What is the major conflict in "The Use of Force"? What causes it? How is it resolved?

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"The Use of Force" by William Carlos Williams is a short story about a doctor paying a house call to a poor rural family. Their daughter is ill and although the doctor's modest fee is difficult for them to afford, they are very worried about their child. The...

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"The Use of Force" by William Carlos Williams is a short story about a doctor paying a house call to a poor rural family. Their daughter is ill and although the doctor's modest fee is difficult for them to afford, they are very worried about their child. The doctor is also worried because there has been a diphtheria outbreak in their community. Not only is diphtheria highly infectious but it can also be life-threatening, especially for children. Thus it is very important that the doctor be able to look at the child's throat to determine whether she actually does have diphtheria.

The young child is trying to avoid being examined and becomes hysterical, struggling almost to the point of self-harm to avoid letting the doctor look into her throat. Eventually the doctor succeeds in examining her and notes that she does have diphtheria, resolving the conflict, although he feels very uncomfortable about having used physical force.

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