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Susan Sontag 's The Way We Live Now

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In “The Way We Live Now” Susan Sontag narrates the story of the AIDS diagnosis of an unnamed man and explores fear, anxiety and uncertainty in his friends’ reactions to his diagnosis. The story is set in a conversation mode to reveal the fear and stigma of society surrounding AIDS. In my essay I will examine how Sontag’s story highlights varied ways through which people who are close to or at least know an AIDS patient react to his diagnosis.
In her short story Sontag uses point of view to reveal how the uninfected are affected by the AIDS. The uninfected have a daunting task of dealing with attitudes and perceptions of the affected. The story opens with the conversation between Max, Ellen, Greg, Tanya and Orson:
At first he was just
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Although many victims try to keep up on medication and doctor’s appointments, they still fear and infect the fear to friends. They are likely to relate any slight symptoms to HIV/AIDS as Brashers quoted, “A headache must be interpreted by the HIV-positive individual: although it might result from common tension” (Brashers et al. 65) and moreover in Quentin’s world, it is like that there are no serious diseases apart from HIV/AIDS. Further the Sontag’s story also exposes the contribution of doctors in spreading the misinformation when the disease was first discovered, as Kate pointed out to Aileen: “They’re not even segregated in the hospital anymore, as Hilda observed, there’s nothing on the door of his room warning visitors of the possibility of contagion, as there was a few years ago” (Sontag).
In the second place people who have acquaintances with someone living with HIV and AIDS believe that everyone is at risk and should get to know their status. This is confirmed by Stephen response to Aileen, who had indicated that she is out of risk. Stephen is highly doubtful and instruct her that she should consult a doctor. Again when Quentin tried to assure Jan that she is not at risk, Ellen rejects the notion. As she says, “That’s not the point, and possibly untrue, my gynecologist says that everyone is at risk, everyone who has a sexual life, because sexuality is a chain
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