Rhetorical Analysis Of Mary Fisher A Whisper Of Aids

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On August 19, 1992 Mary Fisher, an AIDS activist that has the disease herself, performs a speech titled “A Whisper of AIDS.” She addresses this speech to the Republican National Convention to raise awareness on the growing AIDS epidemic. She also addresses her speech to the ones who are currently living with AIDS and their close friends and relatives. By presenting this speech, she hopes to shed light on the truth of AIDS and show people that it does not know gender, race, or sexuality, and that it is not a punishment imposed on people by God for their “sinful actions.” Her usage of stylistic devices as well as the addition of personal stories and experiences from her life enhances the speech and allows it to resonate in not only the minds …show more content…

She explains to her audience, “I am one with the lonely gay man sheltering a flickering candle from the cold wind of his family’s rejection” (Fisher). The man that she fell in love with, married, and raised a child with was hiding his true sexuality up until this point. He cheated and transmitted this deadly disease unto her. Now they both are living unhappily; the two of them with an impending death sentence and him being deserted by his family. AIDS breaks and tears apart families, sometimes resulting in the abandonment of the diseased. Although she receives the love and support of her family, she too is still affected by the presence of AIDS; “My 84-year-old father...will not accept the premise that he cannot heal his daughter...My mother has refused to be broken” (Fisher). It is difficult for her family to accept the fact that she has AIDS and there is nothing they can do to help her but to let the disease run its course. They have remained strong thus far, but it does not change the fact that their daughter is slowly dying. Fisher recognizes and accepts that her time on earth is limited, and she explains, “I may not be here to hear their judgements, but I know already what I hope they are. I want my children to know that their …show more content…

She also uses powerful words in her speech that leave an impact on the audience, in addition to words that have similar meanings but sometimes different connotations. Fisher’s statement of, “This is not a distant threat; it is a present danger,” supports that AIDS is not a thing of the past nor a disease that is affecting people in a far away place. It is an epidemic that is occurring right in the United States, and has no end to its spread in the foreseeable future. In able to help insure that this message is received Fisher adopts a sense of desperation throughout her entire speech in hopes that the people listening will consider her words and embed them into their thoughts and future actions; “Whatever our role...we must act as eloquently as we speak else we have no integrity. My call to the nation is a plea of awareness.” She also makes sure to point out the difference between “compassion” and “pity.” Although the two words technically possess the same definition, which is to express sympathy towards another, the context that the words are used in and the association that is brought with them varies. “Pity” has a negative connotation attached to it because most use it in a way that makes the person they are referring to feel inferior, whereas having compassion for someone means that they

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