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Girl Interupted Essay

2544 words - 11 pages

Robin Warrick
Girl interrupted
The symbolic “parallel universe” of mental illness that Kaysen describes gives us insight into the all-consuming nature of diseases of the mind. Afflictions of this sort are, in the author’s view, as encompassing as a physical disability, a life of crime, or even death. Georgina’s life enters the parallel universe without any warning when a “tidal wave of blackness” sweeps over her. This frightening description of the sudden and unpreventable onset of profound depression sets the stage for the memoir’s exploration of Kaysen’s own struggles. She notes that even from within the parallel universe of illness, one is aware of the reality left behind. Kaysen and ...view middle of the document...

I believe Kaysen added these real documents to show the reader what actually went on and to prove that she wasn’t making anything up. We are able to see what the doctors thought and also how Kaysen acted. Did she really have a mental disorder? Kaysen carefully edges around the issue of whether she was ever truly ill. Her doubt exposes one of the central themes of the memoir: the line between sane and insane, normal and deviant is a blurry one. More importantly, it is a distinction that, except in the most desperate instances of mental illness, barely captures the personality it seeks to classify. The distinction between “normal” and “crazy” can be so fine, she argues, that our insistence on making it is shortsighted at best. After all, even in the case of the demonstrably insane, “is a nonreality-recognizing brain truly as different from a reality-recognizing brain as a foot, say, from a brain? This seems unlikely. Recognizing the agreed-upon version of reality is only one of billions of brain jobs.” Things that I’ve started to wonder are, is Kaysen actually mentally ill or has she just given up and doesn’t really care what happens anymore. I agree with her about all youth having trouble at some point in time as a teen but that doesn’t make you mentally ill. Kaysen intersperses the essays in the book with copies of internal McLean Hospital records. These records represent what Kaysen describes as the “accurate but . . . not profound” nature of her doctors’ understanding of her problems. The records report Kaysen’s name, address, details of her suicide attempt, and other facts, but they provide little context and even less interpretation. The records are reminders of who she was and what she faced during those difficult years. The unreliability of the records becomes apparent when Kaysen discloses the contradictory accounts of her admission to the hospital.
I think Susana complied with the doctor because at the time she felt that there may actually may be something wrong with her, even though she explains to the doctor that it was a suicide attempt he just tells her that she should go for a couple of months to rest. And Susana does feel that she needs a rest and it wouldn’t be long so in actuality why would she have any objections. When Susana makes the comment Have you ever confuzzled a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train was moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the '60's. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted. Saying this to anyone would have them wonder if a person was sane or not so saying this to a doctor does justify why he may have thought Susana may be ill. The fact that Kaysen was able to make friends so easily and report so clearly gives off doubt that she was mentally ill. Someone with a personality disorder would unlikely befriend others. Kaysen describes each character in her book in great detail she gives insight to the...

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