Nancy Mairs: A Perspective on Disability

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Riley King
Mrs. Wombles
English 1301
7 April 2013
Nancy Mairs
“Here is my troubled body, dreaming myself into life: a guttering candle in a mound of melted wax, or a bruised pear, ripe beyond palatability, ready for the compost heap” (Mairs). Nancy Mairs is a shining example of how mentally strong and passionate a person with an extreme physical disability can be. She refuses to indulge in the societies way of feeling sorry for those who are unfortunate, as in her case. Mairs is an independent individualist who refuses to seek refuge for her "crippled" body. She is accompanied by a just as strong husband/caretaker who goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to taking care of his spouse.

Nancy Mairs presents her audience with an honest inside view of her life and perspective as a cripple, a word she openly uses to define herself. Mairs constantly calls herself a “cripple” because disabled or not, the word “crippled” can make a person wince (Mairs). She brings her world to us, discussing a wide variety of things including language, family, and humor, and how these all relate to her life. Through various stories and insights, she allows her readers to gain an understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities. She examines the public’s view of the disabled, as well as the views they have of themselves, and compares them to her own. She makes it clear that she is not to be defined solely by her disability. Not only does she reach out to the general population, but she also reaches out to those in a similar situation as herself. She helps anyone with a disability really understand how able a disabled person can be.

“Having George participate in my care, calls me into life. It says, despite your losses, despite your limitations, you belong here with us and we want you to stay. We want you to stay enough that we're willing to participate in the labor that it takes” (Mairs). That is possibly the most important motivation for caregiving: to...
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