On Being a Cripple: the Lessons of Losses and Gains

Topics: Disability, Nancy Mairs, Person Pages: 3 (1252 words) Published: February 23, 2011
On being a cripple: the lesson of losses and gains.
In spite of the rapid medicine progress in the last centuries many different incurable diseases still threaten human society. Some of them are deadly; the others develop slowly but restrain the life of a human in various ways. Often sick people just have to put up with the hope to be cured and to accept their situation. However, they do have choices to resign themselves to the disease completely or to look for the ways to cope with it and continue living. Handicappped people can adjust to the life of the society or cut themselves off of it. It is not easy to find alternatives for things that are no longer available to sick person because of his or her inabilities induced by a disease. The simplest way would be the one of least resistance : take to bed and let the life pass on. What causes some people to yield to circumstances and others to accommodate themselves to a new life? The main factors include social status and individual characteristics. The support from family and friends is significant for disabled people: lonely ones are less likely to adapt themselves to the high expectations of the society. Personality traits such as strength of will and optimism are also the determinant factor of a person's choice. In the autobiographical essay "On Being a Cripple" by Nancy Mairs, the author shares her experience of having the disease called multiple sclerosis, a serious injury which has the long list of effects. The main point of the essay is the idea that hardship such as chronic devastating disease teach us the important life lessons of losses and gains. The main thing is to "[get] the hang of it"(Mairs 39) In the beginning of the essay, Mairs states the reasons to call herself cripple which reveal her full understanding and mental acceptance of her position, the first step to cope with the problem. The first paragraphs reveal the author's honesty and realistic view on the situation. She chooses to call...
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