When a wealthy man falls victim to incapacitating attacks of vertigo, a young doctor decides that the problem and solution both reside in the patient’s head.Capek-Karel_Vertigo_highlights
Capek, Vertigo (with highlights)
Capek, Vertigo (vocabulary)
Crossword (nouns and adjectives)
Crossword (verbs and adverbs)
Hangman (phrases and idioms)
- Who is telling this story (the narrator)? Where did he learn this story? Who is he telling? Do you think he is a reliable narrator (i.e. do you trust that he is telling the reader the truth)?
- How does the narrator feel about doctors, in particular psychotherapists? How does he describe them? Does this indicate positive or negative feelings around this area of medicine?
- Why does Dr. Spitz treat only wealthy patients? Why might wealthy patients be the ones with the most repressions, as the narrator attests?
- Why doesn’t Gierke open up to Dr. Spitz? Why doesn’t he tell him why he is experiencing vertigo?
- Do you think the way Dr. Spitz discovered information about Gierke was ethical? At what point does an action become unethical? Does this make a difference if the patient lives or dies in the end?
- What do you think might be the cause of Gierke’s death? Do you trust that he completed suicide, or were there hints of some other reason?
- Do you think Gierke really killed his first wife, as Dr. Spitz claims? What evidence do you see in the text that Gierke did or didn’t kill his first wife?
- What do you make of the description of Gierke’s wife, Irma? How do you feel about the way women and wives have been portrayed in this story or others that we have discussed this semester?
- Why might Gierke have a desire to kill Irma?
- Does “Vertigo” remind you of any other texts you have read, either in this discussion group or outside of the group? What similarities do you see?