The Moon is Down

by

John Steinbeck

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Doctor Winter Character Analysis

The town’s local historian and physician, and Mayor Orden’s confidante. Winter is an intelligent man who has known Orden since boyhood. His intelligence and wisdom arise from his gentle simplicity and penchant for unhurried observation. It is exactly this capacity for observation that puts Colonel Lanser on edge the first time the two meet, when Winter alludes to the fact that he will include the invasion in the history he’s writing about the town. This remark is a calculated attempt to remind the colonel that, as an fascist invader, he is on the wrong side of history—it is exactly this kind of subtle but meaningful aside that marks Doctor Winter as a shrewd man worthy of standing at the mayor’s side as both an advocate for democracy and a moral anchor.

Doctor Winter Quotes in The Moon is Down

The The Moon is Down quotes below are all either spoken by Doctor Winter or refer to Doctor Winter. 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:
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Moon is Down published in 1995.
Chapter 3 Quotes

Winter said, “I would guess it is for the show. There’s an idea about it: if you go through the form of a thing, you have it, and sometimes people are satisfied with the form of a thing. We had an army—soldiers with guns—but it wasn’t an army, you see. The invaders will have a trial and hope to convince the people that there is justice involved. Alex did the captain, you know.”

Related Characters: Doctor Winter (speaker), Mayor Orden, Alexander Morden
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

Winter walked to one of the gilt chairs, and as he was about to sit down he noticed that its tapestry was torn, and he petted the seat with his fingers as though that would mend it. And he sat down gently because it was torn.

Related Characters: Mayor Orden, Doctor Winter, Joseph
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

You know, Doctor, I am a little man and this is a little town, but there must be a spark in little men that can burst into flame. I am afraid, I am terribly afraid, and I thought of all the things I might do to save my own life, and then that went away, and sometimes now I feel a kind of exultation, as though I were bigger and better than I am, and do you know what I have been thinking, Doctor? […] Do you remember in school, in the Apology? Do you remember Socrates says, “Someone will say, ‘And are you not ashamed, Socrates, of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end?’ To him I may fairly answer, ‘There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether he is doing right or wrong.’”

Related Characters: Mayor Orden (speaker), Doctor Winter
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
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Doctor Winter Character Timeline in The Moon is Down

The timeline below shows where the character Doctor Winter appears in The Moon is Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...the chairs, worrying about their exact orientations while the town’s local historian and physician, Doctor Winter, sits by the fireplace. Winter reminds Joseph that the invaders are a “time-minded people,” saying... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
Doctor Winter asks Joseph where Mayor Orden is, and Joseph says the mayor’s wife, Madame Orden, is... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...there are some firearms here?” Captain Bentick asks, opening a notebook in reference. When Doctor Winter expresses his surprise at how much Captain Bentick already knows about the town, Bentick says,... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...and then goes to collect the two guns Mayor Orden owns. When he leaves, Doctor Winter talks to Mayor Orden and Madame Orden about how to appropriately receive Colonel Lanser. Madame... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...his wife’s insistence that they offer the colonel something to drink, Mayor Orden and Doctor Winter determine that the townspeople might not like it if their leader drank with the invader.... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...revealing the colonel and a man in a black suit, who Mayor Orden and Doctor Winter recognize as Mr. Corell. Lanser asks if Winter is an official, and Mayor Orden assures... (full context)
Chapter 3
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Mayor Orden and Doctor Winter come into the drawing-room, dismiss Joseph and Annie, and discuss the upcoming trial. After several... (full context)
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...Molly departs, Colonel Lanser arrives. He asks to speak to the mayor privately, so Doctor Winter takes his leave. Lanser opens by expressing his sorrow over the circumstances that have led... (full context)
Chapter 6
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
...was in the house. Although she’s somewhat suspicious of Molly, she fetches Mayor Orden, Doctor Winter, and Tom and Will Anders, who are all waiting outside. Once inside, Orden addresses the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...Lanser finally submits to Corell, yelling to a sergeant to place Mayor Orden and Doctor Winter under arrest. (full context)
Chapter 8
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
...swarm the village and countryside to collect the packages of dynamite. Meanwhile, Orden and Doctor Winter remain under arrest, confined to the palace. At one point, Doctor Winter comes into the... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
As the two men contemplate their probable demise, Mayor Orden asks Doctor Winter if he remembers Plato’s Apology, which they learned together in school. He then quotes Socrates’... (full context)
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
As Mayor Orden delivers Socrates’ monologue with Doctor Winter’s help, Colonel Lanser enters the room and listens attentively. When Orden and Winter argue whether... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...cause. Nonetheless, Lanser voices his commitment to following his orders, a statement that prompts Doctor Winter to ask if the colonel will really stick to these plans even though he knows... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...sounds, now much closer. Looking at his friend, Orden puts his chain of office in Winter’s hand. “How did it go about the flies?” he asks. “The flies have conquered the... (full context)