Was Mary Mallon a victim or villain?
Mary Mallon was a woman of Irish descent who came to the United States as an immigrant to start a new life in 1886. She worked as a cook in a house where wealthy families came to celebrate their vacation. She was a healthy carrier of typhoid and made the guests sick and they died because of her. Although science had not been developed enough yet and she was tried unfairly it did not make her only a victim. Mary Mallon transformed from victim to villain. When she decided not to report to the police and return to cooking. Mary Mallon was a victim when she was quarantined for the first time. Science had not been developed enough yet to prove and explain what healthy carriers really were and if they existed at all. She believed that she could not be a carrier without being sick. At the time she was asked by George Soper, a researcher who specialized in investigating where diseases come from, to cooperate to do a test with him, which she did not want to do. Soper implied that she might carry the bacteria and be the cause of the vacationers in the house getting sick. But because she was not sick herself she did not believe a word he said and ignored him. Mary had no reason to believe she could be a typhoid carrier. At the time the theory was; you either have typhoid and are really sick or you do not. The same applies to spreading it. She at least would have to be very sick in order to spread it. No one knew about healthy carriers, who like her, were healthy and yet carried the disease with them their whole lives and could also spread it. They did not get sick themselves because their immune system had beaten the bacteria. Therefore, when police officers came to arrest her and put her in quarantine without trial, she really did not know what was happening to her and why. They told her that she was a healthy carrier and had made people sick, but why would she believe this? It was a really novel...
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