Medicine Men Summary
Alice Adams

Everything you need to understand or teach Medicine Men by Alice Adams.

  • Medicine Men Summary & Study Guide

Medicine Men Summary

Healing, both physical and emotional, is the dominant theme of the novel, as characters confront their own mortality, both in body and in spirit. The tumor in Molly's brain has a parallel in the emotional wound created by the death of her husband, Paul, a death made doubly hurtful by the fact that the two had decided to separate only shortly before.

Cancer becomes a metaphor for a kind of unfocused doom which has become endemic to the modern landscape, ultimately affecting not only Molly, but the great Sandy Sanderson himself, whose prostate cancer also brings him to a new awareness of mortality, subverting the "mad male pride" which keep doctors above the realm of disease and fear they try to govern. As Susan Sontag points out in her ground-breaking essay "Illness as Metaphor," cancer has become a signifier for many kinds of social and psychological diseases, as...

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