Text Analysis “Doctor in the House” (Richard Gordon) 1. The author of the story is Richard Gordon. It is the pen name used by Gordon Ostlere (born Gordon Stanley Ostlere on 15 September 1921), an English surgeon and anesthetist. As Richard Gordon, Ostlere has written numerous novels, screenplays for film and television and accounts of popular history, mostly dealing with the practice of medicine. He is most famous for a long series of comic novels on a medical theme starting with Doctor in the House, and the subsequent film, television, radio and stage adaptations.
His The Alarming History of Medicine was published in 1993, and he followed this with The Alarming History of Sex. 2. The literary piece under consideration is fiction, prose fiction, short story. 3. Setting of the story. Geographical location – England, London ( the events take place in St, Swithin’s hospital which is historically located in England, London); Time – the late 1940s Social environment – middle class, students. Atmosphere – tense, psychologically difficult. 4. Theme of the story – examination period as a driving force for a psychological and emotional students’ tension. 5.
Point of view – the 1st person point of view (“I walked down the stairs feeling as if I had just finished an eight-round fight…” or “I stood before table four. I didn’t recognize the examiners. ”) 6. The composition: Character sketch 7. 1. Richard Gordon is the main character of the story. He plays the central role in the story so we may call him a protagonist. I consider him to be a flat (simple) character, because Richard has only several personal traits. The author characterizes Richard both directly and indirectly. He is a static, because Gordon remains the same throughout the story. Direct presentation:
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Richard Gordon was born in 1921. He has been an anesthetist at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, a ship’s surgeon and an assistant editor of the British Medical Journal. He left medical practice in 1952 and started writing. Indirect presentation: * Hard-working student. Example: Benskin discovered that Malcolm Maxworth was the St. Swithin’s representative on the examining Committee and thenceforward we attended all his ward rounds, standing at the front and gazing at him like impressionable music enthusiasts at the solo violinist. * Intelligent. Example: “How would you treat a case of tetanus? ” My heart leaped hopefully.
This was smth I knew, as there had recently been a case at St. Swithin’s. I started off confidentially, reeling out the lines of treatment and feeling much better. “Pass” he murmured. * Careful, attentive, observant. Example: There were six other candidates waiting to go in with me, who illustrated the types fairly commonly seen in viva waiting-rooms. There was the Nonchalant…Next to him a man of Frankly Worried class…There was the Crammer, the Old Stager. The other occupant of the room was a woman…But the girl had given care to her preparations for the examination…I felt sure she would get through.
About half-way through the anonymous examinees began to differentiate themselves. Some of them strode up for an extra answer book, with an awkward expression of self-consciousness and superiority on their faces. Others rose to their feet, handed in there papers and left… * Impressionable. Example: The days after the viva were black ones. It was like having a severe accident. For the first few hours I was numbed, unable to realize what had hit me. Then I began to wonder if I would ever make a recovery and win through. My palms were as wet as sponges.
My pulse shot in my ears. My face was burning hot and I felt my stomach had been suddenly plucked from mu body. The world stood still. The traffic stopped, the plants ceased growing, men were paralyzed, the clouds hung in the air, the winds dropped, the tides disappeared, the sun halted in the sky. 7. 2. The plot of the story. The composition of this text consists of the following components: The exposition contains the general information about students’ attitude to the final examinations and the way of preparation for this important event..
Narration, when the author describes passing the examinations, written paper and viva, candidates’ excitement and suspense of the results. The tension reaches its highest degree when poor Gordon almost believes in his fail. And the climax, when the Author describes how the Secretary of the Committee calls out Gordon’s name, because in that moment we become interested in his results, does he pass or fail. The author deliberately postpones the denouement keeping the reader in pressing anticipation. It comes in the last paragraph, when he hears the magic word “Pass”. 7. 3.
The type of speech. It is the narration ( “I walked down the stairs feeling as if I had just finished an eight-round fight…” or “I stood before table four. I didn’t recognize the examiners. ”) with elements of dialogue ( ““How did you get on? ” I asked. “So-so” he replied. “However, I’m not worried. They never read…”) and a great number of descriptive passages (“The examination began with the writing papers. A single invigilator sat in his gown and hood on a raised platform to keep an eye open for flagrant cheating. He was helped by two or three uniformed porters…” or “One minute to twelve.
The room had suddenly come to a frightening, unexpected silence and stillness, like unexploded bomb. A clock tingled…”). 7. Stylistic devices. * Similes - “To a medical student the final examinations are something like death”; “I was shown to a tiny waiting-room furnished with hard chairs, a wooden table, and windows that wouldn't open, like the condemned cell. ”;“The days after the viva were black ones. It was like having a severe accident. ”;“The room had suddenly come to a frightening, unexpected silence and stillness, like an unexploded bomb. ; “they are a straight contest between himself and the examiners, conducted on well-established rules for both, and he goes at them like a prize-fighter”; “Benskin discovered that Malcolm Maxworth was the St. Swithin's representative on the examining Committee and thenceforward we attended all his ward rounds, standing at the front and gazing at him like impressionable music enthusiasts at the solo violinist”; * Allusion – Bible’s judgment day * Hyperboles - ” But the viva is judgment day. A false answer and the od's brow threatens like imminent thunderstorm. ” * Repetition of sound [s] -” The room had suddenly come to a frightening, unexpected silence and stillness, like an unexploded bomb. A clock tingled twelve in the distance. My palms were as wet as sponges. Someone coughed, and I expected the windows to rattle. With slow scraping feet that could be heard before they appeared the Secretary and the porters came solemnly down the stairs. The elder porter raised his voice. ” * Parallels constructions - “The world stood still.
The traffic stopped, the plants ceased growing, men were paralyzed, the clouds hung in the air, the winds dropped, the tides disappeared, the sun halted in the sky. ” * Metaphor – “judgment day”; “slink miserably out of the exit to seek the opiate oblivion”; * Exaggeration – “My palms were as wet as sponges… The windows were rattling… My pulse shot in my ears… The world stood still”. 8. The main idea of the text is that the examination is nothing more than an investigation of man’s knowledge. The idea: the final examinations are reason for a great psychological pressure and a real challenge for the students.
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