Analyze Rosicky in Carter's story, "Neighbor Rosicky," with reference to preferences and choices and to whether he is a realistic character.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Carter's "Neighbor Rosicky," Anton Rosicky is a Czechoslovakian immigrant to the United States who gave up tailoring and turned his hand to farming. This is a period story, taking place in the early twentieth century, when "picture shows" and horse drawn wagons shared the same world stage.

Rosicky immigrated first to London, then to New York, then to his own farmland. While in the cities, he learned his trade but also felt the loneliness of the isolation a big city imposes upon inhabitants because of the numbers of people who, though crammed together, never have a natural opportunity for getting to know each other. In the cities, he learned that the teeming hordes of people held "depraved, poisonous species of men." Rather than joining in with the "terrible faces in the ... streets," Rosicky's innate good nature, his "contented disposition and reflective [thoughtful] quality," influenced his decisions and he stayed away from the terrible sides of city life.

When he read that farmland could be had at low prices, he took his savings and turned to the land so as to leave the streets of the cities behind him. He had past the height of his youth when he bought land and married Mary, who bore strong children with his own good disposition. He conducted his life and guided his home on the principal of knowing a thing's true importance; speaking gently; behaving kindly and agreeably; and helping others to find their happiness:

"Polly ain't lookin' so good. I don't like to see nobody lookin' sad. It comes hard fur a town girl to be a farmer's wife." ... He guessed she needed jollying.

It is Rosicky's good disposition that enables him to bear the bad news about his heart with equanimity. On the drive homeward, he stops at the graveyard and notes that, at night, it had a wonderful view of the star laden sky. He also notes how near it is to him farm and how comforting it would be to lay to rest at the edge of his very own cornfield. Rosicky can see the natural progression to life, like a planting and a harvesting; he can take comfort in the home and family he has built and guided; and he can see the value of changes in life, as was illustrated by his move to country life and now by his choice to heed the doctor's advice and work in the house for the winter:

[Across] the cornstalks his own roof and windmill looked so good to him that he promised himself to mind the Doctor and take care of himself. He was awful fond of his place, .... He wasn't anxious to leave it.

His preferences fit in with his innate disposition and compliment that deposition. His choices are rational and aim at the increase of happiness and benefit, whether for himself (obeying the doctor) or for his family (Saturday night car for Polly). In these lights, Rosicky is presented as a realistic character, one who is at peace with himself and one whose innate disposition saved him a lot of trouble. There are people who truly have such dispositions and who truly make decisions about life partners that lead to accord and harmony, like that between Anton and Mary, instead of discord and quarrelling. He is also a realistic character because his actions and psychological development [e.g., how he feels (peaceful), what he thinks (that Polly needs some "jollying")] accord with his disposition and temperament as defined by the story.

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Neighbor Rosicky

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