Selzer: Building Vocabulary 1. Japanese: miniature tree or landscape 2. French: a hiding place 3. French: a bastardization of “ quelque chose ” : delicacies, toys, trifles
Selzer:Ideas 1. To assemble more fully evidence about his patient. 2. At first glance he has “ the appearance of vigor and good health ”, but then we see that his skin is sickly brown from his disease, presumably cancer. He says that his eyes are “ looking inward. ” Because in his initial actions he is silent, but then he asks Selzer for the time.
Selzer: Ideas 3. A horrible peacefulness — that is, the disease which will soon lay him to rest. 4. He has “ no get-well cards, small, private caches of food, day-old flowers, slippers, all the usual kick-shaws of the sickroom.
Selzer: Ideas 5. He wants the doctor to bring a pair of shoes. This is a kind of bitter self- mockery because he is legless and on his deathbed. 6. Presumably from frustration, bitterness, to attract attention, and to demonstrate some final potency.
Selzer: Ideas 7. Because she feels he has a nasty temper and he is difficult to care for. 8. He has a kind of wonder and pity about him. Selzer is constantly “ a spy looking for secrets ” from his patients.
Selzer: Techniques 1. A dying man, hopelessly ill, maintains his independency and vibrancy with a repeated gesture of defiance. The thesis is implied. 2. These questions are addressed simultaneously to the reader and to the author himself, so that we may share--
Techniques 2. Or conspire — arriving at a conclusion and feeling. The questions are: A. “ Ought not a doctor … evidence? ” (1) B. “ Is he mute … blind? ” (3) C. “ What is he … blink? ” (19) E. “ Does he … feet? ” (19) F. “ of when … log? ” (19)
Selzer: Techniques 3. (AMV) A. “ And the blue eyes … snowbound cottage. ” (2) )B. “… he remains impressive, … a slanting deck (20)
Selzer: TechniquesTechniques 4. The short sentences focus our attention quickly, sharply, and dramatically. Examples include: A. “ I spy on my patients. ” (1) B. “ This man is blind. ” (2) C. And then he laughs. ” (34) D. “ Nothing. ” (49)
Selzer: Techniques 5. Emotionally, they compound the feeling of the all-pervasiveness of the sickness. Example include: A. “ It is rusted …” (2) B. “ the look of a bonsai … great tree ” (2) C. “ he shakes his head … suffering ” (3) D. “ the black scabs and the dead, glazed fat (19) E. “ A shard of white bone came loose ” (19)
Selzer: Techniques 6. By what they say and the ways in which they speak, we get to understand the patient ’ s bitterness, the doctor ’ s fascination and empathy, and the nurse ’ s cold practicality.
Selzer: Techniques 7. The sick man ’ s irony — or cynicism-is a displaced anger, shame, and bitterness. The man would, in fact, love to be able to “ walk away ” from his condition.
Selzer: Techniques 8. A discus thrower is a fully capable, strong athlete. The title is ironic because the patient throws the plate of food with power, but without any of the results of the athlete.
Selzer: Techniques 9. To create an effect of strangeness, an out-of-the-ordinary environment, and ironically to call attention to the lack of delicacy in the situation.
Selzer: Techniques 10. It ’ s a blessing that he ’ s out of his pain and misery; for the nurse it ’ s also a relief to be rid of this troublesome patient.
Techniques 11. The fact that he is a spy. It is effective because it gives a contained perspective. In the beginning, he spies for evidence about the living and the disease; in the end, he spies on the secrets of death.
Selzer:Techniques 12. (AWV) See IDEAS, answer 6. Rather than analyze the action, Selzer prefers that it stand as a symbolic gesture.