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The story is simple. A doctor tries to perform his responsibility to open a little girl’s mouth and check if she’d got diphtheria, with the girl fiercely defending and the girl’s parents being more of a hindrance than a helper.

The story was used by the professor to illustrate how a plot function in a short story, so its interpretation awaited being done till I found the teacher and talked. Through the conversation, I found myself thinking too much about the doctor’s dark side–be a monstrous morbid adult who enjoys the seesaw battle with the “damn little brat”, enjoying the blind fury, wiping away the feeling of adult shame, bred of a longing for muscular release. I thought the doctor tends to stand on a high moral ground, criticizing the girl and her parents’ noncooperation, and win the game.

Later, I was conversed to the opposite.

As a doctor, his character is to perform his duty, to save people, instead of acting like a normal person who has no certain identity fight with a stray dog. The “damn little brat” is uttered only because the girl refused the doctor’s willingness to help, the doctor feel his kindness lost in the middle of the battle. The doctor actually holds full heart for the sick child, but hold passive opinion for her parents, who were hesitant all the time thus failed to performed the duty of parents. They should have determination and decisiveness to inspect the girl’s well-being way before they called the doctor, or they should at least help the doctor perform his duty, to be firm and help the doctor open the girl’s mouth. Instead, the parents became the impetus of two rival sides, making the child more nervous and frightening by constantly blaming the child for not listening to the doctor. Technically they’re the impetus which push the conflict to become bigger and eventually led to the climax. The climax is perceived as “anti-climax” as it writes mainly about the deadlock throughout the story and appear the climax near the end.

The final part is different from traditional short story, which often arranges a paragraph or two to describe the collapsing ending, but this short story goes away from traditions and seems to start another new conflict–the girl tries to fight back.

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