“The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife” by Ernest Hemingway is enhanced through the use of a few important symbols.

The open/closed dichotomy

The author constructs the story’s symbolism around the open/closed dichotomy (separation into two equal parts), representative of the open and closed conflicts the doctor experiences. When the three Native Americans arrive at Henry’s cottage, they find the gate open, but Dick closes it behind him suggesting control and domination. When they leave, Dick leaves the door open (suggesting the conflict between him and the doctor is not over), but Billy closes it.

Inside the cottage, the doctor’s medical journals are “unopened” (l. 77) while his wife’s Bible and magazines are, indicating the doctor’s confinement and his weakened position in the family. The wife checks on him asking questions and trying to impose ...

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