Words of Wisdom:

"let people beleive you are stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt" - Poin_dexter

"On Being a Cripple" Essay

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2010 06:44 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.6 
  • Words: 776
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In this excerpt from On Being a Cripple, Nancy Mairs’s courageous tone combined with her self-acceptance depicts the troubles of language utilized in present times in order to describe a person with a serious imperfection. Mairs discusses her straightforward title, a cripple, in order to explore the real meaning of being an individual and the voyage of accepting who you truly are. With the use of strong word choice, rhetorical structures, repetition, and great syntax, Mairs thrusts us into the world of uncertainty concerning one’s true identity. As the reader reaches the conclusion of the passage, the revelation that they are the ones who determine their own identity is uncovered, and the reader is able to “swagger” once again.
Using the compare and contrast mode, Mairs explains how each “synonym” for cripple manipulates reality. Mairs states, “‘Cripple’ seems to me a clean word, straightforward and precise. It has an honorable history, having made its first appearance in the Lindisfarne Gospel in the tenth century.” Cripple is the word that she ultimately uses to present herself, and really its purpose is to feed her confidence, since she says that it is a clean and precise word. Mairs refuses to hide from the truth. She knows that she has an imperfection, but doesn’t want a deceitful name to present herself. This is when she begins to compare the words, and starts with disabled and handicapped. Mairs says, “‘Disabled’ by contrast, suggests any incapacity, physical or mental. And I certainly don’t like ‘handicapped,’ which implies that I have deliberately been put at a disadvantage, by whom I can’t imagine (my God is not a Handicapper General), in order to equalize chances in the great race of life.” The last word she rants about is “differently abled,” and she backs up why it is an awful word to use by comparing it to the sugar-coated description of starving countries, “developing nations.” Mairs wanted the bravado, and having a word such as “differently abled”...


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