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Existentialism In 'the Country Doctor' Essay

1084 words - 5 pages

Existentialism in ‘A Country Doctor’

In “A Country Doctor”, several principles of existentialism are demonstrated via changes that takes place in doctor, the main character. Being an anti-existential character, the doctor has no control upon the situations that he is in. Even when he is given the opportunity to choose, he selects to fulfill the expectation his community has upon him then doing what he truly feels needs to be accomplished. However, a gradual transition takes place as he is faced with a number of absurd situations. Anxiety dominates him as things become unmanageable. Subsequently, notion of selfish human nature disgusts him which causes him to feel alienated from the entire ...view middle of the document...

This frustrates the main character to the extent where he cannot properly examine the patient. Further absurdities ensue as choir sings a song of his insignificance as a human being and people lay him in bed with the patient whose illness he cannot cure. And how is it that he happens to have a patient in such horrid weather right after his horse died? Endless continuation of the absurd events over which he has no control causes him to be upset. In the end, he finally makes a choice by running away- a shift toward existentialism. As shown, strange events that consist the plot reveals absurdity and the importance of having control of one’s life.
One of the characteristics of the main character that hints of existentialism is anxiety. The first indications of such disposition are the short sentences that consist the beginning of the story. This denotes his frustration at the difficult situation that he is in. Also, he feels powerless and dejected as revealed in the sentence “but it was hopeless, I knew it, and stood there forlornly. Of course, who would lend a horse to such a journey?” Even when he arrives at the patient’s house, his negative feelings do not disappear. He behaves passively as if he does not want to be there. For example, he permits the patient “to take my fur coat from me,” and he “yields and drinks from the rum he has been given.” Furthermore, he constantly worries about Rose and notices little details such as horses putting their heads in and out through the window. Due to such distractions clouding his mind, he is unable to check his patient properly. He first decides that the patient is fine as shown in the statement “what I already knew, the boy was quite sound.” As a matter of fact, the invalid is well beyond aids. And this is when he commences to question himself. Why is he doing this? What is the point of him trying so hard to have control over matters that keep on slipping through his fingers? Who is he doing this for? He realizes that he does not want to dwell in such situation and ends up running away. As indicated, the uncertainty, helplessness, and anxiety that is brought upon the main character by the absurd situation...

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