All Creatures Great and Small Themes

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The Darrowby people Herriot encounters as a new vet illustrate many universal themes. Through their love for their animals and each other, they experience joy, pain, hope, satisfaction, and despair. As farmers, their success is not egocentric, but a chancy result of their cooperation with their land, their animals, the Dales environment, and the onslaught of disease and the knackerman, who carts away their dead beasts. This intensely difficult life accentuates idiosyncrasies, and evokes desperate, nonscientific folk cures for animal maladies, and nervous distrust of the vets. Herriot understands this and only rarely gets angry and is never bitter toward these brave, necessarily strong folk whose daily lives are much like climbing one of the 2,000 foot "fells," the bare, steep, looming hills into which the Dales are uncomfortably nestled. The animals' lives are instructive models for the people, for whom the ultimata of birth, death, and disease frame the...

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This section contains 203 words
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