Doctor John May, known as Doctor May, is the local physician who visits the mill with Kirby, Mitchell, and the reporter. He is unable to step out of his mindset as an upper-class doctor. He can’t find a deeper meaning in Hugh’s statue, as he is preoccupied by the statue’s accurate musculature. Doctor May thinks highly of himself and considers speaking kindly to Hugh to be a great act of charity. When Hugh asks Doctor May to help him, Doctor May is ultimately unwilling to put his encouraging words into action, revealing the novella’s sharp critique of positive words that are not backed by positive actions. Although he outwardly scoffs at Mitchell’s assertion that the workers need to rise up on their own accord without outside help, he inwardly accepts this idea and does nothing to help the workers except pray that they have the strength to revolt on their own.
Doctor May Character Timeline in Life in the Iron Mills
The timeline below shows where the character Doctor May appears in Life in the Iron Mills. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Life in the Iron Mills
...statue’s “poignant longing” and “one idea” that seems hidden in the woman’s limbs and expression. Doctor May is more preoccupied with the statue’s accurate musculature. Flippant about the statue’s artistry, Kirby says... (full context)
...further, Mitchell quotes scripture and compares Kirby to Pontius Pilate. Mitchell also quotes scripture for Doctor May , reminding him that in the Bible, Jesus says, “Inasmuch as ye did it unto... (full context)
...Cynically, Mitchell agrees, calling money the solution to all the world’s problems. He sarcastically tells Doctor May to preach “Saint-Simonian doctrines” to the workers the following day so that they will revolt... (full context)
The narrator interjects, revealing that Hugh was convicted of theft by morning. A month later, Doctor May reads in the newspaper that Hugh was sentenced to nineteen years in prison. Doctor May... (full context)