The Yellow Birds

by

Kevin Powers

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Yellow Birds can help.
The doctor that Murph observes every day in Iraq is a young woman capable of professional efficacy when tending to wounded soldiers, but also of kindness and compassion. She becomes an example of someone who plays a morally admirable part in the war, devoting her energy to saving lives instead of destroying them.

The Doctor Quotes in The Yellow Birds

The The Yellow Birds 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:
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown, and Company edition of The Yellow Birds published in 2012.
Chapter 8 Quotes

He wanted to choose. He wanted to want. He wanted to replace the dullness growing inside him with anything else. He wanted to decide what he would gather around his body, to refuse that which fell toward him by accident or chance and stayed in orbit like an accretion disk. He wanted to have one memory he’d made of his own volition to balance out the shattered remnants of everything he hadn’t asked for.

Related Characters: John Bartle (speaker), Daniel “Murph” Murphy, The Doctor
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Yellow Birds LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Yellow Birds PDF

The Doctor Character Timeline in The Yellow Birds

The timeline below shows where the character The Doctor appears in The Yellow Birds. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8: October 2004 – Al Tafar, Nineveh Province, Iraq
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...he is waiting for a particular event. A helicopter then lands and, when a female doctor comes out, Murph admits that he has been looking at her. The two boys watch... (full context)
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
While Bartle tries to soothe Murph, the doctor comes out of the tent, washes her hands, lights a cigarette, and begins to cry.... (full context)
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
As the doctor walks toward the chapel, Bartle tries to reassure Murph that they can count on each... (full context)
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...heal the local bg merchants. Making his way to the chapel, he sees that the doctor is now dead and that Murph is next to her, silent. While Bartle and another... (full context)
Chapter 10: October 2004 – Al Tafar, Nineveh Province, Iraq
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Bartle recalls the moment Murph disappeared, crying because of the doctor’s death. Although Murph did not attend the ceremony in the woman’s honor, it was not... (full context)