Neighbor Rosicky

by Willa Cather
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Where is Rosicky at the beginning of the story?

At the beginning of the story, Mr. Rosicky is in a doctor’s office in town, and we are told that his heart is weakening. The rest of the story takes place on his farm out in the country.

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At the beginning of “Neighbour Rosicky,” the title character is in a doctor’s office in town.  Our first clue is in the line, “Doctor Burleigh swung round in his desk-chair….”  This is further substantiated by the doctor’s actions:  he writes Rosicky a prescription, and examines a stethoscope; and when Rosicky...

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At the beginning of “Neighbour Rosicky,” the title character is in a doctor’s office in town.  Our first clue is in the line, “Doctor Burleigh swung round in his desk-chair….”  This is further substantiated by the doctor’s actions:  he writes Rosicky a prescription, and examines a stethoscope; and when Rosicky places the doctor’s fee “behind the desk-telephone.”  The doctor has informed Rosicky, an old friend, that his heart is weakening, and warns him against any intense physical activity on the farm.

When Rosicky leaves the doctor’s office he lingers in town to run some errands, going to the hardware store and to a general store to pick up some fabric for his wife to make pillows and quilts out of.  Here, his interactions with his favorite store clerk are further clues as to just how liked Mr. Rosicky is in town, and how pleasant a character he is to talk to.  These early actions therefore do not only provide a hint to the overall setting of the story, they also provide a solid characterization for Mr. Rosicky and set everything up early-on for the central conflict of the story.

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