Illness as Metaphor Summary
Susan Sontag

Everything you need to understand or teach Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag.

  • Illness as Metaphor Summary & Study Guide
  • 3 Literature Criticisms
  • ...and more

Illness as Metaphor Overview

In her extended essay “Illness as Metaphor,” Susan Sontag argues against the use of metaphor when writing about illness. She claims that metaphors have historically stigmatized the ill, particularly those who suffer from tuberculosis and cancer. “Illness as Metaphor” belongs to the genre of “postcritique,” which attempts to analyze and critique assumptions and power structures within society through creative close-reading of literature. Sontag discusses and criticizes works of literature from ancient Greek times, the nineteenth century, and the twentieth century, in order to demonstrate how stigma surrounding illness has persisted for centuries. The essay collection tackles themes of cultural stigma, individualism in western culture, and the problematic consequences of psychoanalysis.

Study Pack

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Illness as Metaphor Study Guide