Study Guide Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder|
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MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS STUDY GUIDE
The protagonist is Paul Farmer, the
most amazing doctor who works the long defeat his entire life, meaning he works
incessantly to eradicate poverty and give decent health care to the poor even
though the attempt is almost impossible to achieve.
The greatest antagonist in this book is poverty and the inherent
epidemics that come with it. Of course, the people who turn their backs on poverty
are also the antagonists as are the government policies that allow it to flourish.
The climax occurs when Tracy Kidder finally
realizes the true definition of Paul Farmerís character: he is a man who is more
interested in trying to win over the long defeat, even though he wants to win.
The man tries to eradicate the evil of poverty and illness among the poor and
itís his trying that makes him great.
Many of the goals Paul has set for himself come about, including the adoption of new prescriptions for MDR-TB by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, again, the outcome is still uncertain, because there is still so much for people like Paul Farmer to do. If the world continues to turn its back on the health needs of the poor, then the outcome will once again be uncertain rather than hopeful.
PLOT / CHAPTER SUMMARY (Synopsis)
Tracy Kidder travels with, and
chronicles the life and work of Dr. Paul Farmer. Farmer's mission is to serve
the poor in countries like Haiti, Peru, and Russia. It runs from approximately
1982 to 2003. Farmer's crusade is to end infectious disease and bring lifesaving
medicines to those that have no access to it and most need it.
The first and most important theme is: the poor
deserve decent health care and living
conditions. This is the message that Farmer promotes his whole
life from the individual patient to the greatest politicians of all the countries
of the world.
Another theme involves the idea of the long
defeat. This refers to Farmerís realization that changing the
fortunes of such poor countries as Haiti may be an impossible goal, but that he
refuses to give in and not try to win.
A third theme involves the
idea of the fortunate of the world turning
their backs on the poor and needy.
In spite of their great wealth, they fail to see the less fortunate around
them and usually do nothing to alleviate the problem.
A final theme is more subtle, but nonetheless important: the importance
of trying to imitate Paul Farmer
even though no one can ever
be like him. This means taking on the
same work with the same devotion as he does and hoping that youíll win
over the long defeat.