Arrowsmith

Summary

Chapters 10–12

Summary Chapters 10–12

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.

Analysis

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.