When people often think of others with AIDs, we think of them differently than someone without. We do not normally see them as we did before, in our eyes they somehow change. The same happens with those that have the Clay’s Ark disease, in the book by Octavia Butler by the same name.
Those with the Clay’s Ark disease are looked at differently, they have different abilities, or they look different. But, in reality, all of these people are the exact same, personality wise, as they were before. Personalities do not change because of a disease, their abilities might though. As when we discover that the children with the disease, namely Jacob who is Meda and Eli’s son, have advanced abilities. “Every child born to them after they get the disease is mutated in some way. … The way he moves- catlike, smooth, graceful, very fast. And he’s as bright or brighter than any other kid his age.” (Butler 512).
The same goes for people who have AIDs, they are still the same on the inside. The misconception that a disease changes a person completely is not true. Just because a person is acting slightly different, doesn’t mean they are different. Their personalities and their true selves remain unchanged. People just tend to act different because they know they have a disease, they are being affected emotionally, mentally, and often times physically as well. So they act out of character at times.
Often times people with AIDs are marginalized and targeted. “American attitudes toward people with AIDs have also mutated from protective to punitive” says Washington in her book Medical Apartheid. People have become less concerned with helping people with AIDs and more concerned with punishing them in some way.
By becoming more concerned with punishment, people see those with AIDs as different people because they think they are to blame for their own disease. Within Clay’s Ark, people are punished for having the disease, in a way. They are held in cells after unknowingly being infected, they are not allowed to see each other, even if they are family, as Blake is not allowed to see his daughters in the book.
Towards the end of Clay’s Ark Blake begins to act out, becoming more violent and yelling at his daughters, which he never does. This, we can assume, is the disease taking over, as we were warned at the beginning would happen. But the difference is that this disease is not a real one, and AIDs is very real. AIDs does not make a person act differently, nor does any disease, sometimes people just do not know how to deal with what they are going through. They act differently of their own accord.