Betty Ford: A Tragic Hero

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Most people know Betty Ford as the wife of the thirty-eighth president, Gerald Ford. She is also known for her controversial role of First Lady. Throughout her time as First Lady, she was very outspoken about her opinions; this gained her a lot of respect as she was one of the first First Ladies to get involved with politics. Betty Ford possesses the traits of a tragic hero because of her respected place as a presidents’ wife, her drug addiction, and the downfall that came with it (Betty Ford Contemporary). Elizabeth Anne Bloomer, commonly known as Betty Ford, was born in 1918 in the city of Chicago. Her family had ties in Grand Rapids, Michigan so they moved there. Betty wanted to be a dancer at a young age so when she was eight years old, she attended the Calla Travis Dance Studio. She was so proficient at dancing, she had her own dancing school while she was still attending high school. At the age of 16, her father died from carbon monoxide poisoning; this left her mother to support the family. Her mother’s struggle is said to have given Betty insight to the pay gap and inequality women of her time faced (Betty Ford Biography). After finishing high school, she attended the Bennington School of Dance in…show more content…
Betty showed a personal side to the media and country, with her simple and honest responses to interviews. Throughout her time as first lady, she made it clear that her main concerns were the disabled children, inequality and women’s rights, and the performing arts. However, a year later, Betty was diagnosed with malignant breast cancer and had a mastectomy. In light of the details regarding the Watergate scandal, the Fords wanted to be open and honest with the country about her health conditions. Her health condition brought awareness to many Americans, which in turn saved many lives. This was just one of the many ways she positively influenced the American people

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