Mountains Beyond Mountains, Ch. 1-2

28 08 2010

The beginning of Tracy Kidder’s book is a little thick. I started reading it at eleven o’clock at night, which perhaps was not a great idea…as I was reading it, I found myself thinking: “this is just going to be another biography of some guy’s role model…” and then I started recognizing exactly what I was reading. My eyes stumbled upon a quote in the first chapter of the book: “Does it really matter who’s in power? They’re still gonna have the rich and the poor and no one in between”. And it struck me how true this statement is. When you hold this philosophy up against the situation in places such as Haiti, Pakistan, New Orleans, the gap between the rich and the poor – the people who have the resources to fix a situation and the ones who don’t – is like a ravine. There is a gap, with no bridge in between. So why did this quote stick in my head as I continued to read Kidder’s narrative? Because it seems to me that Dr. Farmer is trying his best to bridge this gap – he is a Harvard educated doctor who could be making all sorts of money; instead, he chooses to use his gifts to try to patch up the world, piece by piece.

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4 responses

29 08 2010
etheringtona

While I was reading this novel, the same excerpt caught my eye as well. We witness political unrest and uprising that changes the people in power but it does not change the social status of the people in the country. When the soldier said, “Does it really matter who’s in power? They’re still gonna have the rich and the poor and no one in between,” I could not help to think that Dr. Farmer could possibly be the leader to reconnect this society. It is not always the man in power that is the real leader. Jesus, a poor carpenter, had thousands of followers in his life and he stood up against injustice. He only had his word to make billions of people come together. I believe that Dr. Farmer, with his education and resources, is able to be the person to bring Haiti out of social downfall and eventually obtain a well-flowing economy. By trying to unify this world, I can picture having Dr. Farmer as a role model of mine.

29 08 2010
Brad Burkley

I was also very intrigued by this quote: “Does it really matter who’s in power? They’re still gonna have the rich and the poor and no one in between”. As you stated, it’s almost shocking when one realizes how true this statement actually is. Everyday, throughout the world, there are people struggling just to survive, yet at the same time there are those who have more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime. If you take a moment to really think about this fact and let it sink-in, it really is depressing. So many of us take our lives for granted and feel sorry for ourselves, but in reality we should be thankful every single day. We aren’t victims of a seemingly endless oppression such as the Haitians described early on in this story. All we can hope for is that there are many people in the world that are similar to Paul Farmer for he is making necessary steps to bridge the gap and create a better life for the underprivileged poor.

29 08 2010
Erin

The same quote stayed with me as I was reading this novel, too. There clearly is a gap between the rich and the poor in Haiti and Dr. Farmer is doing his best to patch it. He is a Harvard graduate and could very easily take his medical degree to some fancy hospital and make a ton of money. But what does he decide to do? He is using his talents to help others who can not afford the help he is giving them for free. I feel like everyone could learn something from this. The best thing for someone to do may not be the best thing to do at all. In other words, most people would say the best thing for Dr. Farmer to do would be to go to some hospital where he could make a lot of money. But, the best thing for him is to go to Haiti and help the less fortunate and to help close the gap between rich and poor.

30 08 2010
filousz

i totally disagree with b on this one. i left that the most shocking thing in the first two chapters was his reaction to when he was called a saint. i felt that this moment really shows the inner person of dr. farmer. i think that in this moment we learn how dr. farmer truly thinks of himself. he is reluctant to consider himself a saint because he thinks is not one. however when he hears this he only works harder to try and reach saint hood. i think this also draws into question that dr. farmer might not be as good as we think. that he way have a dark side that we are not seeing yet. i think we will figure out more about his charactor farther into the book.

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