A Universal Message in Mountains Beyond Mountains
The suffering and misery of the poor and destitute has long been reported on and documented by writers all over the world. The circumstances and stories of the less fortunate are accounted by authors who sometimes distance themselves from the people they write about. However, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder focuses on the work of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who works tirelessly to comfort the sick and dying in the poorest countries in the world. Instead of being a simple biography about a wonderful man, Kidder weaves his own message of human rights into the book. Kidder successfully conveys his message that universal healthcare is a right a not a privilege through the words and deeds of Dr. Paul Farmer.
In the book, Kidder follows Farmer to many countries. Peru, Russia, and Haiti are where most of the story takes place. In each country, Farmer and his Partner in Health Team eventually make great progress in the communities they work in. The percentage of prisoners dying from Tuberculosis in Russian penitentiaries goes down for example when Farmer and his team raise money with the United Nations. Kidder reports Farmers work with a convincing matter. He sees firsthand what legitimate healthcare can do in the poorest areas in the world. “Clean water, healthcare, school, food, tin roofs, and cement floors, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights” (91). The idea that all people need is basic living conditions to strive and live a healthy life is depicted by Farmer specifically in Haiti. Kidder uses Farmers work to prove the sometimes neglectful western world that living a healthy life should not be something only richer nations get to enjoy.
Kidder argues that the universality principle of suffering is wrong because as Farmer puts it “all suffering isn’t equal” (216). Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam all say that suffering on earth leads to reward in...
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