Go Ask Alice

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Main Ideas

Symbols

Main Ideas Symbols

Maggots and worms

As a purported piece of non-fiction, Go Ask Alice does not have any explicit symbols, but Alice's nightmares and hallucinations of maggots and worms eating away at corpses or her own body can be viewed as a dual symbol. At first, Alice's fears of the maggots center on the loneliness of the individual mind. No one knows what happens to a body underground, hidden from sight. Alice's loneliness and her feeling that only "Diary" understands her connects this anxiety: she fears no one knows what is happening in her mind. In the hospital, she fears that even she does not know what is happening in her mind, and her memory of her unintentional overdose deliver the maggots a second meaning. She remembers the "dead things and people" that were "pushing" her into a casket, intermingling and becoming one entity that sought Alice's harm. We can interpret the maggots and worms as all the destructive impulses of society that Alice has internalized into low self-esteem; society is "pushing" her inside the coffin, as it has pushed her into drugs, away from her family, and into a lonely corner at school. She remarks that both her first and last drug uses were without her knowledge, but, in a sense, all times were without her full consent: the drugs were pushed on her by a society that was harmful and could not understand her mind.