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The Optimist's Daughter: Hidden Depression Essay

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A smile has the incredible ability to hide anything. “The funny thing is, nobody ever really knows how much anybody else is hurting. We could be standing next to somebody who is completely broken and we wouldn’t even know it” (Anonymous). Many people in our world internally suffer. Some may say that “[t]he hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy” (Anonymous). During these years of life, people face an uncountable number of struggles and are exposed the true disfigurement of the world. When people undergo extreme or stressful situations that they cannot possibly handle and face the grief-stricken tragedies of the world, such as death, they normally fall into a dark hole called depression. Depression resides everywhere and it has existed for centuries. Throughout the years, however, it has progressively gotten worse. During the 1970s, depression constituted a less severe issue than it does in today’s society. In the 1970s, depression started to gain more attention as such an extensive problem, and began affecting humanity at a more youthful age as the years continued. The number of people suffering from depression today has nearly doubled since the 1970s. However, depression presents just as much of a concern today as it has in the past. In The Optimist's Daughter, Eudora Welty portrays depression through the juxtaposition of characters, her use of symbolism, and verbal irony portrayed throughout the novel.
The juxtaposition of characters Laurel, Fay, and Judge McKelva contains the differences of how depression affects each individual. In the beginning of the novel, the author declares: “[f]or a long time Judge McKelva was seen as a reassuring figure by the many who knew and liked him” (Welty 170). However, this d...


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...hen you know it isn't” (Anonymous). Perhaps this answers why depression remains such a huge issue in today’s world. When one acts as if he/she is content and conceals his/her bona fide feelings of anguish, no warning signs present anything being wrong. Others do not notice the true suffering that takes place within that person. Without the awareness and cognizance of this suffering, the unacknowledged depression could potentially lead to an even more immense issue. In fact, major depression usually results in suicide attempts. Statistics declare that, on average, someone attempts suicide every forty seconds in the United States. Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death among Americans (Caruso). Not being able to admit to something only makes it worse, and the outcomes could be fatal. Bottling up feelings of depression will only result in a deeper depression.



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