Comparison/Analysis of “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid and “the Use of Force” by William Carlos Williams

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“The Use of Force” and “Girl” although very different in many ways both portray the same main idea. The idea is that sometimes you have to hurt the ones you love in order to save them from future pain. However, in doing this, an unexpected feeling of enjoyment seems to captivate whoever is causing the pain. This tactic of “Tough love” as an educational technique was very prevalent in the time periods these stories took place. Although in modern society “tough love” is seldom seen due to instructional books and magazines on how to love and raise your child, parents, and adults alike, inevitably reach a tipping point in which hurting the young one they love brings an eerie sense of satisfaction.

The short story “The Use of Force” is about a doctor making a house call to tend to a stubborn sickly young girl. The girl appears to have a sore throat but after the mother states that there had been an outbreak of diphtheria in her school the doctor attempts to move in for a closer look. The young girl, seemingly petrified of a throat examination, wont let the doctor near her. The father of the girl, who happened to be a fairly large man, couldn’t restrain her. This wasn’t because of a physical inability; the father couldn’t hold her down because of a mental fear of hurting his daughter. Despite the fact that his own daughter might be dying of a deadly disease he couldn’t bring himself to hurt the child even for a second to help her. The doctor, at this point “had already fallen in love with the savage brat”. His disgust for her had turned into an awkward kind of love, possibly due to a fear that she might actually die if he doesn’t help her. After another few failed attempts the doctor acts on a primitive impulse of rage and exhaustion overpowering the small girls jaw open, jamming a spoon down her throat, and finally accomplishing what he had went there to do.

“Girl” is a short story that appears to almost be a compilation of orders and demands dictated from a...
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