Doctor in the house
Analysis Of The Text «Doctor In The House» By Richard Gordon This text is an extract from the book “Doctor in the house” by Richard Gordon, a famous English writer, who was born in 1921. He has been an anaesthetist 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 his “Doctor” series. “Doctor in the House” is one of Gordon’s twelve “Doctor” books and is noted for witty description of a medical student’s years of professional train¬ing. This text is narration with elements of dialogues.
The style of written prose is formal. Author mainly uses past tenses, but present – in dialogues. In that text Author shows us in detail the process of examination, but tries to show it through different actions and feelings of students during the passing the exams. The main character is medical student R. Gordon. Author tells us about him nothing, because he wants to say that Gordon is an ordinary student. Author uses indirect method of characterization, and we can learn something of him only through his feelings. And we see the exams through his own eyes.
The story is told from first person narration. The composition of this text consists of the following components: exposition, when the author gives the concept of an examination. Narration, when the author describes passing the examinations, written paper and viva, also an interesting story about marking the papers at Cambridge. The tension reaches its highest degree when poor Gordon almost believe 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, do 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”. The main idea of the text is that the examination is nothing more than an investigation of man’s knowledge. We learn about the students well, because the author created true-to-life characters, even more so the Author was passing the examinations himself. The key word is examination, because the action is spanned around it. And he employs a lot of expressive means and stylistic devices to make the story interesting and exciting.
The text is emotionally moving, and some details produce an emotional reaction. There are a lot of epithets, metaphors, similes, hyperboles, metonymies and etc. For example by a simile “the final examinations are something like death” the Author shows condition of a student before an examination, “like a prize-fighter” also shows a contest, then the author compares, using the simile, the students that want to produce a certain impression and looking at professor like the “impressionable music enthusiasts gazing at the solo violinist”.
Medical textbooks compared through metaphor to a “well-trodden paths”. The simile “porters….. like the policemen” shows how severe and threatening they seems , a metaphor “…frustrated brilliance” is about a gone hope of a student. By the syntactic parallelism “The world stood still. The traffic stopped, the plants ceased growing, men were paralysed, the clouds hung in the air, the winds dropped, the tides disappeared, the sun halted in the sky” and the simile “like a man just hit by a blackjack” Author gives a perfect description of Gordon’s condition before and after he finds out his exam results.
The text is full of epithets, that make it more expressive. For example, “Flagrant cheating”, “depressing experience”, and so on. “Silence and stillness (synonyms), like an unexploded bomb(simile)” very exactly depicts the picture of the minute when every student was waiting for his/her marks. And Author gives a chain of synonyms for word “to fail : ”“One comes down, one muffs, one is ploughed, plucked, or pipped”. To make us sure that this exams was really hard Author uses special medical lexis – tetanus. In my opinion, not so many people know what it is and even more how to treat it.
Also there are one idiom judgement day. Author uses it to show how important and, at the same time, very hard to pass the oral examination is. With the help of antonomasia we see their real character – the Nonchalant, the Frankly Worried, the Crammer, the Old Stager. We can easily understand what stands for this nicknames. Also Author tries to make us believe that is story really happened. He uses a lot of places that still exist. For instance, St. Swithin’s Hospital, Old Bailey and Cambridge. And we can be sure that the story takes place in some university in Britain.
The general atmosphere created by the author is mostly bright, amusing, full of irony, but sometimes it is not, especially after the viva . To my mind, this story is very interesting and exciting. Gordon’s wonderful mastery of the language permits him to keep the reader tense till the denouement. In such a little extract of a book he was able to depict the not only the procedure of examination, but also feelings of students. I am student and I know in my own experience that it is really difficult to pass the examination, and Richard Gordon succeed in describing the all little details of this event.