I hate missing school. I always come back to some mild form of chaos or crisis because the substitute did this or I said I was going to do that or so and so got into an argument or about 100 other things that can ruin the safe climate that I try to foster when I'm teaching my students.
The Use of Force by William Carlos Williams
Dr. Williams is one of my favorite author-poets in the world. He also wrote the poem The Red Wheelbarrow which holds a special place for me. In college I wrote a ten-page analysis essay on that poem. Yes, it is a 16 word poem and I wrote ten pages on it. And yes, that is me patting myself on the back. Pat pat pat.
So this Williams story is a short piece about a doctor who makes a house call to check out a little girl who is sick. The girl is dead set against the doctor looking into her throat, even though if she has diphtheria she could die. The parents hold her down and that doesn't work. The doctor starts out really loving the girl because of her resolve but then gets frustrated with her and eventually enraged. He finally pries her jaws apart and takes the throat culture where he sees the disease in her throat.
Story: 9 of 10
Williams has always written in a very accessible style and this is no different. The story is told from the doctor's point of view, first person, and the reader sees the doctor's increasing frustration toward the little girl. There is a lot of dialogue, both internal and external, but there are no quotation marks used by Williams, who used to be a medical doctor.
Teachability: 10 of 10
I've never taught this story before but I will. The theme of power is a good one and the question of what should people in power do when hurting or violating someone is truly for their own good. In today's society this is a gigantic question and one that could be discussed in class for days. This story is only about 1,500 words long so length isn't an issue.