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Girl, Interrupted | Study Guide

Susanna Kaysen

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Girl, Interrupted | Another Lisa | Summary



A new patient, also called Lisa, arrives. They call her by her full name, Lisa Cody, to show deference to and distinguish her from Lisa Rowe. Lisa Cody looks up to and admires Lisa, the sociopath on the floor, and the two of them become friends. Cynthia is depressive, Polly and Georgina are schizophrenics, and Susanna suffers from a vaguely defined personality disorder. When Lisa Cody is diagnosed as a sociopath, too, Lisa wants to prove that of the two, she is the real sociopath, and she begins to act out to prove it. And when Lisa Cody declares that, like Lisa, "she'd been a junkie (drug user), too," Lisa accuses her of being a suburban wannabe—a fake junkie.

Lisa pulls a prank with light bulbs designed to insult Lisa Cody, who disappears days later. Lisa Rowe runs away, too, only to reappear two days later, gleefully stating that she ran into Lisa Cody, who is a real junkie now.


What seems like the growing friendship of two like-minded girls turns into a struggle of life and death that reveals an upside-down hierarchy. The girls consider scars, like Polly's burnt skin, to be like medals, and the severity of one's diagnosis decides one's status. At McLean, the crazier you are, the better. Lisa Rowe, a sociopath, enjoys her position at the top of the social ladder. A true sociopath, Lisa cannot accept competition from Lisa Cody and quickly turns on her. They compete to see who is the truer junkie, who acts out the most, and who deserves the more severe diagnosis. To Lisa, the purpose of their competition is not simply to determine who comes out on top in their world, but to destroy Lisa Cody. And she succeeds: the other Lisa disappears from the ward and becomes a drug addict. The incident reveals the true nature and severity of Lisa Rowe's mental illness. She is a genuine sociopath who does not care about the consequences of her actions.

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