Summary of the Essay 'On Being a Cripple' by Nancy Mairs

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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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