William Carlos Williams “The Use of Force”

Length: 4 Pages 1015 Words

William Carlos Williams “The Use of Force” deals with a variety of emotions felt by a doctor during a house call. The story begins when a physician is summoned to make a house call on a family with whom he has had no prior contact. He quickly sizes up the situation: the household is poor but clean; the patient is a female child whose parents are nervously concerned, dependent on and yet distrustful of the doctor. The child's beauty and penetrating stare make an immediate impression on him. Concerned that diphtheria may be the cause of illness, he uses his customary professional manner to determine whether the child has a sore throat. The girl, however, won't open her mouth. She fights him off and all attempts to cajole her into compliance fail. He forces the girl's father to hold her down, while he manages to pry open her mouth after a long battle. She does, in fact, have diphtheria. “The Use of Force” is a story that employs the use of connotative language to convey its socially relevant theme within a brief conflict. William Carlos Williams uses situational irony to support his theme as seen in the quote, “Then I grasped the child's head with my left hand and tried to get the wooden tongue depressor between her teeth Continue...


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And there it was - both tonsils covered with membrane. Others must be protected against her. As seen the girl is sick and now the doctor will be able to save her but was it worth the blood the girl bled, the answer to this question is Williams theme and he conveys it in an insightful manner. Although the interpretations are few this story does pose a question to which man has still not answered. "The Use of Force utilizes conflicts to encompass its message. Finally the main conflict consist of the doctor and the parents of the sick girl fighting their conscious and forcing her to open her mouth. This 'man versus man' struggle is what is most apparent to the reader, since it relates to various situation on a global scale as well as to personal conflict. This spoon represents the rage he feels towards this girl seen here, "I could have torn the child apart in my own fury and enjoyed it. The splintered tongue depressor is a contextual symbol of the doctors tolerance level. However a more relevant conflict consist of the doctor fighting his urge to impose his own beliefs onto the parents of the child he was examining. William Carlos Williams "The Use of Force is a compact insightful story that does not spend time on frivolous descriptions instead focusing on its message. She fought, with clenched teeth, desperately! But now I also had grown furious - at a child. The action taken by the doctor seems appropriate for the situation but resolution is not part of the message of the story, rather it is the actions leading to it that hold the theme of the story.