“The Discus Thrower” by Richard Selzer

In "The Discus Thrower," Richard Selzer's Use of Visual Language

Richard Selzer used visual language to illustrate how the patient wished to introduce himself to the reader but was unable to do so due to the pain and suffering of being left alone. When Richard Selzer inquires about the patient's wellbeing, the patient simply remains silent. The patient makes an attempt to convince the reader that he is not experiencing anything. Because it refers to how the patient threw his breakfast tray across the room, the title "The Discus Thrower" provides the reader a description of the patient's appearance. Every morning the patient orders for scrambled eggs, a tray of scrambled eggs is then brought by an aide nurse who then leaves immediately. The patient in time uses his hands to grab the rim of the tray and the covered dish. He uses his fingers to probe the eggs after placing the covered dish on the stand. The patient then uses both hands to lift the plate, and after proper balancing, he throws the plate against the wall where the cracking of the plate is heard as it falls beside his bed and the scrambled eggs drop to the floor (Selzer 98). The patient then laughs loudly because he believes that it is an amusement. Richard Selzer uses the description to show the reader the state of the patient. The doctor illustrates that the patient is blind and that is why he uses his fingers to feel the rim of the tray and cannot leave the bed because his legs were recently amputated.

The Patient's Feelings about His Situation

Selzer uses visual language to describe how the patient feels about his situation. As the doctor attends to the patient's wounds using disinfectant and also by redressing the stumps, there is silence from the patient, and he does not comment on anything. Richard Selzer tries to wonder what the patient was thinking behind his eyes that did not blink. Selzer assumes then that the patient wishes that he had his feet back or that he should have his life back with whole body parts (Selzer 100). On the contrary, the patient tells the reader that he has given up on life and does not care what the doctor is doing to him or his left body parts. All doctors monitor their patients to determine if there is progress or not especially patients in bad conditions like one in Room 542 also known as "The Discus Thrower." Richard Selzer refers to monitoring as spying because he does not want his patients to see him and instead, he wants to carry out his duties without getting personal. The doctor did not to get personal with the patient because he knew he would die soon and getting personal would depress him yet a doctor should not be depressed when on duty.

The Patient's Expression of Giving Up on Life

The patient tells the reader that he has given up on life by shaking his head all the time in bed as if acknowledging his suffering. He does not make any sound or speak much especially when attended to by the doctor (Selzer 100). The patient's room is empty of most possessions, and it is because he does not expect any family visitors or friends who might have given up on him already. Selzer's title "The Discus Thrower" came from the patient's ability to use both hands to lift the plate, balances it on the palm of his right hand, draws the hand backwards as far as he could and throws the plate that contained his breakfast against the wall. The patient portrays sad feelings throughout the story, but the only time he found joy was when he threw his breakfast against the wall.

Work Cited

Selzer, Richard. "The Discus Thrower." The Short Prose Reader. 7th ed. Gilbert H. Muller and Harvey S. Wiener. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994. 98-101.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price