"The Use of Force" is a short story by modernist poet William Carlos Williams. It's about a doctor's house visit to a poor family in which the daughter is gravely ill with diphtheria. The stubborn child refuses to open her mouth for a throat culture. She's ashamed of her illness and distrusts the compassionate doctor whom the mother describes to her daughter as a "nice man" albeit a complete stranger. The parents try holding their daughter down while the doctor attempts to look inside her mouth. The doctor tries sweet-talking the brat, but she won't bite. The doctor actually likes and respects her stubborn distrust and independence, even after she knocks his glasses off his face. Her parents fare no better. The father tries holding her down, but his own shame and fear of hurting his daughter weaken his attempt. The daughter becomes hysterical, shrieking and biting the doctor's wooden tongue compressor. The compassionate doctor, who had formerly prided himself on being calm and rational, finally gets feed up. He tells the mother to get him a metal spoon. In a final "unreasoned assault," the doctor overpowers the child amidst her kicking and screaming. He pries her mouth open with the spoon and her swollen tonsils are revealed. The doctor enjoys dominating the child but feels ashamed for doing so.
Ultimately, the story begs questions about altruism, utilitarian ethics, and even military force/war.
Recently, I mounted a toilet paper dispenser on my bathroom wall that I'd purchased from IKEA. It looks like this. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/14380185/. The thing is designed like a bear trap. The chrome plate is tightly spring-loaded with a sharp-toothed end that kept snapping down on my hand as I tried holding it up with one hand and screwing the back in with the other. I felt like the doctor in WCW's "The Use of Force." I shrieked a few cocksuckers and motherfuckers every time it snapped down on the back of my hand. I finally got the thing secured onto the wall but not after loss of blood and flesh. I felt all too proud conquering this chrome-plated, Swedish-engineered death trap. Ultimately, the experience begged questions about masculinity and labor. The fact that I compared the far-from-manly task of mounting a toilet paper dispenser to a work of literary fiction pretty much makes me a giant pussy and here are photos of the wound to prove it.