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The story of a country doctor is a narration of a series of unfortunate events that face a certain doctor. In his quest to fulfill his duty as a doctor, he has to attend to all his patients irrespective of any challenges he is faced with. In this particular moment, he has to urgently attend to a sick patient. However, he is confronted by very many challenges in his duty as a doctor and as a human being. Worse still, each of the challenges that confront him is accompanied by a frustration of its own kind. The whole event hence appears as a nightmare for the doctor. he narration is hence aimed at exploring some given themes, including the theme of humanity, dutifulness and responsibility.
Many challenges confront the doctor in the story. Accompanying each of the challenges is a frustration, a thing that makes the whole story a real nightmare. The first challenge that faced the doctor was the distance between him and the adverse and difficult weather that was present at the moment. The patient was ten miles away, and the entire distance between them was covered by a severe snow that was increasing rapidly. The snow and adversely cold weather had resulted to the death of his horse the previous night, which he used for transporting himself and his tools to and from his patients' residences. Now, it is clear that no one is willing to lend him a horse for such a long journey in such a cold weather. With this challenge, the doctor is faced by a frustration since everyone in the whole village refuses to lend him a horse for the journey. He is therefore stuck, with no means of transport to the patient. (Kafka)
The doctor is also faced with the challenge of dealing with a strange groom, who first appears to be very good and harmless as he willingly helps him while all the other people in the village refuse to give him a horse to ride on in his journey. The groom even offers to mount the carriage on his two very powerful and healthy horses. However, the groom turns out to be very mean and self-centered as seeks for a chance to exploit the doctor's maid sexually against her will and the will of her master. The main challenge for the doctor is that he is not able to stand up and defend her against the groom since he considers him of great help in such a time. Though he knows the maid is in great trouble, he does nothing, considering how generous the groom has been to him. The doctor is faced with a frustration after undergoing this challenge. The doctor realizes that he offers his maid as a price, against his will, for the help he is accorded by the groom. He puts his maid in danger and subjects her to exploitation against her will just for the two horses he gets from the groom, a thing he feels so guilty about. (Johnston)
The doctor is then faced with the challenge of dealing with a family that calls him urgently to attend to their son, who he actually deems as healthy only to realize a very bad wound on his side. The wound is very bad and the doctor is not sure of what to do, even as the young patient requests him to just leave him alone so he may just die. The country0020doctor is then frustrated when he realizes that his patient was actually sick, after he had first thought him to be healthy. He is actually confused as he doesn't know what to do about the large wound on the side of the patient, since it is so great and disturbingly in bad shape. (Guth)
The doctor is finally faced with the challenge of a society that expects him to do everything, even if it is apparently impossible. At this moment, he is expected to heal the young man or face death, yet he is hopeless as he is not sure he can meet the expectations of his society. The doctor is hence frustrated when he is unable to treat the patient, against the expectations of his society. Instead of attempting to treat the patient, he opts to escape from the multitude after they threaten him with death and he feels so lost, empty and betrayed. He has lost everything he had and looked up to, including his horse, maid and career as a doctor, and lastly his society. (Louis)
The whole story may be looked at as a nightmare since it is a narration of many unfortunate events that happen to the doctor. In a span of a of one day, he loses his horse, is faced with a situation of an emergency and has to attend to a patient a long distance away, the weather is very bad as it is snowing heavily, he puts his maid in danger just to be accorded help by a strange groom and then he is unable to treat the patient. The doctor ends up losing everything that mattered to him including his horse, maid, career and reputation as a doctor. He is only faced with many frustrations that lender him a looser at the end of the day. These are hence events that turn his life around, and actually appear as a nightmare. (Guth)
The theme of inhumanity is reflected where the doctor trades his maid for horses and also by the groom, the patient's family and the society as they declare death on the doctor. The doctor is also dutiful, as he attends to all patients irrespective of the sacrifice he has to make. The doctor, groom, patient's family and the society also portray the theme of irresponsibility and opportunism as they neglect their responsibilities in different ways and take advantage of their situations and available chances to act. (Johnston)