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Girl, Interrupted - English CCA
Transcript of Girl, Interrupted - English CCA
ENG3C CCA 2014
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele.
For my independent novel I read
Susanna Kaysen's book
The novel was informative and Susanna's writing style was poetic and in-depth.
is a biography of the writer herself during her nearly 2 year stay at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in the Mid 60's. Unlike fiction novels, what she wrote in her book actually happened and in some parts that's hard to comprehend.
Plot Summary and Setting
The novel takes place at McLean
Psychiatric Hospital in Belmont,
Massachusetts during the mid
Protagonist: Susanna Kaysen
-18 years old
-diagnosed as having a borderline personality disorder.
Antagonist: Lisa Rowe
-Diagnosed as a Sociopath
Secondary Character: Daisy Randone
-OCD of Self-Harm
-Confusion of Social Non-conformity with Social Insanity
-Freedom vs. Captivity
-Limited Choices Available to Women
made in 1999.
Conflict That Occurs
Internal Conflict : Susanna vs. Herself
Susanna's internal conflict with herself
is based upon her mental state. Susanna is in
denial as to why she has been sent to a psychiatric hospital. She has trouble accepting
and recovering as a patient in the ward.
External Conflict: Susanna vs. Lisa
Susanna became close friends
with Lisa a rebellious sociopath at one point,
but soon enough Susanna became dependent
on Lisa's friendship. Shortly after an escape Susanna's progress of recovery plummeted as she began following Lisa's rebellious and manipulative ways in the ward.
External Conflict: Susanna vs. Belmont
After Susanna is sent to McLean
everyone in her hometown soon finds
out her promiscuous acts and
her suicide attempt. Family friends soon
begin to insult and shut her out.
How I Chose My Research Project
Out of the three research topics I had in mind I found that there was one that was more interesting and different. My research topic had shocking information, and the entire book was practically based around it.
My Research Topic
Psychiatric Hospitals During the 1960's
was from the 1960's
I thought writing about this topic would be interesting. Reading about McLean in Susanna's point of view seemed imaginary but after researching about psychiatric hospitals in the 60's it really brought Susannas terrors into the light.
Treatments used during the 1960's
is a neurosurgical operation that involves severing connections in the brain's frontal lobe.
The first procedures involved cutting a hole in the skull and injecting ethanol into the brain to destroy the fibers that connected the frontal lobe to other parts of the brain.
treatment of chronic mental conditions by electroconvulsive therapy or by inducing physiological shock.
shock therapy was when a doctor shot 220 volts of electricity onto a patients body, in an attempt to cure them
What the Hospitals and Staff were Like
"Individuals in the overcrowded facility were living
in filth and dirt, their clothing in rags, in rooms
less comfortable and cheerful than the cages in which we put animals in a zoo." - Robert Kennedy
Start at: 40.34
Unlike McLean Hospital which
was originally for wealthy families and included servants, fireplaces and large rooms, state psychiatric hospitals were very different. Patients were treated carelessly and were often raped and abused by the orderlies.
The 1960's were also a time
of drug testing. There were lots of new medications that were tested on patients. Patients were also forced to take medications that made them have horrible side effects . One of the highly used medications was a sedative called Thorazine, it could either be ejected or taken in a syrup. The medicine would then instantly make the patient woozy and jell-o like.
How My Topic Impacts Society
I believe my topic impacts society because it's something that happened to millions of people around the world. The medications and treatments changed how mental health is taken care of today. It teaches society that nearly 45-50 years ago having mental health issues would result to you being locked away from the rest of society. Treated as if you were crazy just because you were different from other people.
In conclusion this book did more than just describe psychiatric hospitals in the 1960's.
Susanna Kaysen captured the pain and the heartache of other patients that other people may have never realized.
"Declared healthy and sent back
into the world. My final diagnosis:
a recovered borderline. What that means, I still don't know. Was I ever crazy? Maybe. Or maybe life is." - Susanna Kaysen
What Susanna's main focus in her book was that the patients weren't "crazy" it was life that was crazy and the patients just couldn't put up with it all. That in the 1960's people didn't want to believe that their everyday lives were considered crazy. So they blame the crazy on weak-hearted innocent people. It took Susanna a while to get past the stereotypical crazy to realize that.
New York: Turtle Bay Books