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Girl, Interrupted | Study Guide

Susanna Kaysen

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Girl, Interrupted | Checks | Summary



The nurses check on the girls in regular intervals of 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes, depending on the status of the patient's diagnosis. A patient with a less severe condition needs fewer checks. However, although Susanna is on half-hour checks, her room is inspected every 15 minutes due to her roommate's more serious status. The checks continue even at night.


The relative freedom at the ice cream parlor stands in stark contrast to the 24-hour surveillance at the hospital. On the ward, the girls measure time between the nurse's inspection of their rooms in increments that are too small for the patients to complete such basic tasks as taking a shower. The constant announcements of the checks and the sound of opening doors dictate the rhythm of their lives and signal the near-constant invasion of their privacy. As Susanna says, the checks "murder time," chipping away at the girls' lives.

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