. As if that was not enough every challenge was accompanied by frustrations and this only confirmed his worst fears. It all began one evening when he had an urgent journey facing him. The journey was ten miles away and a severe snowstorm had filled the space between him and the patient he was to attend to. Unlucky enough he got out of his house only to remember that his horse had died the previous night. The horse’s death came as a result of over exertion in the icy winter. The only thing he had remained with is his carriage and nothing more, he stood at the courtyard ready to leave only to discover that his horse had died the previous night due to overexertion in the icy winter. His servant girl opted to go round to look for a horse from the neighbors for her master, since he was left with little hope. In as much as the servant girl went to look for a horse for her master, the doctor knew it would be very difficult for anyone to lend out his horse for such a journey, more so during the winter! He felt forlorned on noticing that his servant girl could not be assisted in any way after running up and down in the whole village looking for a horse for him. By the look of things there was no one who was going to lend out his horse in that icy winter. During such a season it was very difficult for one to lend out his horse due to cold. The doctor felt tormented on realizing that he couldn’t get help. This was the first challenge the doctor underwent and it is from here that we saw how frustrated the doctor was because he did not get anyone in his own village to assist him with a horse!

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As if that frustration was not enough, he kicked the door of his pig sty with his foot. The door opened and out came a smell and heat, the smell was like that from horse, from inside the sty, out came a man, crawling on all fours and behind him, two powerful horses with strong flanks pave their way out of the sty .The horses were huge and looked energetic in the manner in which they walked out of the sty one after another. On seeing the groom, the doctor knew that this was his only chance to get the assistance he needed for his journey. After the doctor finished explaining his problem to him, the groom offered to lend him his horses but unfortunately, he doesn’t want to go with him even after the doctor told him to do so. The groom went ahead to kiss the doctor’s servant hard on her cheek to justify his stay with the servant girl, when she was asked to offer him a hand…help him…the doctor asked his servant. The groom surely did this knowing very well that the doctor was in dire need of the horses and he was out of choice. The groom grabbed her and forcefully kissed her Rosa was beside him. Rosa was hurt and she screamed out loud and ran over towards the doctor as if for help. When the doctor looked at the girl’s cheeks he noticed that there were marks of teeth deep in the girl’s skin. This frustrated the doctor very much…You brute … do you want the whip? Nevertheless when the doctor asked the groom if they are to go together, he declined. He gave an excuse that he will remain behind with Rosa; the doctor’s servant…of course… is not going with you. Am staying with Rosa…This was a challenge to the doctor, how was he to leave his servant girl with whom he has stayed with for years, to a groom he barely knew. It frustrated him even more. The cry of Rosa declining to stay behind with the groom and running into the house locking the doors behind her made the doctor more agitated and then forced the groom to come with him once more…You are coming with me or I won’t proceed to where am supposed to go despite the fact that the journey is urgent because I can’t exchange my servant girl for such a trip. All these are followed by the mocking he receives from the groom telling him to giddy up and clapped his hands. The doctor opted to continue with his journey. On reaching his destination village, he was welcomed by the father, mother and the sister of the patient. The family had very high expectations from the doctor to heal the patient, who was sick beyond recovery…the patient’s father tapped me on my shoulder to assure him that the situation at hand treasure justifies this familiarity…all that time the mother was by the bedside trying to convince the doctor to heal her son. This was a big challenge to the doctor. Despite not being paid well, the frustration is that, he even did not have better equipment to treat his patients such as the stethoscope to measure the patient’s heartbeat…I put one side of my head onto the young man’s chest only to find out that he was wobbling… this confirmed that the doctor didn’t have proper equipments for his job. The issue about not having proper equipment came about due to his low pay even though he was obedient to his job and worked tirelessly to help the poor…badly paid but am generous and ready to help the poor…Last but not least, the country doctor was stripped naked and forced to lie beside his patient who had a very large wound beside him. This affirmed another challenge to the doctor because he least expected this to happen. As if that wasn’t enough, after being forced to lie beside his patient, the villagers together with the patients lock him inside with the patient and he finds it difficult to escape. Furthermore he lies next to the side where the patient’s large wound was. The doctor found himself in a bad situation after everything that had happened to him just before he came to see the patient. The memory of sacrificing Rosa for such a journey tormented him even more. He was stripped his clothes off and forced to sleep beside the patient with everyone having great hopes of the doctor healing him. This forced the doctor to escape through the window naked. He did not have any other option than to escape naked since he saw putting on clothes would waste his time.

The whole day seemed like a nightmare to the doctor. This we could see through the experiences through which the doctor per verses. In the beginning, the doctor had an urgent journey but unfortunately his donkey died the previous night. This is a nightmare to anyone who is in such a situation because he will be so stressed since no one will be willing to help. The urge to sacrifice his only servant girl with whom he had stayed with for years to a groom whom he hardly knew in order to be lent a horse for his journey seemed like a nightmare. This is because, he will not know what the groom would do with his servant and leaving him(groom)behind would make things worse since he was not sure of what he was planning to do in his household. In the world today no one would ever ask you to sleep on the same bed with a patient you are attending to not even a relative can be ask to do so. This is because you are at risk of either being infected with the patient’s disease or another. At the patient’s home the wound with worms coming out, confirms the doctor’s fears. He has been called to cure a patient who was beyond recovery despite the fact he didn’t have proper equipment for the job. As if that wasn’t enough, the doctor is stripped off naked and forced to lie naked next to the sick man’s wound. The idea of escaping even worsens the ordeal for such an old man. Despite the fact that the doctor did not have better tools to confirm the patient’s body temperature, he tried his best by leaning towards the patient and confirmed his heart beat and temperature. This came about due to the doctor being paid less dues for his salary and nothing more. More so being the only doctor in the whole village without any assistant it confirms everyone’s fear as this story should be called a nightmare. This confirms why the story might be called a nightmare.

From the story, the first theme which we can find and is clearer is hardships of a country doctor, throughout the whole story we have seen the challenges and frustrations a country doctor passes through, he is the only doctor the whole village depends on. Another theme that may be depicted in the short story of A Country Doctor by Franz Kafka is sacrifice; this is when the doctor sacrifices his only servant girl for the horses in order to secure his journey…the groom forcefully kissed Rosa immediately he saw that Rosa was beside him. Rosa felt pain on her cheeks and she screamed out loud and paced fast to where the doctor was. The doctor noticed the marks of teeth that were as a result of the kissing of the groom but he does nothing but only threatens him since he knows he is in need of the horses for his journey. After all this, the doctor does nothing to convince the groom to leave his servant girl alone. Also suffering is a theme that was clearly seen in the story. The patient suffered a lot having a wound on the side of his body, what makes it even worse is that worms came from the side of his body and this seemed to assure the doctor that his patient was really sick and had suffered. Perseverance is another theme we saw from the story. The doctor persevered to stay on the same bed with his patient after being stripped off naked and forced to lie next to him…Then I am stripped of my clothes…and I am forced to sleep next to the patient on the side of which the wound was… All the above discussed themes are what we saw from the short story A Country Doctor by Franz Kafka.


“A Country Doctor” (story), a short story written in 1919 by Franz Kafka



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