Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mary Fisher’s “A Whisper of AIDS” Speech Analysis

AIDS is a worldwide epidemic that has affected and is affecting millions of people. Even though it was not discovered until 1982 many stereotypes have come along with it. Mary Fisher is an AIDS community member and is not afraid to stand up and say so. Defending and helping those with HIV/AIDS and helping them spread the word instead of keeping silent. In 1991 she found out that she had contracted the disease from her second husband and now Fisher is one of the world’s leading activists in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In her speech “A Whisper of AIDS”, Fisher uses specific diction choice to bring awareness to the AIDS epidemic as well as words that are meant to heighten the fear much of the public had about AIDS at that time.

Fischer addresses her primary audience to be the general public of America as well and those who have AIDS. Her purpose seems to be to make the audience more aware by scaring them into believing what she says. When she states, “It does not care whether you are Democrat or Republican; it does not ask whether you are black or white, male or female, gay or straight, young or old” Mary shows that she is talking to everyone. She is successful in making her audience more aware by inflicting fear and saying that AIDS can affect anyone it is not biased to one particular group, party, or race. Another example of this would be when Fisher adds “If you believe you are safe, you are in danger” here Fisher uses the scare tactic again by saying that no matter what you do, you can still contract the disease.

Fisher discusses the AIDS epidemic with such threatening terms such as when she states that “we may take refuge in our stereotypes, but we cannot hide there long, because HIV asks only one thing of those it attacks. Are you human?” The way that Mary Fisher presents her speech at the convention is sorrowful but with confidence and pride. She is intent on presenting that HIV/AIDS needs to be recognized and the people that have it no longer need to fear being silent. An example of this is when she says “Though I am female and contracted this disease in 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 shows that she is standing up for those with AIDS and speaking for them. This is met with applause from the audience which shows how effective she is in giving this speech. When Fisher is finished with her speech the audience responds by giving Fisher a standing ovation which is understood to be that her audience understands her purpose in giving this speech (Fig. 1).

Figure 1
Mary Fisher. "A Whisper of AIDS." 1992 Republican National Convention. Houston, TX. 19 Aug. 1992. American Rhetoric. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.

Mary Fisher does use words that are meant to scare the audience but whether or not they were scared by the truth does not seem apparent. She was successful in pressing the issue that AIDS needs to be more recognized. With this speech Fisher opened they eyes of the public about this deadly epidemic and lead the way for further research and prevention.

Work Cited

Fisher, Mary. "A Whisper of AIDS." 1992 Republican National Convention. Houston,
TX. 19 Aug. 1992. American Rhetoric. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.

Works Consulted

Fisher, Mary. Mary Fisher Productions. Mary Fisher Productions, Inc., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.