Change is Crippling In Nancy Mairs short story, “On Being a Cripple”, she reflects on her life handling her disability of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and how it has changed different aspects of her existence. She defines herself as a cripple despite the negative connotations the word may have. Over the past ten years, Mairs has had her MS slowly progress as her body deteriorates. She sees her life as fairly average, but seemingly small tasks have become difficult to her and has required help from her family. Despite their support, Mairs still fears that people's kindness is out of pity. The stigma around physical disfigurement and being crippled causes added suffering to her life. Although the disease dictates much of her existence, …show more content…
The drastic changes in Maris’ life forced her to reevaluate the way the thought about everyday existence. The way she goes about living is drastically different than those around her. Mairs commented on her own life saying, “Of late, I have begun to catch myself wondering how people can propel themselves without canes” (Mairs 67). She has become used to her disability and this has created a disconnect between her and the rest of the world. While others are free of even giving a thought to what she handles everyday, she has a adapted into a way of thinking that accommodates to her life. Even the way she perceived others interactions was changed and she feared that any act of kindness from others was out of pity and shame. The author has completely altered the way she interacts with the world because of just one single part of her life. People become used to thinking of their lives in a certain way, not objectively as just a part of society. Throughout her emotional journey, she had to accept who she was. Even as Mairs still suffers, she has learned to handle herself in the face of adversity. She is forced to handle the fact that there is little that she can do to combat her condition. In contrast to her feelings at the beginning of her journey when she focused on the amount that her disease was ruining her life, she became able to not let that define her. She is aware of
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In Nancy Mairs’ article for The New York Times, “Disability”, published in 1987, she expresses her distaste with the media's representation of handicapped people. Mairs, who struggled with multiple sclerosis herself, clearly and sharply conveys this disgust by stating, “I’m not, for instance, Ms. MS, a walking, talking embodiment of a chronic incurable degenerative disease.” (Mairs 13), and that she is actually, “the advertisers’ dream: Ms. Great American Consumer. And yet the advertisers, who determine nowadays who will get represented publicly and who will not, deny the existence of me and my kind absolutely”(Mairs 14). Mairs is greatly upset that disabled people are defined by their disabilities and, therefore, are underrepresented in public media. This might lead to one asking themselves, but why are they? And the answer, according to Mairs, is quite simple, “To depict disabled people in the ordinary activities of daily life is to admit that there is something ordinary about disability itself, that it may enter anybody’s life”(Mairs 14). Mairs concludes by pointing out how this effacement could have dangerous consequences for both disabled people and, as she called everyone else, TAPs (Temporarily Abled Persons) alike. Treating disabilities as an abnormal characteristic (as opposed to viewing them “as a normal characteristic, one that complicates but does not ruin human existence” (Mairs 15)) can cause one of these repercussions, as it makes the
In her essay “On Being a Cripple”, Nancy Mairs presents her audience with an honest inside view of her life and perspective as a cripple, a word she openly uses to define herself. She brings her world to us by discussing a wide variety of things including language, family, and humor, and how these all relate to her life. Through various stories and insights, she allows her readers to gain an understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities. She examines the public’s view of the disabled, as well as the views they have of themselves, and compares them to her own. She makes it clear that she is not to be defined solely by her disability. In discussing honestly her views, as well as
In the passage Nancy Mairs presents herself in a way which demonstrates that she has many characteristics of a strong woman. She includes tone and a high quality choice in words to describe herself and why she used the word “cripple” as a name for herself.
In “On Being a Cripple”, Nancy Mairs, an American poet and essayist, describes her personal battle with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the central nervous system with no known cure. She begins with a personal account of falling into a toilet because she loses control over several motions. Mairs prefers to be called a cripple rather than a disabled or handicapped person, although she acknowledges that this is not the same as others’ preference. She explains her journey from being a young, active child, to losing control of her body and developing a blurred spot in one eye in her late twenties. As her body continues to break down, Mairs tries to stay involved by participating in activities like bridge and
Someone who is crippled often receives pity and sympathy from others, but do cripples always want this? In this passage entitled “On Being a Cripple,” Nancy Mairs uses interesting word choice, repetition, and a sarcastic tone to touch upon a subject that most mature non-crippled Americans are not entirely comfortable with; using the so widely feared word “cripple” instead of the common “handicapped” or “disabled” to be polite or politically correct. Elaborating to a society, so infatuated with being politically correct, that using a word considered derogatory to most may be necessary according to exact definition is Mairs’s purpose in writing this passage.
Author of disability Nancy Mairs who’s a feminist and a cripple, has accomplished a lot in writing and teaching. Her remarkable personality shows in many of her essays especially in Disability which was first published in 1987 in the New York Times. In this essay, Nancy Mairs shows how disabled people are constantly excluded, especially from the media. By giving out facts and including her personal experiences, Mairs aims for making some changes regarding the relationship between the media and people with disabilities. Mairs thesis is shown implicitly in the first
In Nancy Mairs ' "On Being a Cripple," she deliberates the relationship between the English Language, American Society, and her struggle with multiple sclerosis (MS). Mairs criticizes people for wincing at the word "cripple," and using terms like “differently abled,” because they lack reality and accuracy. She equivalents society’s inability to accept crippledness with death, war, sex, sweat, and wrinkles. Through the usage of ethos, pathos, logos and other rhetorical devices, she effectively tells her story and proves that there is power in words, from which she could come to terms with a new fact of her identity, and to accept the incurability of her disease.
First, the writings of her journal show that the narrator is not convinced with her “rest cure” treatment. Her writings depict that her husband, John, continuously belittles her condition and concerns while she knows that her illness is real and more severe than he
In “On Being a Cripple,” Nancy Mairs describes her life as a “cripple,” being treated different for her multiple sclerosis. She describes how society views her as handicapped or disabled both which are terms that the author dislikes. Her viewpoint makes readers question their own beliefs on how the terms handicapped, disabled, or cripple influences a person to think differently about each term and its meaning. One of the reasons I chose this essay was because the author shows how different terms could affect the way society thinks about a person. Mairs believes that society often judge others based on their physical appearance and use the terms handicapped, disabled, or cripple to label. She argues that the outcome of this is creates an idea where being a cripple, or being disabled is considered a taboo where you're expected to be treated differently. Mairs claims that society i
C). Nancy Mairs keeps readers engaged by telling about everything that happened in her life. In addition, she engaged me by learning new information about her MS conditions. She describes the changes of her life from a normal life style since she was young until she become a cripple. The writer used reality examples and details that happened in every day’s life. For example, she has many sharp comments about
Mairs starts the essay by telling us about the incident where she became unbalanced and fell in the restroom, which led to her writing the essay. She admits to us how she fully accepts her disease and is not ashamed of it. She says, “ I am a cripple. I choose this word to name me.” From this, we can see that she wants people to identify
Author of disability Nancy Mairs who’s a feminist and a cripple, has accomplished a lot in writing and teaching. Her remarkable personality shows in many of her essays especially in Disability which was first published in 1987 in the New York Times. In this essay, Nancy Mairs shows how disabled people are constantly excluded, especially from the media. By giving out facts and including her personal experiences, Mairs aims for making some changes regarding the relationship between the media and people with disabilities. Mairs thesis is shown implicitly in the first and last
If you saw a person in the mall in a wheelchair, would you judge them? Or would you look at them like they are a normal human-being? People who have a disability whether they are physically disabled, mentally disabled, or learning disabled, are still themselves. Nancy Mairs was forty-three year old woman with multiple sclerosis. She wrote an essay, “Disability”, that explained her views of her physical disability.
In the essays “On Being a Cripple”, written by Nancy Mairs, and “Living Under Circe’s Spell”, written by Matthew Soyster, both authors strive to communicate to the reader what it is like to live with MS. Although both writers have a similar purpose, they both use exceptionally different methods of communicating their experiences with MS. Overall, Mairs’ essay proved to be more effective than Soyster’s, because of her varied use of rhetorical devices that all work together to create an effective argument. On the other hand, Soyster’s essay was less effective because he only relied on pathos to convince the readers of his argument.
Multiple sclerosis has conquered the lives of many of its victims, one of which includes Nancy Mairs. However, Mairs writes an essay describing her experience with the disease and how it has not affected her negatively, as society assumes about the disease’s effects. Mairs does not write her essay to make her audience feel pity for her disease, yet writes to allow people to be more accepting of the disease and of people that have it. She incorporates the word “cripple” to describe the strength MS gave her, rather than politically correct or polite words such as “handicapped” or “disabled.” Mairs’ rhetorical structure in her essay allow readers to see a courageous and empowered author in which she has the ability to persevere through experiences