Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor in 1978, while suffering from breast
cancer herself. In her study she reveals that the metaphors and myths
surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the
suffering of the patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper
treatment. By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, Sontag
shows cancer for what it is - a disease; not a curse, not a punishment,
certainly not an embarrassment, and highly curable, if good treatment is
found early enough.
Almost a decade later, with the outbreak of a new, stigmatized disease replete with mystifications and punitive metaphors, Sontag wrote Aids and Its Metaphors, extending the argument of the earlier book to the AIDS pandemic.
Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors - Susan Sontag
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