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Richard Selzer, “Toenails” pdf below

Then answer the following questions:

For this reading, the narrator is again the protagonist.

Why does he go to the library every Wednesday? What group does he want be a part of when he retires? Do you think the narrator means it?

Inciting Incident:
The narrator explains the problem in the first two pages. What advice does he give to “the young doctor”?
There is also a second inciding incident which involves Hankerchief, but we should discuss that in the mid-point as it leads up to the narrators decision.

The narrator notices Hankerchief wincing as he walks. What is his problem?
What does the narrator decide to do? What does this reveal of the narrator?

There is a great little conversation between the nurse and the narrator.

“What are you doing here?” said my nurse. “It’s Wednesday afternoon. People are just supposed to die on Wednesday afternoon.”
“I need my toenail cutters. I’ll bring them back tomorrow.”
“The last time you took something out of here I didn’t see it for six months.”

From this little glimpse, what can we assume about their relationship?

What is the climax? How does he solve the problem?

So what is the theme? To recap the events, here is the plot line. While taking a break from his practice, a doctor helps a “friend” and in so doing learns that he

enjoys helping others.

Truth Value:
Does the theme represent a truth in life?


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