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Essay on A Hidden Hero in William Carlos Williams’ The Use of Force

Decent Essays
A Hidden Hero
The doctor in William Carlos Williams’ The Use of Force ultimately saves Mathilda’s life but under what motive? His motive to win the battle against her or the motive to actually try to cure her? The fact that Mathilda’s life is on the line brings out the heroic attributes of the doctor in the story. In the end, even though the doctor has malicious thoughts, the doctor is a hero because he ultimately saves Mathilda’s life and continues with helping Mathilda despite her every attempt to deter the doctor and refuse his help.
From the beginning, the doctor was placed in a hostile situation where the family “[wasn’t] telling [the doctor] more than they had to,”(1) while Mathilda was “eating [him] up with her cold, steady eyes”
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The doctor contemplates “[desisting] and coming back in an hour or more”(4) but because of his previous experiences, he knows the risk of Mathilda dying.
But isn’t it true that the doctor “could have torn the child apart in [his] own fury and enjoyed it”? True, but this is merely a thought, the doctor never says it out loud or performs the action, it was just an intrusive thought like many others in the story. Throughout the entire story the doctor’s actions are amplified by William Carlos Williams’ over-exaggeration and the doctors thoughts to make saving the girl only an ulterior motive, because the girl is seen more and more of as an enemy. The story without calling Mathilda a “savage brat”(3) or describing how “she had fought valiantly”(4) helps the doctor’s true motive resurface again. Abraham Lincoln says “Actions speak louder than words.” So by analyzing the doctors actions alone, the message sent is that he is trying his best to save a girl who won’t cooperate with him.
Whether it’s his actions or his thoughts, the doctor’s
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