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English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Bethune Packet: English 30-1


Dr. Norman Bethune: Biography
Dr. Norman Bethune is best known as a hero in the People's Republic of China and for his
impact on Sino-Canadian relations. But he also gained a reputation in his native Canada as a
gifted surgeon, an inventor, a political activist and an early proponent of a universal health care
system.
Norman Bethune was born in 1890 in Gravenhurst, Ontario, north of Toronto. He was the son of
a clergyman but chose to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and become a surgeon. He studied
at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine but, in 1911, he interrupted his studies to
work for a year as a labourer-teacher with Frontier College.
Wartime service
At the outbreak of the First World War, Bethune joined the N0.2 Field Ambulance Medical
Corps and sailed for France in February 1915. He was working as a stretcher-bearer in Ypres,
Belgium, when a shrapnel shell exploded close to him and pieces of it pierced his leg. He was
sent by ship to England where he spent three months recovering in hospital.
When Bethune returned to Canada, he resumed his medical studies and completed his Bachelor
of Medicine in December 1916. One of his classmates was Frederick Banting, who would later
achieve fame as the co-discoverer of insulin.
With the war still raging, Dr. Bethune felt compelled to return to service, so he joined the Royal
Navy as a lieutenant-surgeon. At war's end, he took on a six-month internship at the prestigious
Hospital for Sick Children in London, England.
Back in Canada, Dr. Bethune worked in private practice in Stratford and Ingersoll, Ontario. But
he was a restless man, so he traveled back to Britain to train as a surgeon at the University of
Edinburgh. On February 3, 1922, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Personal crises
While he was in Scotland, Norman Bethune married a Scottish girl, Frances Campbell Penney,
and they moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he set up another private practice. But he was facing
a period of crises in his personal life. In 1926, he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. About the
same time, his marriage failed, largely due to his lavish spending and flamboyant lifestyle.
Turning point
Dr. Bethune's stay in a New York sanitarium was a turning point. Here, he saw first-hand how
little could be done for many victims of tuberculosis. In September 1928 he returned to the Royal
Victoria Hospital in Montral and worked for eight years, devoting himself to helping other
tuberculosis victims and to studying thoracic surgery.
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Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

It was a productive time for Dr. Bethune. He invented or re-designed 12 medical and surgical
instruments, some of which are still used today. He also wrote a large body of work describing
his innovations in thoracic technique. These books provided essential reference material for
surgeons.
But slowly, Dr. Bethune became disillusioned with surgical treatment and more concerned with
the socio-economic aspects of disease. He was constantly challenging his profession and
proposing reforms of medical care, including socialized medicine. As an example to others, he
opened a free clinic where he treated women, children and unemployed men.
First brush with communism
In 1935, Dr. Bethune attended a conference in the Soviet Union and returned to Montral with
high praise for their medical system. Still convinced of the benefits of socialized medicine, he
helped organize the Montreal Group for the Security of the People's Health, an organization
dedicated to establishing socialized medicine in Canada. The Group's recommendations were
met with complete indifference. Dr. Bethune became bitter and disillusioned.
Off to Spain
Dr. Bethune formally joined the Communist Party in the winter of 1935. He felt that his own
goals were perfectly reflected in those of the Party: to change the world for the better. When he
saw that he could not accomplish his objectives in Canada, he decided to travel to Spain, which,
in 1936, was on the verge of civil war.
A chance to make a difference
Norman Bethune was a man of action and here was his chance to act. No sooner had he arrived
in Spain than he traveled to the front lines and jumped into action. His experience as a stretcherbearer during the First World War taught him the importance of helping the wounded quickly. So
he set up a blood bank close to the front lines and organized a mobile blood-transfusion service,
the first of its kind. By the next spring, Dr. Bethune and his small medical team were giving up
to 100 blood transfusions a day.
Dr. Bethune returned to Canada in 1937 to a hero's welcome. Still firmly committed to the war in
Spain, he criss-crossed the country, trying to raise money for the anti-fascist cause. But there was
little interest in that distant war, and Bethune became bitterly disappointed.
A new cause to embrace
Once again, Dr. Bethune was growing restless, just as another war was escalating in the East. In
1937, the Japanese invaded China and Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong and his communist
soldiers were trying to resist the Japanese invaders. Bethune saw this as another battle against
fascism and he was determined to help.

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

He gathered together a medical team and on January 8, 1938, the Canadian-American Mobile
Medical Unit left Canada to join the 8th Route Army in the Shanxi-Hobei border region of
China. Once in China, Dr. Bethune immediately adopted the cause and the people as his own. He
worked long hard days under the most rudimentary conditions and quickly became known as a
skilled surgeon and a dedicated teacher.
In October 1939, the Japanese launched another attack. Dr. Bethune and his team rushed to the
front where the worst fighting was unfolding and worked long hours caring for the wounded.
While he was operating on a soldier, Bethune cut his finger. Probably due to his weakened state,
he contracted septicaemia (blood poisoning) and died of his wounds on November 12, 1939.
A nation mourns
Dr. Bethune's death shocked the Chinese nation. Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong wrote a tribute
titled "In Memory of Norman Bethune," in which he praised the doctor for his selflessness and
dedication to the Chinese people.
In 1952, Norman Bethune's body was moved to a memorial park built to commemorate those
who died in the war. Across the road from Bethune's tomb and statue lies the most fitting tribute
of all: the Norman Bethune International Peace Hospital.
Canada too marked Norman Bethune's passing by naming his birthplace in Gravenhurst, Ontario,
a national historic site and unveiling a bronze statue of him in downtown Gravenhurst.

Source: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/physicians/030002-2100-e.html

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

In Memory of Norman Bethune


By Chairman Mao Zedong
(December 21, 1939)
Comrade Norman Bethune, a member of the Communist Party of Canada, was around fifty when
he was sent by the Communist Parties of Canada and the United States to China; he made light
of travelling thousands of miles to help us in our War of Resistance Against Japan. He arrived in
Yenan in the spring of last year, went to work in the Wutai Mountains, and to our great sorrow
died a martyr at his post. What kind of spirit is this that makes a foreigner selflessly adopt the
cause of the Chinese people's liberation as his own? It is the spirit of internationalism, the spirit
of communism, from which every Chinese Communist must learn. Leninism teaches that the
world revolution can only succeed if the proletariat of the capitalist countries supports the
struggle for liberation of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples and if the proletariat of the
colonies and semi-colonies supports that of the proletariat of the capitalist countries. Comrade
Bethune put this Leninist line into practice. We Chinese Communists must also follow this line
in our practice. We must unite with the proletariat of all the capitalist countries, with the
proletariat of Japan, Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and all other capitalist countries,
for this is the only way to overthrow imperialism, to liberate our nation and people and to
liberate the other nations and peoples of the world. This is our internationalism, the
internationalism with which we oppose both narrow nationalism and narrow patriotism.
Comrade Bethune's spirit, his utter devotion to others without any thought of self, was shown in
his great sense of responsibility in his work and his great warm-heartedness towards all comrades
and the people. Every Communist must learn from him. There are not a few people who are
irresponsible in their work, preferring the light and shirking the heavy, passing the burdensome
tasks on to others and choosing the easy ones for themselves. At every turn they think of
themselves before others. When they make some small contribution, they swell with pride and
brag about it for fear that others will not know. They feel no warmth towards comrades and the
people but are cold, indifferent and apathetic. In truth such people are not Communists, or at
least cannot be counted as devoted Communists. No one who returned from the front failed to
express admiration for Bethune whenever his name was mentioned, and none remained unmoved
by his spirit. In the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area, no soldier or civilian was unmoved who
had been treated by Dr. Bethune or had seen how he worked. Every Communist must learn this
true communist spirit from Comrade Bethune.
Comrade Bethune was a doctor, the art of healing was his profession and he was constantly
perfecting his skill, which stood very high in the Eighth Route Army's medical service. His
example is an excellent lesson for those people who wish to change their work the moment they
see something different and for those who despise technical work as of no consequence or as
promising no future.
Comrade Bethune and I met only once. Afterwards he wrote me many letters. But I was busy,
and I wrote him only one letter and do not even know if he ever received it. I am deeply grieved
over his death. Now we are all commemorating him, which shows how profoundly his spirit
inspires everyone. We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit
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everyone can be very useful to the people. A man's ability may be great or small, but if he has
this spirit, he is already noble-minded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar
interests, a man who is of value to the people.
NOTES
(1). The distinguished surgeon Norman Bethune was a member of the Canadian Communist
Party. In 1936 when the German and Italian fascist bandits invaded Spain, he went to the front
and worked for the anti-fascist Spanish people. In order to help the Chinese people in their War
of Resistance Against Japan, he came to China at the head of a medical team and arrived in
Yenan in the spring of 1938. Soon after he went to the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area. Imbued
with ardent internationalism and the great communist spirit, he served the army and the people of
the Liberated Areas for nearly two years. He contracted blood poisoning while operating on
wounded soldiers and died in Tanghsien, Hopei, on November 12, 1939
(2). See J. V. Stalin, "The Foundations of Leninism", Problems of Leninism, Eng. ed., FLPH,
Moscow, 1954, pp. 70-79.

Source: http://chairmanmaozedong.org/article/57.html

__________________________________________________________________
Instructions:
You will meet with your team on the date indicated. You need to have
finished the Act by that date, and be prepared to share your notes in the
format below.
On meeting days, your team will also be given a challenge related to our
study of Bethune.
Complete all three challenges successfully to un-lock a special English 30-1
bonus prize!

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Act I: pages 11-43

Bethune Rod Langley


Meeting Date: Tuesday December 9

Questions about Act

What your group discusses

Character - Bethune
Quotes from Text

Significance what is revealed about


character(s)

Track the character development of Bethune


himself

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Track how Bethune affects other characters in the


play

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Personal Response to Act Focus on the key events of the act and respond this may be through making
connections or commenting on a characters actions, ex whether you agree or disagree etc.

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Bethune Rod Langley


Act II: pages 45-81

Meeting Date: Friday December 12

Questions about Act

What your group discusses

Character - Bethune
Quotes from Text

Significance what is revealed about


character(s)

Track the character development of Bethune


himself

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Track how Bethune affects other characters in the


play

10

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Personal Response to Act Focus on the key events of the act and respond this may be through making
connections or commenting on a characters actions, ex whether you agree or disagree etc.

11

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Bethune Rod Langley


Act III: pages 83-117

Meeting Date: Tuesday December 16

Questions about Act

What your group discusses

Character - Bethune
Quotes from Text

Significance what is revealed about


character(s)

Track the character development of Bethune


himself

12

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Track how Bethune affects other characters in the


play

13

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Personal Response to Act Focus on the key events of the act and respond this may be through making
connections or commenting on a characters actions, ex whether you agree or disagree etc.

14

English 30-1

Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Bethune Response to Literature Assignment


Write an overall personal response exploring the character of Bethune. Use the Personal
Responses you have written for each act to inform your work. Make sure this is a polished
response discussing your ideas and providing specific examples from the text.

Comment on:

what you feel are his key character traits/personality

how these traits affect how others view/respond to him

how these traits lead to difficulties in his life, but also success

if you agree or disagree with him receiving the Order of Canada


why was it such a controversial decision?

At least one text-to-text connection, one text-to-self connection,


and one text-to-world connection you made while reading the
play

Read the speech written about him by Mao and use it as a


reference/source in your response

Due (by email to kirstenisherwood@pwsd76.ab.ca) by 11:59 p.m. on Friday December 19.

See the attached Response to Literature rubric for information on how your writing will be
assessed.

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Isherwood (Adapted from Edgington)

Thought and Understanding

Support

Insightful ideas
Evident understanding of
subtleties of text and topic
Perceptive and illuminating
interpretations

thoughtful ideas
well considered
comprehension of text and
topic
revealing and convincing
interpretations

relevant and straightforward


ideas
generalized comprehension
of text and topic
plausible interpretations

superficial ideas
weak comprehension of text
and topic
incomplete or literal
interpretations

absent or irrelevant ideas


ideas do not develop the
topic
little comprehension of text
or topic

Total: ____/15

Writing Skills

explicit, precise
and deliberately
chosen examples
strong connection
to ideas
maintained

relevant, accurate
and occasionally
deliberately chosen
examples
clear connection to
ideas maintained

adequate and
general examples
straightforward
connection to ideas
maintained

examples are often


inappropriate, a
restatement of
literature, or
repetitive,
contradictory or
over simplified
vague and/or
redundant
connection to ideas

irrelevant,
overgeneralized or
lacking examples
examples are
largely unrelated to
discussion

selection and use of words and


structures are effective
writing demonstrates confident control
of correct sentence construction,
usage, grammar and mechanics

selection and use of words and


structure are frequently effective
writing demonstrates competent
control of correct sentence
construction, usage, grammar and
mechanics

selection and use of words and


structures are occasionally effective
writing demonstrates basic control of
correct sentence construction, usage,
grammar and mechanics

selection and use of words and


structures are frequently ineffective
writing demonstrates faltering control
of correct sentence construction,
usage, grammar and mechanics

selection and use of words and


structures are ineffective
writing demonstrates lack of control of
correct sentence construction, usage,
grammar and mechanics

Percentage: ______%

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