Discussion #1: Getting Up To Speed on HIV/AIDS

For new readers of Susan Sontag’s work, it may be strange to think about something as practical as the history of HIV/AIDS in terms of language and metaphor; and yet, strangely we are placed in a position this semester to do exactly that. You may be wondering why we might have to consider this issue from the perspective of random citizens getting an education in a community college in Pittsburgh? What could we possibly contribute to the conversation? Your first reading asked you to try and complete one full reading of the essay with the intent of getting through it despite not being familiar with some of the references in the text. If you did know some of them, that’s great! I’d like our second reading of Sontag’s essay to have two goals:

  • Complete the reading once again –or for the first time ;-)– . As you do this, choose one of the references Sontag makes, maybe it’s a book she talks about or a poem she references. Do your best to do a quick internet search to see what you find about that reference. Write this in your notes somewhere and keep it. Later on in the semester I’ll show you how to use these references in putting together a paper that is your own creation and that still answers the original essay question. Don’t spend too much time (unless you get really interested) on this part. I just want you to get some quick experience picking out a random reference and look up very quickly any information you can find on it.
  • Define Sontag’s project. We’re defining a project this semester as “the central aspect” of a writer’s text, in this case Sontag’s essay. This can be addressed by asking yourself what you think the writer’s goal is in his/her work. While you read the essay this second time, make a list in your notes of the possible goals that Sontag might have for her essay. What is she trying to accomplish?

When you’ve thought about all of this and when you’ve watched the Frontline documentary, please write a short paragraph (approximately 200-300 words) in which you explore (that is, take a guess) at what Sontag is trying to accomplish? How might her project be connected to the history you learned about in the Frontline documentary, The Age of AIDS.

Please share your response with the class by clicking on “leave a comment” at the top of this post. All comments should be submitted by 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, January 22nd.

Some Tips for Posting

  1. It’s sometimes easier to write your responses on your word processor and then copy and paste your response in the reply box. Technology is a notoriously erratic luxury. Sometimes connections get lost or something unforeseen causes a computer to shut down and all unsaved work is lost.
  2. Use spell check. It’s not perfect and it’s no substitute for proofreading. But it does catch some obvious errors that can escape us because of the excitement our ideas provide for us.
  3. Remember that this is a public blog. You are representing yourself to anyone who happens to read this. Please be mindful of this in your discussions with others. I will moderate these posts as much as possible with a zero tolerance for disrespectful behavior and/or unnecessary profanity.
  4. Have fun. It’s interesting to exchange ideas with classmates and to see how they are thinking about a similar concern.

41 thoughts on “Discussion #1: Getting Up To Speed on HIV/AIDS

  1. After reading Sontag essay and watching the Frontline documentary was that it was very interesting thing to read and watch. Sontag is trying to accomplish that there are a different ways through metaphors to describe this different meaning so there an understanding of things within the people. Her project is connects to the history you learned in the frontline documentary The Age of AIDS in certain spots in the passage and documentary. The way she uses the metaphors to describe the metaphors and AIDS/HIV in people lives. In describes how people first got AIDS/HIV and around the world and that it affect their lives in many ways. That there was a fear of a deadly disease they both describe in the history. That you learn from then to know on how AIDS affect people and how there are different way to control it abut not get rid of the disease yet but there is an improvement. That she was trying to accomplish to describe what the different plaques were in the different time period in history and how people were effect by them in history and their life styles. They kind talk in the same way at some point in the reading and the documentary of AIDS. There are lots connections between the both the reading and the documentary in many ways that you can describe in more detail and that it was a unique connection.
    Works Cited
    Sontag, Susan. “AIDS and Its Metapgors.” 27 Septembeeeer 1988: 1-33.
    The Age of AIDS. 2006.

  2. Sontag gets under your skin with AIDS and Its Metaphors. Her use of metaphors paints, rather graphically, a picture of how AIDS has been perceived throughout history. Her essay invites the new Sontag reader to explore her many references and to dive deeper into her motive. What is Sontag attempting to accomplish? I felt lost in my experience reading Sontag for the first time. After reading the essay a second time, I feel Sontag aims to please a certain liberal audience. The more I learn about her, the more I understand where her flavor of writing stems from. Having a personal experience with cancer, she speaks provokingly from her heart. As an activist, she passionately tackles controversial issues. AIDS and Its Metaphors and the Frontline documentary, The Age of AIDS, share a lot of similarities. In my opinion, they were both created from a left-wing mindset. They both show how the right-wing portrays AIDS as a punishment from GOD. They both express that privileged people shy away from the disease either by alienating themselves from those infected or by failing to respond as world/political leaders. With Sontag’s raw words and the documentary’s colorful images they make a connection by explaining the seriousness of this disease and how society perceives illness.

    • Much like what LouAnn had to say, I feel that the amount of references used in the essay are strong, along with use of the powerfully dark metaphors that she uses. As a first time reader of a Sontag essay, I felt completely lost when she made countless references throughout the couple paragraphs and practically felt hopeless as I kept reading on. However as I persevered through, I began to understand where Sontag was coming from and what she was trying to accomplish. Through my eyes, I feel that Sontag is trying to describe to her readers that AIDS/HIV should not be taken lightly. Using the metaphors that she used (i.e cancer, syphilis, black plague, etc.) shows how serious AIDS can be, and thus using these helps back that argument up. The Frontline documentary and “AIDS and Its Metaphors” I feel are on the same page by not only describing the dangers that AIDS can have on someone, but also shows you images of the dangers as well.

  3. She woul like the reader to perceive the connection between our ideas, how they are expressed, and the physical world around us. She draws our attention to the stygma that surrounds AIDS from our notion that this disease sprouted from marginalized groups as perceived by the average western person. She continually, but subtly, denounces a moral attachment to any disease, while promoting an empathetic nature to its victims, not simply for altruistic purposes but as a way dealing with this problem in a more logical way. To perceive the disease as foreign and something to be swept under the rug or to be passed off to the poorer or minority classes allows time for the epidemic to grow. She points out time and again that in order for us to deal with this epidemic to the best of our ability we must frame it in a way that relates to the greatest number of people. Refering to AIDS as a plague frames it in a light that subconsciously wants us to fear and distance ourselves from it. She shows this general feeling in her examples of politicians using phrases such as “AIDS of the MInd” to degrade specific(often marginalized) opponents.This wouldnt be a productive strategy if our image of AIDS wasn’t already overtly negative. At a time when little was known her main goal seemed to be awareness of the disease, its potential as a political ploy, and the necessity to see AIDS in a new light to decrease human suffering for both those affected directly by the disease and to assauge the paranoid minds of our doom obsessed culture so we could spend more time and energy looking for a solution.

  4. After watching the front line documentary, as well as reading the Sontag essay for the first time (sorry Mr. Morales). I realized that Sontag was writing about similar stuff as talked about in the frontline documentary. In my understanding, Sontag was trying to inform people about the aids virus and how dangerous it can be. The frontline documentary showed many HIV positive people who have contracted the virus through their partners. In one instance a Wife who was interviewed in the documentary, contracted the virus through her Husband. She was pressured by her pasture and family members to press charges against her own husband. Maybe thats why Sontag was writing this essay, to inform people that this is a epidemic, also to inform that people with this virus, their voices are not heard.
    Thats my thoughts,
    Denis Agovic

  5. After re-reading Sontag’s piece, “AIDS and Its Metaphors” and watching the Frontline documentary and doing a little research of my own on Sontag, I had many different thoughts running through my head. I did a little research on Sontag and her other book, “Illness as a Metaphor” and found both pieces to be very similar. Sontag uses a plethora of examples throughout her work that explain how the world views this disease. I think that it is safe to say that people everywhere are quick to blame and quick to point their finger the other way. Sontag describes how far culture has come, from once believing that AIDS was a virus that was only able to be passed on through homosexuals or drug user, to now realizing the relationship between HIV and AIDS; “The persistence of the belief that illness reveals, and is a punishment for, moral laxity or turpitude can be seen in another way, by noting the persistence of descriptions of disorder or corruption as a disease.” I think that Sontag’s main idea throughout this entire passage was to just attempt to inform the community about how serious of a disease we are dealing with and the dangers that come along with them, along with break the negative correlations between the disease and “group of people” that obtain the disease. I believe that as a previous cancer patient, she knew the struggle of dealing with people who were ignorant on the topic, and was attempting to create a new connection between cancer and AIDS. There is obviously a lot more that Sontag tried to express, but I believe that this was one of her points that she wanted to have expressed.

  6. I think within in Susan Sontag writing she is giving the reader an opportunity to see a different view of what is going on with the AIDS epidemic. In this era it has only been 10 years since the discovery of the HIV/AIDS virus, this is a short period of time. Sontag is giving the reader an opportunity to have a slight understanding of a disease that is causing chaos thought society. She finds that others are being labeled, slandered, and thrown out of public places that have been affected with the AIDS virus. For me to really again a better understanding of this was the segment of the Frontline documentary about the children who contracted HIV though a blood transfusion and were forced out of schools. This part of the documentary also showed the hatred to anyone who had contracted the AIDS virus. I feel that the hatred shown is more so a sign of fear. This relates to Sontag’s essay and how she explains metaphors, throughout earlier plagues, people that contracted it were looked upon as if God had smite them. Given many examples of this she points out how we are doing the same with the AIDS virus. Sontag wants to inform the reader, gain support not ignorance, and show that the impact of AIDS needs to be discussed.

  7. Susan Sontag writes in AIDS and Its Metaphors that the AIDS epidemic is metaphorically a plague. she uses examples from history when other diseases such as syphilis and leprosy created havoc in society and relates them to how people with the AIDS virus are viewed today. In Sontag’s writing she tells how people with syphilis were viewed as immoral for getting what was thought to be an only sexually transmitted disease. This is much like today how some people are still very unaware of AIDS and think it can only contracted sexually. AIDS is a virus that attacks you t cells and is transferred through blood. The virus attacking your T cells spread and leave you with no immune system usually leading to an untimely demise. When reading AIDS and Its Metaphors i thought that Susan’s main purpose for writing was to raise awareness of aids, but by the end i realized she also wanted to put an end to the horrible way people viewed those infected with AIDS. She wanted readers to have a more clear view of how AIDS was discovered and how we should support those fighting it.

  8. Throughout reading Sontag’s essay there was a lot said about the stigmas put on disease in our culture and how society is constantly trying to distance themselves from such morally degrading epidemics by labeling the minority or poor as “carriers”. Since the treatment for AIDS was extremely expensive, only the wealthy HIV positive population was able to receive the medication. While society only saw the minorities suffering it made it easier for them to target those groups with negative views and disgust, therefore attaching negative views and disgust to a lethal disease that doesn’t discriminate its victim’s. Along with homosexuality, prostitution and intravenous drug use already carrying the negative judgments from society, they were also the main contributing factors in the spread of AIDS making it easier for the general population to distance themselves even more. What Sontag is trying to accomplish in her essay is making people realize how prevalent AIDS is in the US and around the world. She’s trying to remove the stigma associated with AIDS and other diseases in society so that they can be discussed more openly and maybe with more knowledge there would be a raise in prevention. Just as the Frontline documentary was meant to raise awareness and show the disease infecting even the most innocent part of the economy, children. The mind set on AIDS needs to change from being looked at like it was someone’s moral choice to being viewed as an infectious disease that affects millions of innocent people.

  9. The purpose of the article “AIDS and its metaphors” by Susan Sontag was simply a way to inform people about the truths and lies about how the world perceives AIDS. This article talks about how AIDS is seen as a plague. Therefore, plague, according to dictionary.com, is “any widespread affliction, calamity, or evil”. AIDS is just like any other disease in the sense that it can be prevented if following correct precautions. Not to take away the fact that it is very serious and deadly. In the Frontline documentary, it talks about the history of AIDS and the spread of AIDS. The part that really drew my attention was that people lived in fear of AIDS. Therefore their fear came out in either hatred of anyone with AIDS or just simply ignoring the problem of the disease and acting as though it did not exist. Both of these responses are prejudice and hurtful to anyone with AIDS. Both of these resources were created to arouse awareness and seriousness of this disease and create a more wholesome look at it instead of a fear and hateful view of the people who have retained this disease. As Sontag states in her article, it is important to be able to identify that an AIDS outbreak can happen anywhere and to not discriminate that it is “their problem” or “another groups issue” but a world wide problem we can only conquer by making people aware of the seriousness of AIDS.
    I think

  10. Sontag told us what kinds of live that the people who got AIDS / HIV. How does AIDS / HIV affect their lives in many ways around the world. We must be aware of the seriousness of AIDS. We do not have to fear and hatred of AIDS patients.

  11. I feel that watching the front line document first and then going back to read the article made it a little easier to understand and comprehend. I think that Sontag used all those metaphors to really try to explain how serious HIV AIDS is by using some other serious illnesses that we are more familiar with, I also feel that Sontag is trying to make aids more known and try to have people understand it more.

  12. Susan Sontag’s AIDS & Its Metaphors wasnt easy to read and follow along with, when I first read it. I had to Reread the essay a second time to fully understand what was her message that shes trying to convey. Ms Sontag essay’s wasnt something that Im used to reading even with the understanding on my part that her piece is written as an explanatory/ argumentive that she correlates with some pretty good references as far as past epidemic/plague. The only one that I was shocked to find out that there was a stigma a negative view on having Cancer, which Im still shocked and cant fully wrap my head around.

  13. While reading Sontag’s essay and watching the Frontline documentary I was struck with how society views AIDS and the stigma attached to the virus. Sontag repeatedly talks about the “us vs. them” (people with a disease or virus) mentality. In the Frontline documentary, it also talks about the stigma that even the medical community had when the HIV/AIDS was first being found and diagnosed. When it was found in women and straight men, at first no one wanted to believe that it was even the same virus, regardless of the proof. Sontag’s essay highlights this thinking as well. In AIDS and It’s Metaphors, I felt she was trying to raise awareness on how we view things, and stimulate thought about how the “us vs. them” mentality that has shown itself repeatedly throughout history. Sontag spends a lot of time pointing out examples of this thought process repeating itself through history, such as with the black plague and syphilis. The Frontline documentary was very helpful for me to watch prior to my second reading of Sontag as it gave me a more informed view when reading the second time. Both, I feel, were made with the purpose of informing the public and raising awareness that it can happen to all different kinds of people all over the world. To inform people of the truths and lies/stereotypes surrounding the disease.

  14. When I first started reading Susan Sontags essay “Aids and Its Metaphors”, I felt lost and confused to what she was trying to explain. As I kept reading I started to make some sense out of it and it caught my attention, it became very informative and interesting. I liked how Ms. Sontag added her own life experience in her writing. Sontag informed me that there were negative views on having Cancer which I was not aware of. Sontag is trying to explain that people make the Aids disease worse than it really is because people tend to look down on you when they find out that you have AIDS/HIV. The judgment is merely esthetic, in Ms. Sontags view and adds an illegitimate psychic burden to the patient’s physical suffering. From my opinion I believe that all human being should be looked at equally respected even if they have a disease or not. For example I work at an hospital so I get all kinds of people I have to draw blood from, so I use extra precautions with all my patients not only with the ones that have HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, or etc. The AIDS disease itself, is the true source of its awfulness.

  15. After re-reading Susan Sontag’s essay and watching the Frontline video, I’ve realized that they are extremely similar. Sontag used metaphors to portray her understanding of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). She compared AIDS to other epidemics in our history, such as the plague. She showed how demeaning it is to be a person with AIDS, people assume you are a provocative person or a drug addict. People were looked down upon if others knew they had AIDS. Sontag showed the ugly side of AIDS, the side that made people seem as a minority if they couldn’t afford their medication. But as for the Frontline video, it was more of the factual point of view of AIDS. It showed how many of the people infected with AIDS actually contracted it through birth instead of as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or usage of an AIDS infected needle. It explained how the epidemic begin and all of the issues that have risen from it. Such as the fact that there are people who do not believe that AIDS is real or that it is not from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is how so many innocent people are infected with this disease and how many people die from the disease. In third world countries where AIDS is rapidly effecting their citizens, the citizens are kept from their medications because of the fact that the government officials do not believe that AIDS is connected to HIV. Through the denial of AIDS, many more innocent children will be infected and pass it onto their children.

  16. To me this was a confusing start.Sontag, has put together this essay telling us how much AIDS is con paired to so many terrible inflictions man has put up with in our past.She has done a good job of putting fear about what we have not understood in the past.She is trying to get the point across to us that it is a scary diseases but one that if we understand it an learn from what we learn that it can be treated..She con pairs this to leprosy, which today is not a “Plague” or a epidemic today. The same with syphilis. Now that it is treatable it is not “The wrath of God” or other reasons why man has gotten it.We the reading public made it scary because of our lack of undersanding about this diseases.I for one have learned a lot from this reading. An a lot more from the “Age of AIDS” documentary. One main point that really sticks in my mind is how the “whites” back in the day thought that blacks ,asinas,an muslims did not fill loss or griff the same as “whites” that was just unbelieveable to me.

  17. After watching the Frontline Documentary and reading Susan Sontag’s “AIDS & It’s Metaphors,” I have come to the realization that most people, including myself, are highly unaware of this disease and how it developed in the first place. This article makes everyone more aware of the facts and causes of AIDS/HIV, instead of the stereotypes and rumors that most people are so quick to believe. Until i read this article, all I really knew about AIDS was that it was a permanent virus. Sontag uses various metaphors to describe how AIDS/HIV effects those who are infected with this virus. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and is a disease caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). These viruses effect the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. Sontag’s main purpose of this article was to basically inform readers on the dangers of AIDS and how it can permanently damage your immune system. After watching the Frontline Documentary and reading Sontag’s article, I can honestly say that I now have a better understanding of AIDS and how serious it is. I think it is very important for everyone to gain more knowledge on the matter.

  18. After reading Sontag’s essay “AIDS and its Metaphors” and watching the Frontline documentary I realized there are many similarities in them. Sontag’s was trying to show us how society as a whole views the AIDS epidemic and by describing these views threw many different metaphors. She was describing how dangerous and how widespread the disease has become. They describe the ways it affects not only people infected with it but it also affects the people learning about how it was created. Sontag was trying to inform society of how to view others with the disease. She wanted to help fight against it and to prove that it is an epidemic that has just as much impact on the world as cancer and obesity. I like many others were ignorant to the topic of HIV/AIDS until I read over and researched the topics that were explained throughout Sontag’s essay and the Frontline documentary. The points that were proven and the metaphors used to portray HIV/AIDS will keep me open minded on the Topic.

    • After reading Sontag’s essay on Aids, I also agree with a few of the classmates that Sontag was trying to inform people of the history of aids. I also think Sontag was illustrating the fear that people have for Aids, the shame that comes with this “plague”, and the affect it’ll have in the future worldwide. Aids is a black sheep in alot of community’s, so I asked a few of my friends ,”What was their first thought when it comes to Aids”? No one had a verbal response just facial expressions of disgust! What reactions did anyone have talkn to their peers or do you think Aids is shameful within your community?

  19. Frontline documentary :”The Age of AIDS,” is a comprehensive review of AIDS as an illness, the discovery of HIV and the socio-economic, cultural and political implications of it becoming an epidemic and pandemic. It clearly shows that, if acted upon promptly with full force of education, backing of the government with its financial resources and support to the scientific community, AIDS could, at least, be kept from spreading and the symptoms could be managed better. Unfortunately, only a few countries took this approach. USA has been slow in the development of special programs to fight this disease and its wider consequences. This exposé tracks the disease until 2006, while Susan Sontag’s writing describes it through 1988, and lacks the view and the knowledge of the latest discoveries and their implications on the subject of AIDS.
    Suzan Sontag in her paper “AIDS and Its Metaphors,” principally exposes the historical development of metaphors and stigmas attached to diseases like leprosy, cholera, bubonic plaque, syphilis, and AIDS. She goes back to 11th century up to 1980s, describing mainly tendencies in society to separate the population between those deserving punishment by devastating illness and those who are better than the rest.
    Plague was a word associated with most of the epidemics of the past. It’s been used as metaphor for God’s punishment, foreign-ness, inescapability, judgment on the society, political decline and depravity. With the first cases of AIDS and mystery of the new illness, all the antiqued stereotypes associated with plague where attached to it. The discovery of HIV and its monstrous ability to replicate and mutate, made “virus” a new metaphor for things invasive, ever changing and dangerous. America of the 60s and 70s with great emphases on freedoms of all kinds, especially sexual, had to adopt new habits of self-constraint, individualism and neocelibacy. New technologies, means of travel and communications makes the world, and everything happening in its parts, of global interest and concern. Sontag hopes, with better understanding of this terrible illness and hopefully with development of the vaccine and better treatments in the future, that all the stereotypes and stigmas attached to it, will become obsolete.

  20. I never read works of Susan Sontag. This is my first time. I don’t really know much about AIDS. So all of the information I learned from this reading and class conversation. In my whole life I never had anything to do with AIDS, so therefore I never knew much about it. I don’t know how a person gets sick with AIDS and what happens after they get sick with it. I already read it four times, but cause English is my second language and/or cause it was written in professional way its harder for me to understand it. Hopefully after couple of more readings I will have better understanding of it.

  21. My view on what sontag tried to accomplish with this reading is to educate the public on the
    awareness of aids. She wanted the public to know how catastrophic the virus can be to the population. She gave information abou the past pandimics and how they effected the society. Aids is described as a virus that is chain like in transmission. Also as she descibed in her project is that it would not be out of the norm for people to say a virus like this is a punishment from God. she was able to give an informative decription of the volitaty the virus had in the 1980s. She researched information from people that were doctors, scientest and from directors of plays to help the readers get a better understanding from a couple different angles. I also think that the front line documentary is very much connected to the information that sontag made available to the public. I think that they both accomplished acting on getting the info on the desease to the people. It was also connected in ways on explaing how politics can limit in somes was the right knowledge and medicen getting to the people who need it.

  22. After reading the article written by Sontag my mind went in all kind of different directions on what her message was trying to convey. It was very difficult for me to understand what she was trying to say because i really had minimal prior knowledge of the aids virus being that i never was exposed to anybody who was actually living with the virus. After reading the article a numerous amount of times, i gathered that Sontag was attempting to educate the readers on the aids virus and how much harm it can cause to the people who obtained the disease. I feel as though the virus not only impacts the person who has it but also the loved ones of that person. It is unfortunate how uneducated many people are about the virus including myself. Being in the class I hope to further my knowledge about aids and possibly in the future educate others on the disease so they can do everything possible to avoid getting the potential deadly virus.

  23. And this comment i made to the discussion is posted January 22, 2013 at 11:12 p.m the date that appears is incorrect

  24. AIDS as to compared to an epidemic is the underlying idea when looking at both Sontag and the documentary In the Age of Aids. Sontags project is to find multiple metaphors for AIDS. Among the many she describes, one is that AIDS is like a modern day syphilis. It is a viral epidemic that has a stigma attached to it. It is thought to exist in only certain groups of people, such as homosexuals and the poor. It is viewed as a disease that is “theirs” and not “ours.” AIDS is discussed as thus in the documentary also. At first, it is was assigned as an epidemic to certain countries such as Haiti and South Africa. Europe, Asia, and the U.S. had a hard time accepting AIDS as a major epidemic that affected the whole country, let alone the whole world. At one point the documentary says the U.S. had the highest rate of AIDS, yet was still viewing it as a homosexual disease and not a problem that everyone should be concerned with, yet women, children, and heterosexuals began to be seen with the disease also. BIll Clinton was the first president to really acknowledge this, describing ‘a virus as not discriminating.’ The interesting part about AIDS being viewed as an epidemic was the it seems to be the only one in history that government really did not want to acknowledge. Even the plagues that Sontag uses as metaphors to AIDS may be stigmatized, but were at least acknowledged.

  25. After reading Sontag’s essay Aids and Its Metaphors and watching the Frontline documentary The Age of AIDS, I believe that Sontag purpose in writing this article was to remove the stigma that is attached to not only HIV and AIDS, but to disease and viruses in general. In her writing she uses information and historical references as a weapon against ignorance. She illustrates how diseases such as Aids, syphilis, and leprosy are often viewed as judgment or punishment on communities of people, and others such as polio are diseases of the innocent. After watching the Frontline documentary and reading this essay, it is easy to see how this way of thinking can be extremely dangerous, almost criminal. When an illness becomes stigmatized in the way that HIV/AIDS has, it begets gross negligence and denialism, which inevitably leads to the unnecessary deaths of far too many men, women and children. Given that this article was written in the late 80’s when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was so young, I imagine that Sontag viewed her essay as a catalyst of sorts, a catalyst that would spring forward the archaic way of thinking that people have used to view diseases in the past. After reading the article I’m left with the “Haven’t we learned anything from history?” feeling. In my opinion, is that what Sontag was trying to accomplish.

  26. My thoughts on the article”Aids and it’s metaphors” by Susan Sontag are pretty straight forward. It seems that she wants the world to understand that AIDS is a epidemic not a plague. She makes reference to past diseases that were looked upon as a plague in its era. She explains how after time and research help to understand/ and sometimes cure these diseases. They were no longer the death sentence that they once were, no longer considered a plague. She wants you to understand when a disease is new/ uncontrolled people fear it, are ashamed, and pass judgement because of their ignorance. With knowledge and understanding of AIDS, over time we will look at it as the epidemic/ disease that it is not a death sentence/ plague that it is viewed as.

  27. Metaphors enable a writer to convey a message with depth and ambiguity; in order to have the reader digest the message through thought. Susan Sontag shows how the metaphor of AIDS being thought of as a plague has branded the disease with negative stigmas. These stigmas stem from past pandemics like cancer, syphilis, leprosy, and cholera being compared to a plague. In the essay, it shows how syphilis was once thought of a plague due to the diseases’ unknown origin and undiscovered vaccine. Syphilis being sexually transmitted and a disease that can be disfiguring, was once seen as a type of punishment for sin, from god. Like Syphilis, AIDS is sexually transmitted and therefore seen as a punishment towards a target group of society. Throughout history the word plague has been associated with such devastating diseases at the time that any disease now thought to be plague-like cause’s uproar in society’s eyes. The word plague has been used metaphorically to explain ideas of punishment, to make a disease seem foreign, and the idea of disease as an invader among many more. Sontag uses society’s history and its reaction to disease to explain the connotations connected with AIDS. Sontag like the Frontline documentary :”The Age of AIDS,” approach AIDS by using facts, education, and science rather than falling for the stereotype society has conjured through unawareness. The documentary pivots on the idea that global awareness and education will be key in maintaining and preventing the spread of AIDS. Susan Sontag and the Frontline documentary :”The Age of AIDS,” hope to achieve the loss of negative stigmas and intolerance of AIDs due to ignorance.

  28. Thanks for writing, everyone. Also, the timestamps recording the time of your postings were a little screwy. They were set to UTC time or GMT settings. I have changed it so that it reflects Eastern Standard Time. So there should be no worries.

  29. After reading Susan Sontag’s essay, I was a little confused on some of the things that she referenced to, but after reading it for a second time i then realized more of what her main points were. Many people still to this day are unaware of how serious the AIDS and HIV epidemic is. Also, along with the unawareness of this epidemic, many people know very little of what AIDS and HIV really is. So what i did in response to this reading, i asked about 10 random people if they knew about HIV and AIDS and if so what did they know. Surprisingly to be expected, most people said that it was a sexually transmitted disease. This epidemic has many stereotypical views toward it. Like many disease’s that Sontag referenced, it go’s about life like a ghost almost. You have you’re believers and you’re people who just look past it as if it were an unimportant thing. I feel as thou Sontag was trying to express how important this epidemic is. As personal experience to this reading, i have an uncle that has AIDS, and i know that he has dealt with many harsh criticism’s due to his infection. I’ve watched him go through some rough times when it came to telling people in his life that he was infected. Overall, i feel as though this essay and the documentary has helped me understand more about the unawareness of this epidemic.You can always learn more, education has an endlessness of options to be explored. Also i believe that being in this class is going to help educate us on how to help make other people more aware of this global epidemic. I always say that ignorance has no place in my book. By helping spread the awareness, you’re helping stop the spread of the infection and to help stop the stereotyping.

  30. While reading through Sontag’s essay about aids and metaphors, i found somethings quiet interesting but some of the informations in found was things i was already aware of. It spoke of the aids virus as instead of a permanent disease that just wipes out the infected, aids acts as a gate way for all other infections to get to the imune system while the virus leaves your body confused and weak. There are also now treatments that are meant to either slow down the disease rater than just wait until the disease slowly kills you. this is not the first pleague like disease we have had on earth, and it will probably not be our last, but each one has been either beaten with a cure or just gone as it came.

  31. When analyzing the article,”AIDS and its Metaphors” one begins to be pulled in several directions on the topic. After reading the article the first time, this is exactly what I began to think. After re-reading it a few more times her information began to unravel itself. One becomes cognizant to the possible ideological theories given. The part that really jumped out at me was when she began to use the metaphor of fear. Given the conspiracies true about the US leaking the disease into Africa to lower the birth rate, and the idea that plagues are a “Wrath of God”. In my personal life I have learned the effects, of the superstition ‘fear’, on human beings. I believe when she was talking about these ‘plagues’ she was also installing the idea that giving fear to those not in complete knowledge, we are bound to go into repression and follow the general consensus. And as one begins to think more into this idea and continue to use the metaphor when she discusses the other diseases, one can begin to assimilate that this very well could be a possible perception. Just like the Frontline documentary. While AIDS is a very serious condition, and should be treated with fear, I believe that Sontag meant for something entirely different. Perhaps she intended to educate others about the planting of fear and death. Perhaps there is more behind the scenes that the essay or documentary don’t touch. Moving forward in the class I am very interested to reach several different analysis of AIDS and its going on in the world around us.

  32. Traying to read Sontag essay ,I was scary and my mean thinking was how can I continue in this class English 101 ?? ? I felt like alien I didnt understoodd what my classmates were talking about it, especially the first week,but it was clear to me that they were struggling too even they speak English more than I do .yes English is not my first language,but it wasnt just English its too advance, may be for me as the tutor told in the librairie, that will be big jump for me and give me the option to drope the class .I told her no way .I started to like this class ,my peers and most off all my teacher who I liked him since the first class and I was happy and feeling luky to be in his class especially when he encourraged every body saying: “you `ll get there.“yes Il get there too, its big chalenge for me .I am taking it .The discussion int he class clarified alot of my thaughts about Sontag writting (big thank you to Alex and Jessica for there help,please continue to do so.)
    For me Sontag essay was like long harde labore, to deliver that Aids is still big mystery incompletely known even by the scientists, its like an icebirg,but still we have to deal with it with what we have,to take it seriously without fear and every body `s job or duty is to raise warness against it, against this` plague`disease…

  33. reading the essay over and over again trying to understand what the writer trying to say to us . wasn’t easy for me to get it , and still struggling with the words she uses its a big challenge for me since i have been in the country for just 3 years but what makes me feel normal that even the native english speakers having the same problem with it . but i’m working on it hopefully i will get it and be better writer . (still lost)

  34. After reading the essay again I am still finding it difficult to comprhend in it’s entirety. Some of it has to do with the word usage, but also with the jumping from subject to subject. I was thinking, with a topic so touchy and an apparent need for notoriety then why make the essay so complex. Still I will continue to try and understand it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s