A Country Doctor Franz Kafka is a man of an entirely different nature. A “schizoid” to the world yet a genius to the written word. His stories are macabre and exotic tales of existential value Modernism and magical realism. One tale in particular that haunts my mind and torments my soul after each reading is that of The Country Doctor. The Country Doctor is a tale of a doctor trying to reach an ill fated patient in the dead of winter.
With his horse dead, his servant, Rosa, rushes to find him one. They find luck in an animalistic groom who wishes to give the doctor his two strange and demonic like horses, in exchange for Rosa.
The Doctor, full well knowing that this brute wishes to take sexual liberties with his servant girl, attempts to force the man along on his journey. Unable to make the man accompany him his horses race off into the snow and tot he ill patients home.
Once the doctor finds that he cannot cure the poor boy, the family strips him of his clothes and places him in bed with the child. A disturbing song is then sung by children sealing the fate of the doctor. If he doesnt cure the boy he must be killed. The doctor finds an escape and rides to Rosa’s rescue. Only this time the eerily fast speed of the horses has not slowed to almost nothing.
He finds that he cannot save his poor Rosa and comes to the realization that he has been betrayed.
This beginning scene gives us the Doctor’s point of view as the narrative and the sexual, somewhat Freudian nature of Kafka’s writing style. According to Dr. Grey in his German 390 course at Washington University, “Like Freud’s “Dream of Irma’s Injection,” Kafka’s “A Country Doctor” can be read as a wish-fulfillment fantasy motivated by self-exculpation. The Country Doctor as narrator constantly places blame for his failure on others: on the lack of horses, on the Groom, on the villagers, on the Boy, etc.
His narrative attitude is one of: “If I have failed, it’s not my fault, but rather the fault of these other people. I’ve done my best, indeed, all that is humanly possible, but these others are the cause of my failure. If the Boy is not cured, I’m not to blame. If Rose is raped, I’m not at fault. ” Etc. Thus the tone of the narrator is defensive. ” A Country Doctor is a genius piece that is a psychological and a physical nightmare. Throughout the story I found myself confused and disturbed by the images portrayed by his words. I had great sympathy for Rosa alone. The Doctor was a selfish man who, like Dr.
Grey stated, blamed all his faults on others. The pitiful boy and his strange family only made me wish he could find death. Many of the doctor’s decisions were unnecessary. Riding the horses naked, not saving Rosa, reaching his own coat, all of these simple tasks could have been done but he seemed just lazy. Kafka’s writing style and use of imagery made me a fan of his work and caused me to really think about the plight of the doctor and discern between what was real and unreal, what was moral and immoral, and how the hell the boy received that god awful wound.