A Literary Examination of Mary Fisher’s A Whisper of Aids

Last Updated: 13 May 2023
Essay type: Analysis
Pages: 5 Views: 97

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton once said, "We live in a completely interdependent world, which simply means we cannot escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is no someone else's problem. This is everybody's problem." In Mary Fisher's speech, A Whisper of Aids, Fisher orders for the termination of the ignorance, prejudice, and shroud of silence surrounding the HIV/AIDS virus. Through the use of ethos, logos, and pathos, Fisher opens the eyes of her close-minded audience, emphasizes the overall seriousness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and inspires them to stand up and create a safer future for their children.

In order for her audience to reflect on the fact that those considered to be untouchable from the HIV/AIDS virus, are the ones falling victim to its fatal effects, Fisher provides numerous examples to further establish her ethos. An example of Fisher establishing her ethos occurs when she uses herself as an example to prove to her audience that they are just as vulnerable to the virus as she was. She states, "If you believe you are safe, you are in danger. Because I was not hemophiliac, I was not at risk. Because I was not gay, I was not at risk. Because I did not inject drugs, I was not at risk." By stating this she demonstrates that the HIV/AIDS virus does not discriminate, it preys upon all who are human.

Mary Fisher having been a mother, a Republican, and a victim of the HIV/AIDS virus goes on to establish her ethos further by stating, "Though I am a white mother, I am one with a black infant struggling with tubes in a PA hospital. Though I am female and contracted this disease through marriage and enjoy the warm support of my family, I am one with the lonely gay man sheltering a flickering candle from the cold wind of his family's rejection," this meaning that she never excluded herself from the possibility of catching this deadly disease based on her background, and neither should Americans.

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Fisher, by repeatedly asking her audience "Are you human?" addresses their humanity, and reminds them that a key role of being human is taking responsibility to care for those in need. Fisher goes even further by juxtaposing the people who fail to support those belonging to the HIV/AIDS community, to those who failed to stick up for the Jewish population during the Holocaust. By speaking in such a way, Fisher not only establishes her credibility to speak out about the HIV/AIDS virus, she also makes her audience question their choices in life and how they affect society.

Not only does she use ethos to allow for her audience to reflect on the non- discriminatory nature of the HIV/AIDS virus, Fisher also incorporates logos to for warn her audience. An example of this occurs when Fisher presents her audience with statistics, regarding the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus.

Fisher states that, "Worldwide, forty million, sixty million, or a hundred million infections will be counted in the coming few years... it is - despite it all the epidemic is which is winning tonight." By stating this, Fisher is successful in making her audience fearfully aware of the rising numbers of Americans already dead or dying from the virus. Another example of logos occurs when she states that "to recognize that AIDS virus is not a political creature. It does not care whether you are a Democrat or Republican; it does not ask whether you are black or white, male or female, gay or straight, young or old."

By stating this Fisher calls to attention that if we as humans view the HIV/AIDS virus as a disease that only a select group of people can contract, we will continue to discriminate those who have it, resulting in their silence and further spread of the disease. By providing her audience with the truly frightening statistics surrounding the HIV/AIDS virus, Fisher convinces her audience of the fast acting nature of the virus and the urgency that humans should inform others who have contracted the virus to speak out.

Throughout Mary Fisher's, A Whisper of Aids, Fisher not only uses numerous examples of logos to allow for her audience to thoroughly comprehend the relentless nature of the HIV/AIDS virus, she also reaches to her audience on an emotional level by providing a strong pathos. An example of pathos occurs when Fisher uses evocative imagery to display the disturbing reality of the effects of the HIV/AIDS virus on families across the country.

Fisher states, "Tonight, HIV marches resolutely toward AIDS in more than a million American homes, littering its pathway with the bodies of the young young men, young women, young adults, and young children," later stating that even her own mother "refused to be broken" Fisher shows that even through the toughest of times a family should stick together and support one another just as the nation should support the population of those who have contracted the HIV/AIDS virus. Another example of Fishers use of pathos occurs when she relates to her own circumstances with the claim, "If you believe you are safe, you are at risk. If you do not see this killer stalking your children, look again.

There is no family or community, no race or religion, no place left in America that is safe. Until we genuinely embrace this message, we are a nation at risk." By stating this, Fisher captivates her audience by displaying a common goal for every parent in the room to protect their children from this relentless disease. Fisher's greatest use of pathos occurs when she reaches her audience on a sentimental level by saying premature goodbyes to her children, representing the urgent nature of her cause. Fisher states, "I will not hurry to leave you, my children, but when I go, I pray that you will not suffer shame on my account."

By stating this, she not only devastates her audience, but she displays that she too felt shame about her contraction of the HIV/AIDS virus even though it was not her fault. By inflicting such a relatable and effective form of pathos on her audience, only then could Fisher allow for every parent in the room to relate to her, because she spoke of every parent's worst fear- having their children die before them.

Through the use of ethos, logos, and pathos, Fisher opens the eyes of the public about the deadly HIV/AIDS epidemic and encourages further efforts for research and prevention of the virus. In Mary Fisher's speech, A Whisper of Aids, Fisher utilizes these techniques in such a remarkable way.

By craft fully constructing well written sentences that not only emphasizes her intent on pressing that the HIV/AIDS virus needs to be recognized, she encourages those who have contracted the virus to no longer be fearful and speak. In conclusion, by using those techniques, Fisher educates the nation of HIV/AIDS virus; presses for an end of the prejudice against those who have contracted the disease, and urges everyone to pay more attention and protect themselves and their children from this disease.

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A Literary Examination of Mary Fisher’s A Whisper of Aids. (2023, May 13). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-literary-examination-of-mary-fishers-a-whisper-of-aids-2/

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