Having read Mairs’ “On Being a Cripple,” it can be noted that Bogan’s epigraph is found to be perfectly appropriate. It is plain that the epigraph introduces the possibility of an escape from an implied predicament, which in this narrative, happens to be the author’s condition which she openly acknowledges as she writes “I am a cripple. I choose this word to name me” (Mairs, 159). However, it remains as a mere idea, something to be entertained. The first statement which defines that freedom from a burden can easily be devised.
The confinement or the burden may be clear-cut and tangible as the author’s physical disability; the escape, however, can come in the form of a cure, an outlook, or geographical relocation. Initially, this reader is given to think that perhaps the easiest escape is to run away from everything and wish fervently that an intangible confinement will not follow you, to shed problems by simply changing the address. That’s understandably a very basic, human preconception. It sometimes works.
But more often than it does, it may be best to stay dismal, especially if what you are running from is a condition or an issue unbound by territory. It could also mean withdrawing from people you see everyday, shutting out family, your spouse, as a defense mechanism to avoid being hurt as recounted by Mairs: “Most twenty-two- and nineteen-year-olds, like George and me, can vow in clear conscience, after a childhood of chicken pox and summer colds, to keep one another in sickness and in health so long as they both shall live.
Not many are equipped for catastrophe: the dismay, the depression, the extra work, the boredom that a degenerative disease can insinuate into a relationship. And our society, with its emphasis on fun and its association of fun with physical performance, offers little encouragement for a whole spouse to stay with a crippled partner. ” (p. 163) Another type of escape that is next entertained is any meansof cure. As Mairs complains on page 164, “because I hate being crippled, I sometimes hate myself for being a cripple.
” This being the case, it is not uncommon for people to go to great lengths only to be disappointed. We are led to believe that this is a way for us to escape just the same – escape death, that is. For most people, it is nothing to spend a fortune just to have a family remain a vegetable until the end. That kind of escape is nothing compared to the atrocity of dying! And there are few who would even consider “death as more an escape” – from pain, humilitation, wasting away without event (Mairs, 166). It appears that anything is so much better than the current situation, and the cost of an escape is miniscule.
As often is the case, a change of outlook is usually opted as the last resort, without knowing that it is by far the most enlightening solution that can even defy location and medicine. This reader would definitely agree that a positive outlook – and a good sense of humor – is the best escape, if it could ever be considered as one. On the contrary, it is more a resignation from the aggressive attempts at escaping. On one’s sense of humor, Mairs remarks that it is “the easiest to lose and the hardest to survive without” (Mairs, 160).
That may be, but it can also be easily revived once we stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Once we free ourselves by taking stock of what we still have instead of grumbling about our losses, it will begin to dawn that it is searching and spending nothing on an escape actually is nothing compared to letting go of the burden. As Mairs writes, “Months and even years went by without catastrophe, and really I was awfully busy…. And I hadn’t the time, let alone the inclination, to devote myself to being a disease. ” (p. 167)
Finally, the epigraph drives the nail home about how the author approached the conflict of her narrative, which is centrally based on experience. It provides the reader a hunch as to how a solution or a particular transition can be offered and accepted and finally be applied. As Mairs writes her response to “the cosmic deal” beautifully, she declares that “I might as well do the job myself. Now that I’m getting the hang of it” (Mairs, 168). It is a fine denuoement, which marks a closure defined by a wonderful sense of being. Work Cited Mairs, Nancy. “On being a cripple. ” The Search for Self and Personal Values.
Courtney from Study Moose
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