|‘A Country Doctor’
from The Hunting Sketches (1852) by Ivan Turgenev
1. What peculiar narrative frame
does Turgenev construct for this story? Who is the speaker? What
situation has he found himself while traveling? Why does Turgenev
use this literary device to frame his story?
2. Why does the doctor decide to tell his sick patient this story?
Have you ever told all your deep, dark secrets to an absolute
3. Why is the doctor
reluctant to take this particular call? What can he tell about
the family that has called for his help just from looking at their
4. Which social class does each of the following characters in the
story represent? How are they described?
5. What happens to the
relationship between the doctor and Alexandra as her conditions
6. Why has Alexandra missed out in love in her life?
7. When does he realize that he has fallen in love with her? When
does she declare her love
8. What is Alexandra’s reaction
when she learns her lover’s name?
9. What is strange and wrong about this relationship?
10. Why does the doctor cherish the
memory of this relationship?
Turgenev’s story can be read on two interconnected levels:
What is he saying about the relationship between the classes in
mid-19th century Russia?
What is he saying about the possibility of love in this man’s life?