Rhetorical Analysis of "On Being a Cripple"

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“I am a cripple”— as these words settle in the mind, they create unpleasant feelings. In fact Mairs knows all too well that unpleasant reality. Even though she recognizes that describing herself as a cripple is unflattering, she does so to create a difference between herself and others like her. She does not consider herself “disabled”, “handicapped”, or “differently abled” - just “crippled”. The word cripple has a tendency to make most people uncomfortable. Mairs however has grown accustomed to it and accepted it. She refuses to let it define her. Mairs is strong, assertive and declarative. Her assertion is noted when she says “I want them to see me as a tough customer”. In addition her strong will is evidenced as she proclaims her refusal to pretend “the only differences between you and me are the various and ordinary ones that distinguish any one person from another”. According to Mairs, “Cripple seems to me a clean word, straightforward and precise,”. Mairs believes that the word “crippled” most accurately describes her condition, and is content to refer to herself as one. While Mairs says that “Society is no readier to accept crippledness than to accept death, war, sex, sweat, or wrinkles” personally she acknowledges and accepts it wholeheartedly. She has chosen the word “crippled” deliberately because “disabled” , “handicapped” and “differently abled” seem to allude to an ever greater deficit than she agrees with. For starters, from Mairs’s point of view, “disabled” can be classified as any incapacity, either physical or mental. Based on the construction and eloquence of her essay, there appear to be no mental handicaps. In addition, “Handicapped” to Mairs is not a better descriptor. That term in her eyes implies that she has been put at a disadvantage on purpose. The rhetorical features found in Mairs work are evidenced in her tone,

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