The story "A Country Doctor" by Franz Kafka is about a doctor who is employed by the district but poorly paid. He does his duty as a doctor to the fullest. As the story unfolds we find that an urgent journey is awaiting him to a village ten miles away where there is a seriously ill man. The doctor is determined in doing his job to help the poor, although there is a severe snowstorm he overlooks the bad weather and through all the difficulties he faces, he offers himself to attend to the ill man. It is clear from the story that he faces some challenges and frustrations in undertaking his mission.
The first challenge that the doctor faces is the unfriendly weather. There is a snow storm which brings great difficulties for him as it is accompanied by icy winter. This makes his own horse to die and consequently, he has to travel through harsh storm conditions which persist till he reaches the patients farm to attend to him. His return journey is not simple either as he gets "dragged slowly through the snowy desert" showing that it's full of hustle.
The second challenge is the groom who is a stranger and he is just helping the doctor out of his own free will when the society has abandoned him at the time of need, but he turns to have strings attached. The groom wants the doctor to give him Rosa, the servant girl, as the price of the journey. He becomes too frustrated to give up the journey however how demanding it is since he loves the girl. At the deathbed of the ill man he still thinks of Rosa and how he can save her.
The means of transport to the patient's farm is a major challenge as well. His only horse that he could have used died the previous night. He gets frustrated when he tries to borrow one from the neighbors but no one was willing to help him. When the servant girl comes back without, he says 'distracted and tormented, I kicked my foot against the cracked door of the pigsty' showing how frustrated he was.
Another challenge is the societal belief he finds at the place of the patient. They believed that the patient could only be healed after the doctor is stripped off his clothes. The frustration that faces him is that the people threaten to kill him if the man does not heal. He therefore has to find a way to escape the tragedy though his mission was to help.
This story is a nightmare since it is a kind of a dream which is failed and it does not offer solutions to the person who is being tormented by it. When the doctor kicks the pigsty anxiously to find a horse and later on a horse with long legs crawl out is evidence enough of actions taking place in the dream world through fantasy. This cannot happen in real world since horses do not stay in pigsty. A groom who is a stranger is with the horses, he seems to know the problems of the doctor as he offers them in free will. The doctor kicks the cracked door of the pigsty hoping to find horses when he says "a warmth and smell as from horses came out".
The doctor struggles to get horses to go and attend to the patient, but on arrival everybody is expecting him as a saviour. He does not react as a real doctor as he thinks that the man is feigning sickness. He briefly examines him and tells the family he is okay. On leaving he sees a wound on the hip of the man which he refers to as a flowery wound. This doctor is not serious like the real doctor; he could react by dressing up the wound and giving medication.
It's also evident that the story is a nightmare as the society wants the doctor to be taken off his clothes and the man will heal. This cannot happen in real world since taking off the clothes has nothing to do with the healing of the patient.
This story has several themes explored in it. One theme we find is betrayal. The society betrays their own doctor whom they rely on when they are sick. The doctor is lacking a means of transport for the journey but when his servant girl goes to the village to borrow a horse, she comes back alone. Since she went to borrow a horse it means that the only means of transport available is horses and that she was sure of getting one but no one was ready to assist however how important it was.
School children with their teacher are singing songs to frustrate the doctor, he takes it easy when he is stripped off his clothes, he just looks at the people quietly while he is being dragged into the room. The patient is also against the doctor for he tells him that he is giving him less attention on his death bed. He threatens to scratch his eyes out despite the struggle the doctor underwent in attempt to come and save the man.
Another theme depicted is superstition. First we see the doctor going to the pigsty and find a horse with a groom. We know that pigs do stay in a pigsty but not horses. Also, the people remove the doctor's clothes believing that the man will heal and if he does not heal the doctor should be killed. They drag and lay him at the side of the wound and shut the door expecting miracles.
The sick man says he came to the world with a beautiful wound that's all he was furnished with. This is a belief as it means that the man was born with the wound and probably to heal it a certain sacrifice must be made in that case the doctor was to be the sacrifice.
Bancroft, Lund. Why Does He Do That? Berkley Books, 2003. Print
Shulman, Sandra. Nightmare. London: Macmillan. 1979. Print
Wheeler, Edward. Current Literature. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.1997. Print