A metaphor implies calling something with a name that belongs to a different thing. The mentality behind what the society normally says about illnesses and people who suffer from them has a negative impact on the sick (Sontag, 100). Most diseases whose causality are not known are awash with symbols There are similarities between the public opinions about cancer, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis because people associate them with psychological characteristics (Sontag 112).
People create metaphors and symbols with the notion that it will help the patient feel better. These metaphors encourage stigma and make a disease look somewhat like a myth, but we create them in the hope that it can assist the affected person to think about the disease he/she is experiencing was caused by something in us (Klass, 21). We think that those who have a certain disease have a certain psychological trait. For example, we might think that a cancer patient is a person who is a loser, emotionally stagnant and slow. We relate these opinions to the disease and create the notion that a person with these traits is prone to cancer. People begin to develop certain private occurrences that they link to the time of the initial diagnosis.
Putting a disease in the form of metaphors shames and discourages patients; therefore, an illness should be regarded as an illness and not as sign of an unpleasant trait. Patients find it annoying that they are being blamed for the disease they are suffering from (Clow 310). Other people hold the view that metaphors and symbols in describing the disease can help patients from thinking out of the disease they are experiencing.
Clow, Barbara. “Who is Afraid of Susan Sontag? Or, the Myths and Metaphors of Cancer Reconsidered”. Social History of Medicine. 14(2): 2001. 293-312. Print.
Klass, Perri. “Life without euphemisms” The New York Times April 27 1986. Print
Sontag, Susan. Illness as Metaphor. Vintage Books: New York. Print.