Furthermore, there is the character of Gustaf Sondelius who seems particularly American, even though he is a Swede. And yet the fact that he is a Swede does not seem to make null the previous statement especially within the American world that Lewis creates. For example, by the second page of the novel, the narrator says that Martin was a "typical Pure-bred Anglo-Saxon American, which means that he was a union of German, French, Scotch, Irish, perhaps a little Spanish, conceivably a little of the strains lumped together as "Jewish," and a great deal of English, which is itself a combination of primitive Briton, Celt, Phoenician, Roman, German, Dane, and Swede." In short, America is a place of mixture. And Sondelius with his verbal eloquence and manner of crusading around the world, against disease is both endearing and, at times, under Lewis' satire, quite comical. His name mimics the word "sound" in its prefix and calls further attention to his vociferous nature.

Sondelius is important because he becomes Martin's new hero and leads Martin toward Public Health. Martin is desperately in search of something to fill the void and ease his dissatisfaction. He cannot find what he is looking for among the townspeople of Wheatsylvania, and he cannot find it among the competitive and gossiping doctors that surround him. Even among the kind doctors, like Hesselink, Martin does not feel at home because Hesselink is content with his place in life. Martin, however, needs something else. He finds this "something else" in Sondelius's crusade, which leads him back to research and attention to detail in his attempts to root out typhoid and disease in his neighboring areas. Martin cannot help but find himself attracted to the laboratory, as is evident in the blackleg incident with the cattle. But it is obvious that Martin is out of place.

No matter what Martin does, he cannot seem to keep the people on his side, and it is perhaps because of that "bedside manner" that he never quite developed, as he had pointed out while interning at Zenith General. He feels he has failed, and he must start over, which is what the move to Nautilus is—a new beginning. Nautilus is a larger city than Wheatsylvania, which excites Martin, having felt trapped within the small town of Wheatsylvania. He has tried Dean Silva's methods as a country doctor, and now he will try Sondelius's in Public Health, under the eye of Dr. Pickerbaugh.