Mountains Beyond Mountains

A young Haitian boy whose rare facial cancer necessitates his being flown out to Boston for extensive treatments. John’s long, agonizing journey from Haiti to Boston is the dramatic climax of the book, because it encapsulates the challenges—and, at times, the futility—of Paul Farmer’s medical ventures in the Third World. Although John receives the best healthcare possible, he eventually dies of his cancer, meaning that Farmer has spent tens of thousands of dollars on John’s failed treatment. Although his colleagues point to John’s death as proof that Farmer is too generous with his allocation of resources, Farmer insists that there is inherent value in trying to save as many lives as possible, even if the chances of saving a life are very small.

John Quotes in Mountains Beyond Mountains

The Mountains Beyond Mountains quotes below are all either spoken by John or refer to John. 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:
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Random House edition of Mountains Beyond Mountains published in 2009.
Chapter 25 Quotes

“Well, this boy is a challenge. But I’ve cured sicker kids.” Serena laughed nervously. She said, “Well, now he’s in Man’s Greatest Hospital.” That was what Mass General people called the place, playing on its initials, MGH. Dr. Ezekowitz chuckled. “As soon as we start to believe that, we won’t be.” He turned to the young intern. “Isn’t that right? We can always do better, can’t we.”

Related Characters: Serena Koenig (speaker), Dr. Alan Ezekowitz (speaker), John
Related Symbols: John’s Treatment
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Mountains Beyond Mountains quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

“Can we not have him in a place where people are trained in palliation? Isn’t palliative care important? And a place where his mother can grieve in private instead of an open ward with flies all over her face?”

Related Characters: Serena Koenig (speaker), John
Related Symbols: John’s Treatment
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Mountains LitChart as a printable PDF.
Mountains beyond mountains.pdf.medium

John Character Timeline in Mountains Beyond Mountains

The timeline below shows where the character John appears in Mountains Beyond Mountains. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 25
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
America, Imperialism, and the First World Theme Icon
Nonprofits, Politics, and Compromise Theme Icon
In 2000, Kidder explains, PIH flies a Haitian child named John from Cange to Boston for treatment for a rare facial cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The process... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
Nonprofits, Politics, and Compromise Theme Icon
While Farmer attends a Soros conference in Europe, Serena prepares to fly John out to Mass General for a full treatment for his cancer. Kidder sees John lying... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
Serena decides to arrange for an ambulance to drive John to the airport, even though John’s condition is uncertain. She reasons that she can prevent... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
The driver of the ambulance decides to arrange for another truck to drive John to the airport. Serena and the other hospital technicians hook up John’s suction device to... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
America, Imperialism, and the First World Theme Icon
Kidder reports that John survives his medevac flight to Boston, helped by his suction device the entire time. When... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
America, Imperialism, and the First World Theme Icon
The ambulance drives John to the pediatric wards of Mass General, and the team has John in bed very... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
America, Imperialism, and the First World Theme Icon
The medical team at Mass General proceeds with treating John. They identify tumors in John’s nasal area and spine—extremely painful. Gradually, they realize that there’s... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
A few days later, John’s mother arrives on another flight. She’s able to see her son just before the end... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
Kidder is unsure how he feels about John’s treatment. In a sense, he thinks of it as a lesson in the impossibility of... (full context)
Chapter 26
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
It is December, two months after John’s transportation to Boston. Kidder is in Boston, preparing to travel to Cange with Farmer for... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
Nonprofits, Politics, and Compromise Theme Icon
...house, Kidder tries to ask Farmer a question he’s been formulating for a while—ever since John’s death. He points out that Farmer can never treat every sick person on the planet—there... (full context)
Cost-Efficiency vs. the Value of Life Theme Icon
Saintliness Theme Icon
America, Imperialism, and the First World Theme Icon
Farmer discusses John’s death with Kidder. It’s certainly possible to question Serena’s decision to move John to Mass... (full context)