What the Measles Epidemic Says About America

What the Measles Epidemic Says About America
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

In two essays, “Illness as Metaphor” in 1978 and “AIDS and Its Metaphors” in 1988, the critic Susan Sontag observed that you can learn a lot about a society from the metaphors it uses to describe disease. She also suggested that disease itself can serve as a metaphor—a reflection of the society through which it travels.

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