"On Being a Cripple", by Nancy Mairs

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“On Being a Cripple”, Nancy Mairs

In her essay “On Being a Cripple”, 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. She brings her world to us by 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. In discussing honestly her views, as well as through humor, Mairs opens up her essay to a wide audience. Not only does she reach out to the general population, but also allows others in her situation to consider themselves. Nancy Mairs was born in 1943 in Long Beach , CA , and was raised in Boston . Although she describes herself as never being good at sports, she claims to have been a “normally active child” (233). She began experiencing the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis at 28, and was initially misdiagnosed with a brain tumor. At 29, she was correctly diagnosed, and has proceeded to live her life as normally as possible. She taught classes at Salpointe Catholic High School, the University of Arizona, and UCLA. Both she and her husband have retired, but continue to makes public appearances on the topic of grief and mortality (Biography). As she brings up several times during her essay, she has not allowed her disease to take over her life....
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