Metaphor and Vaccination

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss is an investigation into and rumination upon vaccination, the cultural myths and fears surrounding it, and the deliberations new parents must make when deciding whether they should or shouldn’t vaccinate their children. The book was inspired by the birth of Biss’s first child, but it is also deeply informed by Biss’s engagement with metaphor. “The British call it a ‘jab,’ and Americans, favoring guns, call it a ‘shot,'” she writes. “Either way, vaccination is violence … The metaphors we find in this gesture are overwhelmingly fearful, and almost always suggest violation, corruption, and pollution.” If you’re looking for a smart analysis of the confluence of metaphor and medical decisions, this is it. Here’s a review from the LATimes, an interview from NPR and a sneak peek from publisher Graywolf.