Andrew Manson: A passionate doctor created by the pen of Archibald Cronin
Andrew Manson is the main character of AJ Cronin's novel: "The Citadel"
In this post, and in an attempt to write a review about “The Citadel”, which is one of the most popular novels written by Archibald Joseph Cronin, special attention will be paid to Andrew Manson, who is the main (fictional) character of the book.
The author of the book weaves the whole plot around the life of this young Scottish physician who travels down to Wales to get his first job as a doctor, through to achieving professional and financial success, and enjoying personal happiness and social recognition.
He soon realizes that the road that he has chosen to follow, i.e. that of a physician, is not full of roses. A young and inexperienced physician in a small regional town has to deal with a bad employer, bad colleagues, and the distrust, suspicion, and ignorance of local people.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that, since Cronin was a Scottish physician himself, “The Citadel” is some sort of autobiography, and Andrew Manson impersonates Cronin through the highs and lows of his career as a doctor.
The first quality that characterizes Andrew Manson is his enthusiasm for the medical profession. His commitment and dedication to offering his services to other people, wherever and whenever they may need them, is unparalleled. He even organizes an explosion together with another fellow physician, in an effort to make authorities change old infrastructure and build new one to help improve the sanitation of his small town. This act is, of course, highly symbolic, since it demonstrates the fact that an ailing and rotten system cannot be cured; it can only be tackled at its root, and if necessary, eradicated, in order to set the foundations of a healthier system.
This line of thought is believed to have served as an inspiration for the establishment of the National Health Service in the UK. If Cronin hadn’t published this book, it is doubtful whether the development of the NHS would have followed the same course, or whether it would have been established at all. Sometimes, it only takes a handful of forward thinkers who are driven by passion and deep knowledge to spark change and get things betters. However, since indifference and resistance to change can be immovable obstacles to any effort to change the world, pioneers in any field need a big dose of courage, combined with the right mix of a risk-taking attitude and idealism, in order to be able to build strong foundations for sustainable change and improvement in the long run for future generations to enjoy.
This idealistic approach to life follows him throughout his career. When he moves to London to boost his career prospects, he is quickly disappointed and discouraged, as he watches the practices applied by other doctors who are only after the money of their patients.
He tries to escape from this vicious circle by establishing his own clinic, joining forces with an American physician, where he will be able, at last, to put his pioneering ideas on patient treatment to practice.
Andrew Manson has two passions in life; medicine and his wife. Actually, his entire life is driven by these passions, and he does his best to enjoy career success as a physician, and happiness in family life.
However, every cloud has its silver lining, and his relationship with his beloved wife, Christine Barlow, has a very sad end, which is something that neither of them would deserve in the first place.
Even a doctor who can save other people’s lives cannot save himself from the misfortunes of life and escape destiny…
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