All Creatures Great and Small

by James Herriot

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1)      Again we see the disparity between one day and the next with Siegfried.  How frustrated would you feel with a man like him who says one thing one day and the opposite the next?  Explain with reference to the text. 

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I think that part of what makes Herriot's work so powerful is that it depicts the reality of working with people who are challenging.  One such instance of this is his work with Siegfried.  To say that Siegfried is challenging is an understatement.  When he continually says one thing and does another, it is frustrating.  Herriot acknowledges such frustration.  An example of this would be in chapter 8, when Siegfried constantly contradicts himself and does not accept it.  Poor instructions, such as sending Herriot to the wrong farm, and then berating him for misusing a car that is not as good as Siegfried claims it to be is a challenge.  Herriot indicates that part of working with people who are different is to be able to accept their conditions as part of existential reality.  Herriot does not hold a grudge or display intense dislike.  Rather, he simply accepts it as a condition of being in the world.

This condition of acceptance might be where I think that I could find some personal connection.  It is frustrating to work with people that can be so contradictory. However, part of what Herriot's experiences teaches us is that there can be more to people than their flaws.  Herriot never judges Siegfried on his contradictions.  Herriot's narrative teaches the importance of being able to accept people for who they are and working within those contours.  While it is frustrating to have to work with people who could be so frustratingly contradictory, Herriot teaches us that a significant part of restoration and hope lies in acknowledging how people are, accepting them for who they are.

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