Dean Silva happily accepts Martin's return to the university. Silva is encouraging and understanding, and Martin's admiration for Gottlieb begins to become supplanted for that of Dean Silva. As a result, Martin puts his efforts into his studies as he had never before, without his previous cynicism.
Meanwhile, Leora is in Wheatsylvania. She has been expelled from the school of nursing because of her absences and her marriage. She writes to Martin and tells him she would like to join him in the fall and become a stenographer in order to earn a living. And thus, Martin goes to Wheatsylvania to pick up Leora against the will of her parents and her brother.
Upon his return to Zenith, Martin finds Leora a place where she can live in north Zenith while she attends the Zenith University of Business Administration and Finance. He travels the fairly short distance from Mohalis (where his medical school is) to where Leora lives in Zenith at least twice a week to study in what they call their "first home." They each study, take walks, see movies, and spend time with Clif Clawson. However, Clif moves to New York leaving Martin and Leora to grow closer and more dependent on each other.
It is Martin's senior year, and everyone is trying to figure out his or her course after graduation. Angus already has a job as a surgeon at the renowned Rouncefield Clinic, and Fatty decides to become an obstetrician. Martin does not know what he will do but eventually agrees, and not without pressure from Dean Silva and Leora's family, that after his two-year internship at Zenith General (where Angus would also do his internship) he will then move to Wheatsylvania to practice medicine. Leora's father has promised to pay for his equipment when they arrive in Wheatsylvania and to send the occasional check during Martin's internship.
Chapter 11 recounts Martin's experiences as an intern at Zenith General. He tends to those hurt in a fire, is interviewed by reporters, is respected by crowds that surround accidents, and delivers a baby in a tenement during a serious flood, among other things. However, Martin's experience as an intern is not without its downfalls. He claims not to be able to develop a "bedside manner," and although he convinces himself that being an altruistic doctor is better than being a selfish and closed laboratory scientist, he still has his moments when he longs for the lab.
He finds himself doing blood counts and the like in the laboratory of the hospital just to quench his desire for the laboratory, but he consistently attempts to put it and the memory of Gottlieb out of his mind. Instead, he lingers on Dean Silva's words and even goes out to eat with Silva and Leora. Nevertheless, one day he runs into Max Gottlieb in the street, and although he is moved by their meeting, after which Leora excitedly admits to Martin that he Gottlieb must be a great man, he forgets him once again during the hectic move to Wheatsylvania.
Lewis takes this opportunity to bring Max Gottlieb, who has seemingly been missing from the past few chapters, back to the story. This chapter focuses wholeheartedly on Gottlieb, his life, and what had happened to him in the three or so years since Martin had last worked with him. The narrator tells us that when Martin ran into him in the street, Gottlieb was a ruined man. He then proceeds to tell his story.
The narration moves back to Gottlieb's birth and education, his beliefs, and his following of scientists like Helmholtz. He had worked in famous laboratories like that of Pasteur and Koch, done important and unappreciated research, married and had three children, and also traveled widely by the time he was forced to leave Europe for America because of growing anti-Semitism. In America, he takes a position at the University of Winnemac where he met Martin. Gottlieb had believed in Martin and was heartily disappointed at himself for having let him go. This sadness, however, turns to anger, and Gottlieb tries to forget Martin.
Meanwhile Gottlieb's wife is becoming very ill and Gottlieb is mentally making a plan to create a school of his own, one made for pure science. He has the idea of fulfilling his project at Winnemac and writes dean Silva a letter asking him to step down as dean in order for Gottlieb to fulfill this new school of his. When Silva, of course, refuses, Gottlieb takes the plan to higher authorities who charge him with disloyalty, atheism, egotism, and force him to resign. Gottlieb is ruined and angry and no one will hire him, and it is at this point that Martin had run into him on the street.
Martin has allowed himself to be swayed away from what he truly loves and has given in to the pressures of society that he had once so despised. He has a wife now and has to take her into consideration. In other words, he finds himself thinking about money and the needs required in supporting a family. He finds himself tempted by Leora's father's aid of money and funds for initial medical equipment and, finally, gives in to becoming the type of "country doctor" he had once criticized—a Wheastylvania, small-town physician.
He is constantly, in these chapters, trying to convince himself of his chosen path. Lewis poses "Dad Silva" and "Pa Gottlieb" in opposition. The two doctors, as previously mentioned, represent the two extremes of the medical spectrum. Silva is the compassionate and caring physician, and Gottlieb is the cold and yet much needed, brilliant scientist. These two extremes meet in the person of Martin and cause a struggle that persists throughout the book. Martin admires Silva's strengths and his philosophies as a doctor, and he admires the ability of helping others. Yet, he cannot, no matter how much he tries, eliminate the laboratory scientist within himself; his nature is much to curious and inclined to discover to relinquish that side of himself completely.
To intensify this juxtaposition, Lewis places an entire section in these chapters dedicated to the life of Max Gottlieb. The narrator tells his story, which is one of struggle, lack of recognition, constantly being misunderstood, and strife. Yet, Gottlieb has not, up until this point, wavered in his belief system, and he is also, like Martin, in search of some kind of grander truth. Silva, however, is content in the practice of what others find and says that there is more greatness in being a "Raphael" or a "Holbein" than having been the person who invented paint.
Although Gottlieb is idealized in Chapter 12 as a genius, he is also brought down, and his "fall" is outlined in detail. While, at the same time, Silva is also shown as somehow "great" when he tends to Gottlieb's sick wife. In the scene in which Gottlieb trusts Silva with his wife, it is evident that Lewis intends to show a humbled Gottlieb and to illustrate that those like Silva (the "Raphael's" of the medicinal world) are also necessary. Furthermore, it is all of this seeming contradiction and juxtaposition that causes turmoil in Martin, leaving him unsure of his own path.
Martin is constantly saying to himself that Gottlieb could never waddle through a flood and deliver a baby, as he had done, and could not survive the adventures of his medical internship. Thus, Martin heightens the value of what he is doing. Martin even gets caught up in the amount of power and respect he is given as a doctor—crowds make way for him, policemen bow to his wishes, and he rides the streets in the ambulance like a king, stopping for no-one. Still, it is obvious that there is always the pestering voice of Gottlieb in his mind, which Lewis includes by not only having Martin mention Gottlieb (even in a negative way) consistently, but also by having him physically run into him in the street.
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