Reading Response to Berger’s A Fortunate Man

Charlotte Grush 

Julio Villa-Palomino

ANTH 272

January 26th, 2020

While reading Henry Berger’s A Fortunate Man, I noticed the majority of the piece regarding the man crushed under a tree was neither really focused on the injured man or the doctor, it was focused around the other woodmen who were present at the scene. Though the woodmen provide the context of the accident to the doctor, they way they view the doctor plays a much more important role in the narrative. For example, near the beginning they view the doctor as an important figure who can help save their friend and his arrival is referred to as an advent. Further along in the story the doctor is described as an accomplice and they seem to lose faith in the doctor. In fact, the last sentence states “But every time they noticed the place they questioned whether the doctor could be right” ( Berger and Mohr 19). There was also a shift in the way the other woodmen viewed the man trapped under the tree. The woodmen originally viewed the man as someone who needed help but as you read further they seem to view the man as someone who brought this injury upon himself. The woodmen had very little sympathy for this man the longer the doctor worked on him and even started placing blame on the injured man. The focus on the woodmen in the story shows how illness is not something just between the doctor and patient, it is something experienced by everyone around them. 


Works cited


Berger, John, and Jean Mohr. A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor. Vintage Books, 1997.