Irony And Symbols In The Use Of Force By William Carlos Williams

The story, use of force, is about a hardworking and admirable country physician who is so concerned about a young girl, known as Mathilda Olson. Due to the outbreak of diphtheria at the local school, Mathilda’s parents got so nervously concerned and summoned the doctors to come and check on their daughter. The doctor, due to his high level of concern, had to use his customary professions to check if the young girl had a sore throat. The young girl, nonetheless, refused to do it willingly, and the physician had to compel her. He informed her father to help him as he dipped a spoon into her mouth to confirm the presence of the sore throat. Thus, the major theme that is brought out transparently is the use of force in the interpersonal relations.

Regarding particular aspects of work applied by the author, the use of symbols, and various styles such as irony are very vivid. In this context, the use of situational irony is brought out clearly. The use of force does not imply a contrary intention but rather is a way by which the doctor attempts to defend his acts, judgments, and beliefs pertaining the health conditions of the child. Situational irony is supported when the doctor said, ‘‘I held the girl’s head with my left hand and attempted to remove the tongue depressor from her teeth. She, however, fought back with much resistance”. However, the doctor had much anger toward the child. The use of the spoon is a clear symbol of anger that the Physician had towards the young lady because of her resistance. The doctor said that he could have injured the child in his arms and he enjoyed it. It was his pleasure attacking the child due to her resistance. His face was burning with it, and he claimed that the little child was being protected from her idiocy.

Another critical use of the symbol is the use of the splintered tongue in the expression of the doctor’s level of tolerance. After the wooden depressor was broken, the doctor was left with no option but to ask for a spoon. The two symbols, however, are not a representation of the ill intent but an attempt to achieve an act of humanity by the doctor. They are a clear indication of how sometimes stun actions may be taken to salvage given situation that may pose detrimental outcomes if left unchanged, for instance, the young girl could have died because of her resistance. The doctor alleged, “Then I grasped the child’s head with my left hand and tried to get the wooden tongue depressor between her teeth. She fought with clenched teeth, desperately!” Irony as a style is also evident when the doctor still smiled despite his anger. The doctor as well admired the strength of the young girl and how she disapproved her parent’s tactics. He said that in spite of everything, he was already in love with that savage brat. “The child’s beauty and the penetrating stares make an immediate make an impression on him”. The quote indicates how the doctor had a great concern for the young girl and had to do everything to help her. Thus, all the symbols and styles described above are used to reinforce the theme of the use of force. Many professional articles have aired their ideas on the use of force story. In the analysis of such articles, many say that the use of force does not spend more time on the unnecessary descriptions but make a direct focus on the message.

The use of force by the doctor does not indicate ill intent but just prudent efforts to salvage the little girl from the terrible situation of diphtheria. Hence, the story can be applied to any social status at any point in time, making it timeless. The content is also well thought out, insightful; fast-paced and can trigger the mind of the reader to act swiftly in a time of dilemma. “The doctor himself oscillates between professional roles with an emphasis on social welfare, money exchange and controlling authority, and more basic impulses.” The kind of oscillation and conflict is well dramatized in the way the doctor approaches the situation. The doctor felt that he had firm authority and therefore was not pleased with the young girl’s resistance. The doctor also had a robust and intense feeling of urge to help the child through the keen diagnosis of her condition. In his attempt to promote the social welfare of the young girl, he applies force to salvage her from a condition that may lead to her death. In his mind, the doctor has a dilemma, in deciding to let the girl go, but he also remembers that making that decision would mean the death of this young girl.

Thus, he had to iron out such conflicting ideas in his mind. The doctors said “I felt that it would be better to stop and come back later, but I was beyond reason” The doctor, out of his anger, asked for a spoon that was a makeshift tongue depressor that young lady could not destroy. The doctor, however, persisted even though Mathilda’s mouth was bleeding. This is a clear indication of conflict and the desire to promote humanity. 

09 March 2021
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