As defined by Oxford dictionary, fear is “a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety of someone.” In the novel Everything, Everything, Madeline Whittier is an 18 year old girl who has spent every single breathing moment of her life inside. Her disease, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID) is when newborns have a set of life threatening conditions that cause them to have little to no immune systems, therefore making it very difficult to fight off common infections. This causes her to believe that any single bacteria outdoors could kill her.
Madeline Whitter’s journey throughout the novel allows her to find her independence resisting the urge to give in to fear. She does this by overcoming her fear ,of the outdoor, learning to trust her instincts, and applying her recently acquired confidence to confront her mother. As Madeline begins to separate her beliefs from her mom’s, she evolves from being very dependant to learning more about the reality of her situation. Madeline starts her journey towards independence by overcoming her fear of the outdoors. By taking risks she reveals new truths as she starts to form new opinions on her living situation. Ever since she was little, Madeline had only ever heard her mother’s over exaggerated version of the disease.
She adheres to her mother’s rules of staying indoors, thereby impairing her perspective in a negative way. In order to overcome her fear, she faces them by going outside; however, doing so goes against her moms commands, so she becomes more independent. Demonstrated in this quote, “and your mother would never allow it… “we won’t tell her”, I say instantly”(Yoon 66), Maddy’s immediate reaction is to conceal her romantic relationship from her mother which displays how comfortable she is now, rebelling against her mother’s wishes, which contrasts to what she would’ve done in the past. Madeline’s choice to do so represents a change in her attitude regarding her disease because although she knows this could possibly kill her, she desires a life where she feels free, and chooses to hide it. The change in her judgement further contributes to her newly developed independence. As her character develops, it is seen that their mother daughter relationship slowly deteriorates by not talking and hiding.
Her opinions begin to grow, as does her confidence in them as she begins to accept the idea of risk through exposing herself . Her actions and reactions reinforce that she is beginning to accept the idea of risk. I don’t understand, she says, her voice shrill and confused. Why would you do that? I’m OK, I say, answering the question she doesn’t ask. It was only a minute.
Less than a minute. She relinquishes my arm and lifts my chin. Why would you risk your life for a total stranger? I’m not skillful enough liar to hide my feelings from her. Olly’s in my skin. (Yoon 136)As established above, Madeline no longer feels the need to discuss personal matters with her mom. When asked why she would risk her life, Maddy’s willing response shows that she can now form opinions on her own. Maddy has reached a point where she would rather beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission. When Maddy’s new determination to confront her fear arises, she demonstrates an altered outlook on life.
Maddie’s character evolves over the course of encountering her fear; however, this is only the first step she takes in discovering her liberty.Secondly, as Madeline matures and learns more about herself, she also begins to trust her own instincts. This is because in evolving into a more outspoken, independent person, she must voice her newly formed opinions by having strong belief in them. In summary, as Madeline gains new experience, she forms opinions and is later on, able to trust them. As illustrated here, “She doesn’t know about the touch on my ankle, the holding hands, the almost-shared breath. I should tell her, but I don’t. I’m afraid she’ll stop our visits. Another lie to add to my growing count” (Yoon 124), Madeline decides not to tell the nurse, Carla, that she has recently come in contact with another person, which could possibly trigger an allergic reaction because she feels fine immediately afterwards.
It can be analyzed above that her character begins to start trusting her instincts because though it is known her condition is very dangerous, she gains the ability to trust that her body would feel symptomatic if she were in danger. Since it is seen that in the past she would not have done so and required a medical test to confirm, it is hinted at the fact that Maddy is able to permuse her body and medical tests more equally than in the past. As the novel progresses, it can be examined that Maddy’s personality develops from heavily relying on others for everyday tasks to an independant and self-relying woman.
This quote exemplifies her new trait, “I do, too, but I’d be a bad mother if I let her stay. Do you understand? She put your life in danger. She was my friend, I say quietly” (Yoon 147). It is shown here that Maddy is not only able to form new opinions, but also defend them because of the new trust she has found within herself. By having opposing opinions to those of her mother, she now has a sense of confidence and reason behind her thoughts because her mother is very persuasive, having controlled her for 18 years. Maddy’s ability to break free from assumptions highlights her newfound independence and sense towards her contradicting feelings. This has been strictly constructed through her past encounters with internal conflicts, where she has found the ability to trust her instincts.Subsequently, Maddy is able to achieve liberty by using the self confidence she has gained over the course of the novel to confront her mother.
This is because as she experiences new events, her belief in her disease slowly fades giving her confidence in her one true wish of being able to live a normal teenage life. Maddy experiences many new encounters, including the outdoors and finding more out about her disease by snooping. These events give her a push of courage about her condition being fictitious and with this she is able to take a final step to independence by confronting her mother figure, Pauline Whittier. Indicated in this reference “But nothing is not evidence… Where’s the proof of the life I have lived?… And that’s when I know for sure. I am not sick and I never have been” (Yoon 274-275), the main character realizes here that although her mother is very meticulous, there aren’t any records of her disease which leads her to question her, now feeling adequately assured.
It is scrutinized here that because of the strong bond that has been formed between Pauline and herself over the past 18 years, Madeline would need an extreme amount of confidence in both her physical state after going outdoors and her mental belief in the disease. Her mom’s conceivable persuasive ability has become very strong over the past 18 years, it is evaluated that Maddy was able to develop similar persuasive abilities which she was able to use with her mother’s vulnerability in the moment. “Yes I say.
And Carla, too. She said that maybe you weren’t OK. Meaning what? What am I accusing her of exactly? Where are all the papers? I demand”(Yoon 275).
Made clear above Madeline took advantage of her mom’s vulnerability in the moment by using her recently acquired courage to confront the one person she had full trust in. With the evidence she found she was able to resist against her unhealthy bond of trust. It is analyzed that by constantly adhering to her mother, Maddy has now developed similar persuasion skills to those of her mom working against her vulnerability. Observed through the confrontation, Maddy’s emotions fueled her decisions where she was able to utilize courage and evidence because of how influential this disease has been on her life. In order to benefit from the moment of question Madeline evokes upon the ambiguous aspects of the story because of this unexpected course of events. Ultimately, Madeleine’s journey to independence was successful due to three critical happenings. Foremost, by being risky to conquer her angst of the outdoors she was able to uncover new findings about her disease, this lead her to build courage along the way.
In building courage she was able to continually make good decisions which cause a strand of faith in herself to grow from within. Finally her belief within herself, by having self confidence Maddy was able to confront her mother, the one person she has full trust in. Her ambition towards her significant goal of being individual had been reached due to the many dangers and opportunities Madeline had exposed herself to. Opposing against fear and her determination towards her truth had opened a path to independence, without these events Maddy new found independence wouldn’t exist!