(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Neighbor Rosicky” begins with Anton Rosicky’s having a medical checkup and learning from Dr. Burleigh that he has a bad heart. Sixty-five years old, Rosicky has worked hard all of his life, and the doctor urges him to take it easy, to cut back on farmwork and spend more time instead helping his wife around the house. Rosicky has five sons and one daughter, who can do the manual labor on their Nebraska farm. A contented man who enjoys his family, Rosicky is not a workaholic, and he follows the doctor’s advice.

As Rosicky leaves, Dr. Burleigh thinks about the man and his family, for whom he feels deep affection. Rosicky has the knack of always being interested in things, of embracing life, taking the hard times philosophically, and not getting depressed. Those in his family have natural good manners and offer generous hospitality. Though they are far less affluent than most neighboring farmers, they seem to enjoy themselves more and are free from the mania of acquisitiveness.

However, life has not been easy for Rosicky, and several times he thinks back to the hardships of his youth. A Czech by birth and upbringing, Rosicky emigrated at eighteen to London, where for two years he experienced the harshness of Victorian poverty while he worked in a tailor’s shop. With the help of some rich Bohemians, he sailed to New York when he was twenty and took up work as a tailor, enjoying his bachelor life and the cultural offerings of the city....

(The entire section is 564 words.)

Part 1 Summary

(Short Stories for Students)

‘‘Neighbour Rosicky’’ begins at the office of Dr. Ed Burleigh where Anton Rosicky learns that he has a bad heart. Readers also learn...

(The entire section is 127 words.)

Part 2 Summary

(Short Stories for Students)

As Rosicky leaves the doctor’s office, he starts home but pauses by the ‘‘snug and homelike’’ graveyard that lies on the edge of...

(The entire section is 118 words.)

Part 3 Summary

(Short Stories for Students)

In section III, Rosicky has taken the doctor’s advice to relinquish the heavy chores to his sons. He spends his time in his...

(The entire section is 153 words.)

Part 4 Summary

(Short Stories for Students)

Rosicky is worried about his son Rudolph, who rents a farm not too far from Rosicky’s. Rudolph has recently married Polly, a woman from...

(The entire section is 119 words.)

Part 5 Summary

(Short Stories for Students)

It is the day before Christmas and Rosicky, sitting by the window sewing, is reminded of his difficult years in London when he was always...

(The entire section is 181 words.)

Part 6 Summary

(Short Stories for Students)

In the final section of the story, Rosicky reflects on the future of his children. He hopes that they don’t suffer ‘‘any great...

(The entire section is 296 words.)