This is Going to Hurt Just a little Bit – Stanza 5, 6

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Stanza 05

Oh, some people are unfortunate enough to be strung up by thumbs.
And others have things done to their gums,
And your teeth are supposed to be being polished,
But you have reason to believe they are being demolished.


  • Strung up
  • Gums

Questions & Answers

  1. Why are some people unfortunate?
    Some people are unfortunate at the dentist’s clinic because the unfeeling dentist pushes his thumbs forcibly on the teeth in pulling and shaking them.
  2. What does the patient expect from the dentist? How does the dentist betray this expectation?
    The patient wants to get his teeth polished by the dentist but he experiences excruciating pain as if his teeth and mouth got demolished.

Stanza 06

And the circumstance that adds most to your terror
Is that it’s all done with a mirror,
Because the dentist may be a bear, or as the Romans used to say,
Only they were referring to a feminine bear when they said it, an ursa.


  • The dentist may be a bear
  • Romans
  • They were referring to a feminine bear
  • Ursa

Questions & Answers

  1. A dentist uses a mirror to get a closer view of the inner teeth and gum. Why does it add to the terror?
    The poet fears to be with a dentist chiefly because the latter examins and pulls the teeth with the help of a tiny mirror.
  2. What does URSA point to? What is the connection?
    Ursa is the Latin word for bear. Both the dentist and a bear have the nature to dig into – while the dentist digs the mouth for repair, the bear uses its forearms and pointed mouth to eat its preys.

Stanza 07

But all the same how can you be sure when he takes his crowbar
In one hand and mirror in the other he won’t get mixed up,
The way you do when you try to tie a bow tie with the aid of a mirror,
And forget that left is right and vice versa?


  • All the same – At the same time
  • Vice versa – On the opposite side

Questions & Answers

  1. Why does the poet fear that the dentist could mix up?
  2. What goes wrong when one tries to tie a bow with the help of a mirror?

Stanza 08

And then at last he says, “that will be all,” but it isn’t because
He then coats your mouth from cellar to roof
With something that I suspect is generally used to put a shine on a horse’s hoof.


  • Cellar
  • Roof
  • Shine (n) –
  • Hoof

Questions & Answers

  1. Pick out two instances that point to the poet’s lack of trust in the dentist.
    The poet finds the dentist dishonest. Even when the dentist declares that his work was over, there remains some sort of additional work to be done. The poet suspects that the dentist’s coating-amalgam is a similar substance used for fixing a horse’ hoof.

Stanza 09

And you totter to your feet and think –
“Well, it’s all over now and after all, it was only this once.”
And he says, “Come back in three monce.”


  • Totter – Walk unsteadily
  • Monce – The word monce is a pretty old one and its meaning, “good, excellent,” etc. do not fit the context here. Does it mean three months? Or, three mornings?

Questions & Answers

  1. What does the poet feel when he walks out of the dentist’s?
    While walking out of the dentist’s clinic, the poet hopes that he will not return to the dentist again.

Stanza 10

And this, O Fate, is I think the most vicious circle that thou ever sentest,
That Man has to go continually to the dentist to keep his teeth in good condition
When the chief reason he wants his teeth in good condition is so
That he won’t have to go to the dentist.


  • Fate – Destiny
  • Vicious circle – A trap from which you cannot escape
  • Thou – You
  • Sentest – Sends

Questions & Answers

  1. What does the poet refer to as the vicious circle? Why does he think so?
  2. Why does the poet put the blame on God?
  3. What is the irony in one’s going to the dentist?
    One goes to the dentist with a sincere prayer and hope that he will be able to keep away from a dentist. In his attempt to keep his teeth fit so that he can keep away from a dentist, ironically, man has to go the dentist all the time.

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This is Going to Hurt Just a little Bit – Stanza 3, 4

Sensations and Responses