“On Being a Cripple” is placed under the genre of autobiography because it focuses on a significant personal experience in Mairs’ past and draws out the meaning as she tells her story and reflects on her experiences. The key factors of an autobiographical essay include dramatic events or episodes, vivid details and narration, and an interweaving of narration with reflection on and interpretation of the essayist’s experiences (Norton xxvii). This essay focuses on Mairs’ experiences and personal struggles with multiple sclerosis.
Nancy Mairs was born in Long Beach, California in 1943. Throughout her life, Mairs has experienced numerous physical and emotional struggles. Mairs was hospitalized for six months in a state mental facility, suffering from a mix of agoraphobia and anorexia. At around the age of thirty, Mairs was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However, along with these struggles, Mairs has also experienced great success. She earned the M.F.A. in creative writing (poetry) in 1975 and the P.H.D. in English literature in 1984. “On Being a Cripple” was written i...
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