A Country Doctor by Sarah Orne Jewett

1515 WordsFeb 26, 20186 Pages
Who has the right to determine any individual’s future? This is often the subject of debate and is subjected to the prejudices of social norms. The protagonist in Sarah Orne Jewett’s A Country Doctor, Nan Prince, fights against these prejudices pertaining to the expected role of women in society1 with a calm and dignified demeanor. In Nan’s pursuit of her career as a doctor, she encounters reasons for and against her decision from her personal history, religion, and the portrayal of her career and friends, but she overcomes all opinions and demonstrates the independence of women in society. Nan’s instinct against submission to the male dominated society portrays itself early in her life, demonstrating the extent to which it is ingrained as a part of her being. From her earliest years, the townspeople in Oldfields remark that she is more a child of nature than of proper humanity (Donovan). She even rejects her proper name of Anna and insists on being called “Nan.” This wild childhood is ensured by Dr. Leslie as her legal guardian when he allows her to not go to orthodox schooling but instead, to receive a “Wordsworthian” education by embracing her nature (Nagel). Bestselling author and renowned critic Judith Harper fittingly describes Nan as one who: “is fascinated by nature and outdoor activity but disdains all things domestic,” including the expectation of marriage that she fights so hard against. Despite these early signs, many, including Dr. Ferris, express doubt at her

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