In the poem, "To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair," by Finuala Dowling, what is the speaker trying to do and how is this achieved? Discuss specific instances in the...

In the poem, "To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair," by Finuala Dowling, what is the speaker trying to do and how is this achieved? Discuss specific instances in the poem to support your answer.                                                                           

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rdb919 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the poem, "To the doctor..." by Finuala Dowling, the speaker is trying to tell the story of an injured baby being treated by a doctor. The family is gathered around and the speaker tells of how the doctor comes in and cares for this small child who was raped. The details of the poem of administering "infant-sized opiates" and stitching and cleaning refer to the doctor's physical care of the child. The voice of the speaker, however, is particularly compelling. He or she speaks in first person (I) and refers to an audience (you) and there is something defensive or expressive in the town. The speaker says "I want to say to you all" as if trying to make very clear the events that have occurred and how they feel about them. When the poem comes to a close and the speaker explains how they slept in trust, this refers to their trust that the doctor would care for the injured child. 

Therefore, the speaker attempts to show support for the doctor, who may have had a difficult time treating the child, even feeling despair. The family appreciated what he or she could do for the child and trusted him, even in their sleep.