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Warner Stephanie PYC 242 C Dr. David Knight 27 November 2007 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green is a book about a girl named Deborah Blau. The book tells of Deborah's life from the age of sixteen to nineteen as she is admitted into a mental institution. There she is diagnosed with schizophrenia and starts psychotherapy with Dr. Clara Fried. Deborah had created a world, the Kingdom of Yr, as a form of defense from a confusing and frightening reality. When Deborah was five, she had surgery to remove a tumor in her ovaries. This was a traumatic experience that involved a great deal of physical pain and shame. During her childhood, Deborah suffered frequent abuse from her anti-Semitic peers and neighbors. When Deborah first created Yr, it was a beautiful and comforting place, but over time the gods of Yr became tyrannical dictators who ruled Deborah's every word and action. The novel presents the issue of mental illness from multiple viewpoints. Deborah's three years in the hospital provides the reader with a picture of mental illness as it is experienced by the patient. Deborah's parents, Esther and Jacob, are torn between their love for their daughter and their shame at the stigma of her illness. They find the courage to allow Deborah to continue treatment even when there are few signs of recovery for a long period of time. Deborah struggles with guilt and resentment at her parents' disappointed expectations for her while her younger sister Suzy copes with her frustration at having to arrange her life around Deborah's illness. Dr. Fried slowly wins Warner 2 Deborah's trust through their therapy sessions. She never forces Deborah to accept her point of view. Over the course of three years, Dr. Fried helps Deborah gain the courage to fight her illness. Her goal is to give Deborah the ability to choose between the reality of Earth, despite all its faults and problems, over the phantoms of Yr. During this time Deborah develops friendships with the other patients in the hospital despite their fear of emotional investment in other people. Even though she fears the reality of Earth, Deborah eventually earns a GED and resolves to win her struggle against her illness. I think one of the things that struck me the most in this book was being able to see the story from the patient's view. It was neat to see and experience things through Deborah's eyes. This made the story more real, because I could relate to Deborah more and have empathy for what she was going through. Although there were plenty of times when Deborah did things that I could not even fathom. She dragged the metal down the inside of her upper arm, watching blood start slowly from the six or seven tracks that followed the metal down below the elbow. There was no pain, only the unpleasant sensation of the resistance of her flesh. The tin top was drawn down again, carefully and fastidiously following the original tracks. She worked hard, scraping deeper, ten times or so up and back until the inside of her arm was a gory swath. Then she fell asleep (pg. 57-58). After reading this, I became sick to my stomach. I could not understand why someone would want to do that to them selves. What made me more upset was right after this incident, all the nurses had to say about Deborah was that they never thought she was actually sick, and that she never had to do anything hard in her life. You never what know is going on in a person's life or in their head. It made me mad that these nurses that were supposed to be taking care of Deborah did even think she should be in the institution. I think I was upset by this because I think people should be helped when they Warner 3 need it. Obviously Deborah needed help, and it saddened me to see that the people who were supposed to be helping her get better didn't even think she needed help. This changed after Deborah was moved to the D ward. Even in this ward she was able to do things to injure her self. She found ways to collect cigarettes and matches, so that she could burn herself repeatedly. This made me wonder how much the nurses and staff that look over the patients really care about the patients, and want them to get better. It was hard to understand Deborah at times. I often got confused when she was talking to the people from her Kingdom of Yri. I did not understand what everything meant in her made up world, and who the people were or the purpose they served in her world. As the book progressed I understood more and more who each character was in her Kingdom of Yri, and what their purposes were. I certainly can understand why she would want to create her own world. Life is rough sometimes. Looking at my life or even the life of a typically college student, you can see why someone would want to retreat away from reality. Having tons and tons of work to do constantly and then once you think you have everything done, the work load piles back on again, could make anyone want to leave reality for awhile. Or even, like Deborah's case, not being accepted by anyone and constantly being ridiculed would make any person want to leave reality and have another place that was safe and pleasing to go to. A made up world will not solve anyone's problems in reality, though. As the book progressed, I kept wondering if Deborah would ever get better. I guess this is because I am an optimistic person and I always want stories to end happily. I was excited to see Deborah start to rid herself of Yri and see that Earth could be a good place too. I was also excited to see her achieve something; she was able to go to school Warner 4 and be "sane" and get her GED. What saddened me was at the end of the book, she is back in the institution. I was sad because just like everyone else I had hope that she would make it in the world and be alright, and her being back in the ward meant she had failed. It saddened me that the world was so harsh to Deborah that she could not see how she could find strength to go back out there again, as she states in the end of the book. What was good, though, was that even though she was back on the ward she continued to learn from her school books and finally said goodbye to her Kingdom of Yri. This shows that not all endings are perfect. Even though Deborah was not out in the world and was still in an institution in the end, she is still making progress towards becoming "sane". This is just how life is. Things don't always go as planned or end perfectly. In order for Deborah to be able to get better, it isn't going to be easy and once she is out into the real world, that's not going to be easy either. Deborah's struggles through this book can be valuable lessons learned, and applied to our own lives. Life does not come easy and just like the book is titled and Dr. Fried even says it's no rose garden. ... View Full Document

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