Reflective Summary Of Chapters 20-23
What strikes me the most about chapters 20-23 inclusive is the ways in which the various themes are portrayed to the reader. Also, perhaps more importantly, this section of the book brings Farmer’s character into focus, and makes my previously held respect for the man begin to waver.
Chapter 21 follows Kidder and Farmer during their time in Cuba. Kidder has difficulty in leaving behind his preconceived political ideas about Cuba. However, Farmer is completely nonplussed by politics, as the health of the people is genuinely all he is concerned about. The main theme of the book is that all people deserve equal access to healthcare and good living conditions, regardless of wealth or status. I think chapter 21 highlights this point in a way that makes the reader question his own preconceptions of countries around the world.
Chapter 22 is a pivotal point in understanding the character of Paul Farmer. In this section of the book, Kidder effectively demonstrates details such as his unusual choices of language. Furthermore, the concept that Farmer can feel guilty for loving his daughter more than the Haitian children is a strange one. Nature works so as to ensure each of us love our children more than anyone else in the world, and so it seems obvious that Farmer would love his daughter in this way. Farmer is portrayed, by Kidder, as a near ‘perfect’ person. However, some would argue that wishing to love all people equally is not such a perfect quality for his own family, whom it is his duty to esteem.
A quieter theme within the book concerns people trying to imitate Farmer, but not ever being able to live up to him. This section of the book made me question whether people should be striving to be like him at all. His theories on equality and on poverty are truly noble, but at times this attitude in him appears to be all-consuming.
Kidder, T. Mountains Beyond Mountains. New York: Library of Congress. 2009 print.