This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit - Ogden Nash


Summary / Review

This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit is a humorous poem by Ogden Nash.  It presents the experience of visiting a dentist in an exaggerated and hilarious manner.

The poet begins by saying that sitting in a dentist's chair with mouth wide open is one of the most undignified situations in life.  But our only hope then is that we won't have to do it again.  Dental torture is both mental and physical.  One is so tense that the clenched fist can even change the fortune lines on our palms.

The poet compares the mouth to a road that is being repaired.  The fearsome equipment used by dentists is compared to concrete mixers, drills and steam rollers.  They are enough to irk every nerve.  Even though your teeth are being polished it feels like they are being demolished. The most fearful fact is that the dentist is doing all these with the help of a mirror.  There is every  chance for him to mix up his left and right.

He then compares the dentist to a bear who mauls and suffocates its prey.  When you think that everything is over he coats your mouth with something awful.  Again you comfort yourself with the thought that it is only this once.  But just then he tells you to visit again after three months.

The poem ends with the thought that visiting the dentist is a vicious circle.  You go to a dentist to keep your teeth in good condition.  The reason why you want to keep your teeth in good condition is to avoid visiting a dentist.  But for that you have to visit him. You go to a dentist so that you don't have to visit him again.

The poet coins certain words, to sound archaic and bring some mock seriousness to the poem.   This adds to the humorous nature of the poem.  Even though the rhyme scheme is not clearly defined, there are a lot of rhyming words in the poem like physical, mental and dental which sound humorous in the context.  Similes are used effectively to add to the beauty and the humor.

Write a note on the title of the poem 'This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit'

Before carrying out a painful procedure, usually doctors tell the patients, 'this is going to hurt just a little bit' in order to warn them.  But even though the doctor says it is going to be just a small pain, the patients expect it to be rather painful.  So the statement is a little ironic.  Further we can interpret the title as a warning to dentists, as the poet is making fun of them.  It may hurt them a little bit.  As the title of a humorous poem, it is a really apt one.


'This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit' is a poem about the experience of visiting a dentist.  Do you have any similar experience?  Write in about 100 words.

I was always terrified of going to the dentist. Just the thought of having someone poking around in my mouth with all those sharp instruments was enough to make my palms sweat. So when I finally mustered up the courage to make an appointment, I was a complete nervous wreck.

As I sat in the dentist's chair, I could feel my heart racing and my hands shaking. The dentist, sensing my anxiety, tried to put me at ease by making small talk. But as she leaned in closer to examine my teeth, I let out a blood-curdling scream that echoed through the entire office.

The dentist jumped back in surprise and asked if I was okay. Between gasps for air, I managed to blurt out that I was just really, really afraid of needles. The dentist chuckled and assured me that she wasn't going to use any needles during the cleaning.

I let out a sigh of relief and apologized for my outburst. From that day on, I made sure to always let the dentist know about my fear of needles, and they were always extra gentle with me during my appointments.



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