The short story “The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife” by Ernest Hemingway is set in a wooded area, most likely in the state of Michigan (where Nick Adams spent his childhood, according to other stories featuring this character). Given that the story is semi-autobiographical we can assume the time setting is sometime in the beginning of the 1900s (Hemingway was born in 1899). The mention of the “hot day” (l. 113) indicates the events take place during summer.

Physical setting

The physical setting includes three elements, the doctor’s yard next to the lake, the cottage, and “the hemlock woods” (l. 112) outside his property. Each of these places corresponds to a different scene in the story.

The yard is where the argument between the doctor and the Indians takes place. Here, the central points are the lake and the logs:

The others went on ahead of him down to the lake shore where the logs were buried in the sand. The logs had been lost from the big log booms that were towed down the lake to the mill by the steamer Magic. They had drifted up onto the beach... (ll. 7-12)


Social setting

The social setting depicts three types of social interactions (relationships): man versus man, man versus woman, and man versus child.

The interaction between the doctor and the Native Americans is dominated by typically male principles: violence, authority, aggressiveness, and strength.


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