A Literary Analysis of Use of Force by William Carlos Williams

Categories: The Use of Force

Characterization is one of the most important tools in a writer's repertoire of literary devices. It is used as a means of conveying theme, mood, tone, and bringing the reader closer to the characters, demonstrating humanity or lack thereof. In the book The Use of Force by William Carlos Williams, the basic emotions, underlying motivations, and regression from civilized to uncivilized human behavior are illustrated in the main characters as they develop, are characterized, and are revealed to the reader.

It is obvious to the reader that hidden emotions and turmoil exist beneath the professional surface of the physician and the flushed skin of the little girl.

The way the physician speaks of how, they were spending three dollars on me, in an easily cynical and biting tone shows how he must conceal his feelings of contempt for the parents. He then goes on to notice certain things about the little girl, her unusually attractive quality for instance, illustrating inappropriate buried feelings.

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All this while the girl sits upon her fathers lap, seemingly inwardly, quiet, her feelings of hatred for the doctor and cool confidence in her ability to win calming her.

The basic motivation of man to win and overpower another is one of the most prominent things the reader can see as he or she reads through Use of Force. The particular motivation is exemplified in both the physician and the little girl as they both struggle for dominance over the other and use any means necessary to achieve such an end.

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As the physician says, I too had got beyond reason. I could have torn the child apart in my own fury and enjoyed it, his thirst, his need to win becomes obvious even to the most elementary of readers. And the girl, her determination and will to be victorious is evident in her irrational continuation of the struggle even after her mouth and tongue were bloodied with injuries.

Finally, the quick regression from humane treatment of the girl and civil thought to the lust for success over the other and the use of extreme force to achieve the goal is made clear as Williams writes the regression quickly, the mood of the struggle changing from simple frustration to almost burning rage in very end of the piece. Rationality no longer exists between the two adversaries, only the searing desire to win no matter what the cost, bodily injury or other. All that exists by the end of the story is, a longing for muscular release.

William Carlos Williams uses his methods of characterization to relate the experiences of the physician and the girl to the reader. He knows almost all people will identify with buried emotions, devouring motivations, and need for power as almost all people have such feelings buried deep within, no matter how calm, cool, professional, or flushed the outward appearance.

Updated: Apr 13, 2023
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A Literary Analysis of Use of Force by William Carlos Williams. (2023, Apr 13). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-literary-analysis-of-use-of-force-by-william-carlos-williams-essay

A Literary Analysis of Use of Force by William Carlos Williams essay
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