Rhetorical Analysis of Being a Cripple

Topics: Cripple Pages: 2 (761 words) Published: November 4, 2012
Someone who is crippled often receives pity and sympathy from others, but do cripples always want this? In this passage entitled “On Being a Cripple,” Nancy Mairs uses interesting word choice, repetition, and a sarcastic tone to touch upon a subject that most mature non-crippled Americans are not entirely comfortable with; using the so widely feared word “cripple” instead of the common “handicapped” or “disabled” to be polite or politically correct. Elaborating to a society, so infatuated with being politically correct, that using a word considered derogatory to most may be necessary according to exact definition is Mairs’s purpose in writing this passage. From the very first sentence of her passage, Mairs’s use of the word “cripple” instantly shows how comfortable she is with a word that many people would never even contemplate saying aloud. She immediately draws attention to her passage by using this overlooked word in a short bold statement. She takes this word and makes it known to the audience that the use of it in her presence is not only okay, but it’s her preference that it be used to describe her. Mairs states “As a cripple, I swagger.” This powerful statement gives the audience a sense that she is not afraid, embarrassed, or ashamed of what she is. Instead, she accepts her condition, makes the most of it, and wears the title on her back with pride. She also says “Perhaps I want them to wince,” showing the audience that she purposely uses the word cripple knowing people will look at her as if she was using an offensive term. By her saying this, it can be depicted that she doesn’t mind, and wants, to stand out in her own unique way. When Mairs says “It has an honorable history,” (referring to the word “cripple”) she offers a different perspective of a word often thought of as something unfortunate. She does this in order to show the audience it isn’t abrupt to use this word, and it should be more commonly used. Mairs’s repetitive use of the word “cripple”...
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