AP English III, Period 7
12 October 2012
Rhetorical Analysis of “A Whisper of AIDS”
In 1891, Voltairine de Cleyre wrote The Philosophy of Selfishness and Metaphysical Ethics, critiquing the selfish and egoistic mindset of society. This same mindset is critiqued by Mary Fisher in “A Whisper of AIDS”. She uses rationally emotional rhetoric in order to criticize this “self-ism” that exists in the world.
Fisher begins by speaking of the non-existent impacts of movements that have attempted to raise awareness about AIDS. She utilizes the word “despite” in consecutive phrases to show that “despite science and research” and “good intentions”, nothing significant has occurred because “the epidemic is [still] winning”. Through her usage of repetition, it is inferable that society has ignored these efforts due to the way of thinking that was scorched by de Cleyre. This ignorance from the public reveals how deeply rooted this “self-ism” is in our society. And to extend her point even further, she says that the “White House” has attempted to try to raise awareness about AIDS. Her reference to the government further exposes the stubbornness of society to change their selfish way of life. She tries to say that even with the government pushing for this cause, the public still refuses to take action. But even the government isn’t doing much. Fisher mentions the “campaign slogans” and “hopeful promises” that were made by the government with a sarcastic tone. This implies that the speaker believes that even our federal government has a mindset of selfishness. But this is only the beginning of her attack on society.
She goes on to blame society for the magnitude of the virus’s impacts. She says that by ignoring the virus and the people affected by it, society has “helped [the virus] along” and that we “have killed each other with our ignorance, our prejudice, and our silence”. Her usage of a list...