At Hiruharama

by

Penelope Fitzgerald

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The Doctor Character Analysis

The doctor lives in the town of Awanui, which Tanner calculates is about two and a half hours from his own homestead. The doctor ostensibly oversees Kitty’s prenatal care, her labor, and the birth, though he tells Tanner that Kitty shouldn’t come to see him before labor and that by the time he shows up for a birth, he is often “not needed.” He has a somewhat brusque demeanor and doesn’t seem to want to go out of the way to help Tanner and Kitty. When he arrives for Kitty’s birth, though, he brings his sister-in-law, who was or is a nurse, and he is the one who finds the second child, saving the Tanners from tragedy.

The Doctor Quotes in At Hiruharama

The At Hiruharama quotes below are all either spoken by The Doctor or refer to The Doctor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Value and Perception Theme Icon
).
At Hiruharama Quotes

“What’s it called?”

“Hiruharama.”

“Don’t know it. That’s not a Māori name.”

“I think it means Jerusalem,” said Tanner.

Related Characters: Tanner (speaker), The Doctor (speaker)
Page Number: 409
Explanation and Analysis:

“He’s a crank, I dare say.”

“He’s a dreamer,” Tanner replied. “I should term Brinkman a dreamer.”

Related Characters: The Doctor (speaker), Tanner (speaker), Brinkman
Page Number: 410
Explanation and Analysis:

He had made the pigeons’ nest out of packing-cases. They ought to have flown daily for exercise, but he hadn’t been able to manage that. Still, they looked fair enough, a bit disheveled, but not so that you’d notice. It was four o’clock, breezy, but not windy. He took them out into the bright air which, even that far from the coast, was full of the salt of the ocean. How to toss a pigeon he had no idea. He opened the basket, and before he could think what to do next they were out and up into the blue. He watched in terror as after reaching a certain height they began turning round in tight circles as though puzzled or lost. Then, apparently sighting something on the horizon that they knew, they set off strongly toward Awanui.

Related Characters: Tanner, Parrish, Kitty, The Doctor
Page Number: 411
Explanation and Analysis:

The doctor emerged, moving rather faster than he usually did. “Please to go in there and wash the patient. I’m going to look at the afterbirth. The father put it out with the waste.”

There Tanner had made his one oversight. It wasn’t the afterbirth, it was a second daughter, smaller, but a twin.

Related Characters: The Doctor (speaker), Tanner, Kitty
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:

After that the Tanners always had one of those tinplate mottoes hung up on the wall – Throw Nothing Away. You could get them at the hardware store.

Related Characters: Mr. Tanner (speaker), Tanner, Kitty, The Doctor
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire At Hiruharama LitChart as a printable PDF.
At Hiruharama PDF

The Doctor Character Timeline in At Hiruharama

The timeline below shows where the character The Doctor appears in At Hiruharama. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
At Hiruharama
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
...tells Tanner that she’s pregnant. Tanner drives into the nearest town, Awanui, to meet with the doctor . The doctor tells Tanner that he shouldn’t ask him if his wife will have... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Colonialism Theme Icon
Tanner leaves the doctor ’s office and goes to the post office, where he writes a letter to his... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
...less when they expected, Kitty goes into labor. Tanner uses the pigeons to send for the doctor and calculates that it will take him over two and a half hours to arrive.... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
The doctor eventually drives up with his wife’s widowed sister, who used to be a nurse. Tanner... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Colonialism Theme Icon
The doctor brings the second child into the kitchen. In the years after, the Tanners always keep... (full context)