Summary Of Susan Sontag's Illness As Metaphors

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Metaphors and myths about illnesses like cancer and tuberculosis constantly besiege people in society according to Susan Sontag in the book Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. When someone becomes ill with cancer or TB, more often than not, they are negatively associated with the illness. Through Sontag’s medical research, opinions, observations, and viewpoint she dedicates her writing to end the myths that demoralize individuals. Cancer is a disease, not an evil condition that defines someone. Sontag explains how people with cancer should not feel cursed or punished, but instead see it as traveling to the “kingdom of sick.” Metaphors can help the general public understand difficult subjects and concepts, but become detrimental when people are defined by their illness or condition. A common misconception is “any disease that is treated as a mystery and acutely enough feared will be felt to be morally, if not literally, contagious” (Sontag 6). The cultural myths about diseases stigmatize and shame those affected and the illness itself. Cancer and TB can all be physically exhausting and sometimes even more emotionally draining because of the negative view society has. Over time…show more content…
The outside sources illustrate how cancer is viewed as restraining and shameful. The best way to truthfully comprehend cancer or TB is to disassociate the disease from metaphors. Another false impression people have about cancer is environmental factors “but once cancer is present, it cannot be reversed or diminished by a move to a better environment” (Sontag 16). TB is a bacterial infection, and cancer “is a disease of growth”. Throughout human history, TB has been regarded as a romantic disease and cancer has been known to be “de-sexualizing and thought to cripple vitality”. Sontag wants society to support and care for those affected by these diseases not continue the stigmas and
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