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Alice Walker’s Everyday Use

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Shayne Davis

Professor Gray

English 1102

8 February 2018

                                                Anxiety

        Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is set up in rural Georgia poverty. The dysfunction of the Johnson family is on display for all the community to see. The youngest daughter Maggie, is very content with what’s going on with her and her mama. She doesn’t mind the lifestyle her family has as a matter of fact she enjoys being secluded from the majority of the community. Maggie likes being secluded from the town that way very few people see what she looks like with scars all over her body. She has yet to fully recover from the fire, the same fire that took her safety and security away. Maggie developed more than just anxiety, but she was living in a time where having anxiety or PTSD was taken in the direction as it is now, meaning they are mental health institutions or therapy that people can go and talk to someone about their problems but for Maggie she just had to deal with everything and keep as much trauma inside of her. In the fire of her life, the door was cracked open just enough for a new Maggie to surface and unfortunately developed some unwelcoming characteristics, one for sure would be anxiety. Once you leave a cracked door open eventually that door is wide open and from there it is just a downward spiral.

        On the other hand Maggie is content with what she has meaning she does not want more than what she has right now.

        After the fire, Maggie was affected in more ways than one compared to how Dee was affected. Maggie didn’t realize it at the time, but she was fighting too but her fighting was more internal and mental. She wanted to hide all the scars and burns she got from the fire which contributed to her having anxiety, but that word and those feelings were foreign because no one talked about things of that nature.

        Maggie became even more insecure and reserved after her sister returned home and started to open her mouth. Dee was hoping that Maggie could hold a longer conversation since the last time they saw one another.

        Maggie developing some traits that concede with anxiety did more damage than she and her family realized. Maggie feels comfortable where she is at in life. Maggie enjoys being isolated and secluded from most of her community because she does not have to worry about being judged for the way she looks post fire. She does not adjust to change well which is something Dee wishes would change about her sister. You cannot change someone unless they want to be changed, if you try to force someone to be different or change their personality to match yours then you are in for a rude awakening. Forcing someone to be someone they are not just makes them feel worse about themselves and you end up another more layers to their guard which at this point Maggie’s wall is high because of the trauma she has experienced. Maggie holding all the trauma inside of her did more harm than it did good because she did not have the ability to talk about her issues without everyone looking at her like she is crazy. Dealing with anxiety and PTSD is very difficult especially for someone like Maggie because if she would have told people what she was dealing with things would more than likely be worse. Anxiety is not something to play around with because it is a serious matter that leads to more damage than people realize. As a community we need to shine more light on people who are dealing with anxiety and people who suffer from PTSD their problems are not just going to go away, their problems are only going to get worse.

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