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Go Ask Alice Theme Essay Outline

Exposition (Initial Situation)

Look At Me—I'm So Much Like You

The beginning of the diary introduces us to Alice, a strikingly familiar Everygirl. She has all the typical concerns of a young teenager: friends, boyfriends, fitting in, dealing with crippling insecurity, you know the drill. This sets us up for the rest of the book in two ways: It lets us get to know Alice before the proverbial poo hits the fan, and it also establishes a relationship between Alice and the reader, so that we will actually care when the poo starts to fly. And importantly, Alice could be just about anyone, anywhere—in other words, we know her.

Rising Action

Do Drugs, Run Away, Call Home for Rescue, Repeat

The rising action begins when Alice gets her first experience with LSD. Up until her friends decided to drug her without her knowledge, her problems were pretty minor stuff. But once she starts really hanging out with Lucy-in-the-Sky-with-Diamonds, her life begins to get much more complicated. She starts befriending less-than savory characters, she tries everything from pot to crack, she even starts selling drugs to little kids.

Then she enters a cyclical pattern of running away, hitting the bottom, and then calling home for rescue. Each time she takes off, however, the stakes get just a little higher, and her low point gets even closer to rock-bottom. The reader is left wondering: "Is this where she finally realizes that drugs aren't all they're cracked up to be?" 


Peanuts are Better Without LSD

Things really come to a head when Alice overdoses on chocolate-covered peanuts. In fairness, she overdoses on the LSD that she didn't know was on the peanuts, but we've all been there, right? Chocolate is so good.

Anyway, this marks the point when Alice decides that drugs can be really scary, and not quite worth the hassle they've become in her life. It's also the most trouble she's ever been in; not only are her parents fully involved, but the court steps in and requires her to go to a mental hospital. Alice has finally gotten in so deep that she can't just call home and have her daddy pick her up—she is forced to face her addiction and what it has made her become. 

Falling Action

Pull Yourself Together, Alice

The falling action of our tale begins when Alice is released from the institution. She gradually reintegrates into her old life (that is, the life she had before she started doing drugs), and she also slowly reinvents herself with a healthier self-image. Things are going so well, in fact, that readers might be compelled to roll their eyes a little bit—you know, yeah, yeah, we get it, etc. Either the book needs to end or she needs to rediscover crack, because this goody-two-shoes bit gets a little heavy-handed.


See You Later, Alligator… Or Not.

The resolution of the book happens rather abruptly. One minute we are reading about how Alice's birthday is coming up and she's really feeling good about stuff, and the next—wham—an editor's note is stating that she overdosed and died. Bummer.

These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. We are thankful of their contributions and encourage you to make your own.

Go Ask Alice is a popular young adult novel written by Beatrice Sparks (January 15, 1917- May 25, 2012), an American therapist and Mormon youth counselor. Sparks' modus operandi was writing "real diaries" from the accounts of "troubled teens." The concepts and themes she often incorporated into these diaries were reflections of parental fears and taboos pertinent to the "Hippie" Generation of the 60's and 70's, including; drug dependency, Satanism/occultism, premarital sex, teenage pregnancies, sexually-transmitted diseases, fatal overdoses and suicide. Although Sparks claimed to only be a "discoverer" of the eleven published entries, records at the U.S. Copyright Office reveal her to be the sole author and editor of all but two.

Go Ask Alice details the pivotal events enabling an adolescent diarist’s dark descent into drugs, debauchery and depravity. Her name is never revealed to the reader, however a drug addict named Alice makes a minor appearance. The title itself is taken from the 1967 Jefferson Airplane song entitled "White Rabbit." The song itself is a literary allusion to Lewis Carol's magnum opus, Alice in Wonderland. Both of these derivatives have often been interpreted as describing the physiological effects of drugs, particularly with that of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The book created somewhat of a sensation upon its publication in 1971. It remains in print as of 2015, and has reportedly sold over five million copies. Its authenticity, however, has been widely disreputed and disproven. Although it still brandishes the "Anonymous" tagline, publishers have labeled it as "fiction" since the mid-1980s.

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