Themes in the story A Country Doctor by Franz Kakas
“A Country Doctor” is a story whereby the main character is overwhelmed by several unending challenges and frustrations which indeed are a nightmare. This essay will endeavor to highlight some of these challenges plus the reciprocal frustrations as well as the themes forwarded by Franz Kakas in the story in order to qualify the story as a nightmare.
The prevailing weather condition is the first challenge that the doctor faces. The doctor has to go to see the patient only after going through a severe snow storm that does not die down until the doctor arrives at the patient’s home. This harsh weather causes the death of the doctor’s horse leaving the doctor handicapped with regard to his transport towards his destination. Moreover, at the end of the story as the doctor sets on his return journey, he is unable to get to his destination since he is slowed down by the snowy desert adding to his frustrations with the weather. The doctor kicks his foot against the pigsty to show his frustrations with the weather.
The doctor is unable to get transportation to his patient since his horse had died. This is another challenge that frustrates him immensely. Although he has enough carriage no one in his locality wishes to lend him a horse. The doctor therefore seems betrayed by his neighbors who are seemingly naive of his predicament. The doctor is perplexed with the apparent situation since he has dedicated his life to serve the very people who refuse to facilitate his noble work at the time he needs their support the most. This action by the local residents advances the theme of betrayal since they betray their loyalty to the doctor by acting indifferent at the time of his dire need.
Thirdly, the doctor faces a dilemma on how to deal with the groom. The doctor is torn between his expected duty of saving the critically ill patient or protecting his house help Rosa from the ill intentioned groom. Finally, he decides to go and save the patient after the groom sends him off. However, the doctor is frustrated since his thoughts go back to Rosa in the entire story since he feels that she is in danger being at the mercy of the malicious groom. The theme of opportunism is advanced by the actions of the groom in the story. The groom takes advantage of the situation to favor himself at the expense of the doctor. He steals two horses from the pigsty when the doctor desperately needs one and only allows the doctor to use the horses for the journey so that he can remain behind with Rosa. The doctor loves and cares for Rosa but has no other alternative but to leave her at the mercy of the ill –intentioned groom in order to receive the two horses.
The doctor is faced with the challenge of the seriousness of the disease affecting the patient. He is at a predicament since the patient has no faith about getting well and the doctor feels that the patient might be feigning sickness only to get attention from the public.
A Country Doctor” by Franz Kafka can be said to be a nightmare. A nightmare is known to be a situation of anxiety and torment to a sleeper who is disturbed by overwhelming emotional strain. The sleeper is left confused with no apparent solution to the emotionally disturbing experience even after waking up. In this story where horses with long legs crawl out of the pigsty hence a dream world, we see the doctor being stressed to the extent of him kicking the pigsty since he is at a loss as to how to travel to his patient.
There is evidence of the story being a nightmare as seen from the distinction between the doctors in the story from the doctors of the real world. The doctor here claims that the patient is pretending to be sick in order to receive public attention after he briefly examines the patient briefly. This statement is rather absurd since the doctor had gone through a lot of trouble to reach the patient and would not be expected to dismiss the sickness as simple as he did. Indeed his action was queer and is not a manifestation of the doctors in the real world who act to the contrary.
Blaming is another well advanced theme. The blame game is systematically and critically advanced by the doctor who blames other people for his failures and finds excuses for every ugly situation he encounter through changing the focus of the subject at hand and bringing confusing issues. He does not at o his inadequacies but loves blaming others for the same. First he claims lack of a horse has hindered him from traveling to his patient. After getting the means and arrives at his destination, he finds the patient is seriously indisposed because of the seriousness of the disease but runs away from the reality by claiming that the patient is feigning sickness (Kakas,1985). The doctor is unable to get help from his neighbors when he needs a horse because he des not relate well with his neighbors. He laments that society expects much from him but fails to contribute to his success hence are ungrateful people. He even blames his failures to his ‘predecessor’ claiming that he is robbing him of his profession.
Kakas, Franz. “A Country Doctor”. New York. Macmillan Publishers, 1985.