Nancy Mairs On Being A Cripple

501 Words3 Pages
Nancy Mairs forces a sharp-witted and blunt tone on the reader in her essay, “On Being A Cripple.” A new perspective is explored, on being disabled as well as the word “crippled” which is found offensive by most of society. While keeping the piece light and relatable, she shines a light on the guilty pity thrown on the disabled, treatment no one asks for. Although it is a generally light piece, Mairs uses humor, anecdotes, and diction to improve the treatment of physically disabled. Humor- Mairs lives with multiple sclerosis, and when the reader realizes this it immediately makes them feel sympathy for her. She immediately extinguishes that reaction by using humor to lighten the mood, showing the reader that being crippled does not have to be such a depressing subject. When talking about falling backward in a bathroom stall she says, “...the old beetle-on-its-back routine” (Mairs 244). When she fell down she “...God doesn’t give bonus points for a limp” (Mairs 256). Humour is also evident in the author’s opening anecdote…show more content…
Instead of trying to politely mask society’s idea of being disabled, she goes straight into calling herself a cripple, “I am a cripple. I choose this word to name me” (244). Mairs does not try and hide what she is, and does not try to sugarcoat the idea of disabled people, she is not trying to be socially correct, yet trying to face what she is. Her word choice of “cripple” is not a shield, rather a motive to jump right into the thought. Mairs states, “People-crippled or not-wince at the word “cripple”...Perhaps I want them to wince” (245). She does not believe in just trying to sympathize what she has, or to even fool anyone. Her choice of the word “cripple” is a strategy she uses to confront the social issues regarding her
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