“A Country Doctor” is a narration in which the main character, Franz (the country doctor), faces a number challenges and frustrations some of which are beyond his control. In the whole tale, Franz’s Kafka is troubled by proceedings that are beyond his control. The surreal unfolding of the story by Kafka gives it a nightmarish eminence that is manifested at the commencement when “two horses crawl out of the pigsty” (Corder 26). The story “A Country Doctor” puts across a number of themes.
The first defy that the doctor faces is that he has to attend to a patient so as to obtain transport for the reason that his personal horse died the preceding night. As the story unfolds, no one is eager to let him use his horse for such a trip and this makes him think very much. By saying “distracted and tormented, I kicked my foot against the cracked door of the pig sty” (Corder 29) Franz informs us that the doctor felt frustrated and betrayed by the society he is committed to serve, a society which should be willing to give him a helping hand.
The second challenge the doctor is faced with is to surmount the stern weather. The doctor arrives to the patients’ farm after traveling through a storm of snow to attend him. As a result of the stern winter conditions, the doctors’ horse dies. As the story nears the conclusion, consequently the doctor doesn’t arrive at his destination after having been dragged all the way through the snowy desert.
The third challenge the doctor faces is that of urgent journey that he has to make across the country to respond to a call to see a very sick man several miles away. His efforts are frustrated because he has no means of travel. He does not know how to travel although he has a very suitable carriage for the journey, he is dressed up warmly for the weather, and he has his medicine bag. He has no horse to pull his carriage. He has sent his girl savant to try to borrow a horse from the village but she comes back empty handed because no one wants to expose his horse to such bad weather conditions as are prevailing at that time (Corder 22).
The grooms’ issue posses the fourth challenge to the doctor. The doctor finds if difficult to deal with the groom. He is in a dilemma of whether to attend to his ailing patient or protecting Rosa, his house help, from the ill intentioned groom. Throughout the story he is tormented by thoughts of Rosa being exposed to danger after deciding to save his patient.
Franz’s story is a nightmare because the doctor differs from the other normal doctors in the bona fide world. Against the pragmatic society prospect, the story doesn’t present anything of a country doctor. After briefly examining his patient the doctor comes to a conclusion that the patient has feigned illness so as to get community’s attention. “A nightmare is an experience or event that is intensely distressing and may cause fear” (Mifflin) hence the classification of Franz Kafka’s “A Country Doctor” as one. This is proved when he kicks the pigsty and admits that he doesn’t know what to do to get to his patient. The doctor fantasizes horses with long legs crawl out of pigsty. This is a clear diverge from the real world where the same may be vied as abstract.
A major theme realized and brought out clearly in the story is placing blame on other people. The doctor place blame on others for his inadequacies. He blames his lack of a horse for inability to get to his patient. After getting to the patients home, he is brazed out by the genuineness of the patient’s illness but still blames the patient for lack of confidence besides believing that he is feigning illness. The doctors’ failure to get a horse from the neighbors can be owing to his poor liaison with them, but he insists that they are showing no gratitude and not ready to counter his good deeds to them. He places culpability for his reduced performance in his service to a ‘predecessor’ who is robbing him off his line of work.
The theme of fantasy is also brought out clearly in the story. The unanticipated emergence of the groom manifests this. It is like a leprechaun tale. The sudden grabbing and leaving of teeth marks on Rosa’s cheek gives rise to the question of whether the groom is a vampire. He also breaks down the entrance of the doctor’s quarters as the doctor is being carried away by the horses over which he has no command of. The horses too behave as you wouldn’t expect, stopping on their own when they get to the house of the ailing man; waits for the doctor and then takes him away again, when he escapes from the bed of the sick man. There is also the size of the worms in the lesion at the side of the ailing man. These are themes that are seen as fantasy. There is also the place where the doctor is stripped naked and thrown into bed with the sick man. This is a flight of the imagination because it cannot come about in the daily practice of a doctor’s life.
Lastly, the theme that is also explored in the story is opportunism. “Opportunism is the actions of someone who takes every opportunity to gain an advantage and is willing to behave in unfair way” (Mangat 889). The groom in the story appears with two horses at the time when the doctor is in dire need for one to enable him travel to his patient’s home. He grabs the chance to have Rosa for himself by allowing the doctor to use his horses for the journey. The doctor loves and takes is concerned about Rosa; nevertheless he has no option but to leave her in the hands of the cruel groom in substitute for the two horses. The doctor leaves for the patient’s farm signifying that the journey is unavoidable. The groom realizes this opportunity when the doctor says “or I’ll give up the journey, no matter how urgent it is,” (Corder 33).