Critical Essays

Critical Essays - Jae Shin Emily Carpenter Rhetoric R1B 9...

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Jae Shin Emily Carpenter Rhetoric R1B 9 June 2010 Immune System as Factory for War What is our immune system? More particularly, what terms do we typically use to describe it? We may speak of it as an intricately designed system, a fighting force that keeps the body fortified against invaders such as bacteria, virus, and even cancer. In this conceptual schema, antigens and T-cells are warriors that fight to eliminate a possible threat to the stronghold of the body. In the article “Healing Heat: Harnessing Infection to Fight Cancer”, Uwe Hobohm employs the metaphor of immune system as factory for war in order to portray the actions that our body, specifically the defense mechanism, performs when it is infected with cancer. The article argues that, contrary to our conventional wisdom, our immune system “does battle cancer” (Hobohm 1) – given the right signals and production of certain cells. By adapting and conceptualizing the immune system as an armory for production of these specific cells that restrain cancer, the article structures, at least in part, what our body does and how our body reacts when battling malignant disease by the concept of war. To give an idea of how the immune system represents a factory for war, Hobohm utilizes words associated with combat and argues his point in terms of war. For instance, he argues that the immune system, contrary to traditional beliefs, does “battle” against cancer, that our body can better “optimize our defenses” (1) to fend off malicious disease. Here it is important to note that it’s not the immune system that is directly involved in the conflict but its products – the antigens and T-cells – who are the soldiers that “infiltrate in and out of the
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tumor” (2) and confront the disease face-to-face. The immune system “generates” (3) and “employs” these evolutionarily “younger and more customized” soldiers to “attack threats” (3). By personifying the immune system as a producer of warriors and armoring it with customization, Hobohm gives the system and its creations the ability to combat as well as the adaptability they require in order to properly and fully, shield our body not only from invading forces such as bacteria and viruses but from the insurgent cancer cells as well.
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