Major English XII Content
The Use of Force | Major English
“The Use of Force” by William Carlos Williams addresses the exertion of physical superiority over others, asking the fundamental question: is it ethical to hurt someone for his own good? More importantly, is there shame in enjoying it? The narrator, a doctor making housecalls in a setting that is likely the 19th-century (as hinted by the author’s minute details, such as the three-dollar charge for the service), is host to conflicting feelings about his own actions-forcibly gathering the throat culture from the stubborn child he is examining-and expresses shame at his perverse pleasure in doing so. The story is fundamentally ordered by the passive descriptions of the surrounding environment and the agitated conclusion that absorbs those supporting details to present the speaker’s view that, though there are reasons often justifiable, what compels the use of force against others isn’t simply altruism alone.