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In "On Being a Cripple", Nancy Mairs satirically talks about the English language and American society while including her life struggle with multiple sclerosis (MS). She begins by talking about her life and why she refers to herself as "crippled." Mairs believes that crippled is a more proper definition for her condition than other words like disabled, handicapped, or differently abled. These euphemisms for her condition cause people to view her as something she isn't. Mairs believes that these words describe no one because "Society is no readier to accept crippledness than to accept death, war, sweat, or wrinkles." She continues her story of multiple sclerosis and the hardships she endured. Mairs goes into detail about how her life has changed since her diagnosis and how she has coped with the disease. She includes her need for help by thepeople around her but also delves into the fact that she can still teach and perform arduous tasks. She talks about her dependence on her family and how good her family treated her. She says she is scared ."..that people are kind to me only because I'm a cripple." Mairs hates that our society is obsessed with physical appearance and normality. She states that, "anyone who deviates from the norm better find some way to compensate." This shows that she believes that American society has high expectations. She ends the essay by stating how she is getting used to having MS and how she isn't sorry anymore that she is a cripple. Mairs is thankful for what she has and the people who help her in her life. Overall, she is proud of herself and has recognized that life is what one makes it to be.Nancy Mairs's argument of defenition as it relates to the word "cripple" is a positive and explanatory definition, successfully defined by a cripple herself. In the author's essay, she discusses the reasons, explanations, judgments, flaws, and positives to being a "cripple". Nancy'sexplanation for calling herself a cripple is that to her it is a "clean word" and "straightforward and
precise". Mairs presents the social aspect towards the word cripple of which people "wince" at the word, as well as the social aspect towards the treatment of cripples which is generally around the lines of "faking". Nancy presents a strong and personal argument towards the positives and negatives of being a cripple.