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The Use Of Force Analysis

1123 words - 5 pages

In his short story “The Use of Force,” Williams Carlos Williams puts a bad taste in your mouth about how the doctor acts towards the little girl known as Mathilda. He actively grasps her jaw, holds her down, and ends up making her mouth bleed. When people read this story for the first time, they could see the doctor as a cruel person who does not care for the well-being of children, or even that he does not like children and wants to hurt them. However, I believe that the doctor is justified in his actions of force and should be commended for his successful diagnosis.
Before we can get into the nitty gritty of the doctors situation, we have to talk about some background about how ...view middle of the document...

They both immediately say “no … no she says her throat don’t hurt her” (7) but neither of them actually has seen any evidence of a sore throat or not so they are just going off what their daughter has told them. We learn that “as it happens [there] had been a number of cases of diphtheria in the school” (11) and because of this information the doctor decides to take a look at the girls throat anyway just to make sure. He smiled in his best professional manner and asked Mathilda if he could look at her throat for a brief moment but she did not respond. After he went in for the first try she knocked off his glasses “with one catlike movement” (17) and from that moment he knew that she was hiding something. He says with gusto to the parents, “she might have diphtheria and possibly die of it. But that’s nothing to her” (19).
Diphtheria is a deadly disease that comes with the symptoms of a sore throat, a light fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils along with short quick breaths. The doctor in the story already was given the information that the child had a light fever. Now that he knows that she is hiding something by not letting him check out her throat, he has to fulfill his duty as a doctor and make sure that she won’t possibly die in a couple of hours because of diphtheria. With the knowledge that “Her breaths however were coming faster and faster” (20) the doctor states, “I had to do it. I had to have a throat culture for her own protection” (20). He then asks for the help of the father to hold her down so that he can have an easier time with the opening of the mouth to examine the throat.
The next engagements between the doctor and the girl are what makes people think that the doctor is a mad man who wants to hurt children. The doctor orders the father to “put her in front of your lap … and hold both her wrists” (24). After this the girl starts to shriek and even the father now is convinced that this needs to happen. He...

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