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Literature Study GuidesGirl InterruptedDo You Believe Him Or Me Summary

Girl, Interrupted | Study Guide

Susanna Kaysen

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Girl, Interrupted | Do You Believe Him or Me? | Summary



The doctor who suggested that Susanna sign herself into the mental ward claims that he spoke to her for three hours. Susanna feels that it was no more than 20 or 30 minutes. The nurse's report at admission admits her at 1:30 p.m., while the admission record states 11:30 a.m.

Depending on which one of these records are deemed correct, either the doctor's claim that he interviewed her for three hours or her claim that the interview lasted 20 minutes, both are supposedly right. Susanna wonders whether it matters and suggests the reader decide whom to believe.


This chapter poignantly illustrates the relative nature of truth for Susanna. The psychiatrist and Susanna both can show evidence for their respective claims about the vital interview session that sends her to McLean, yet their claims offer a vastly different notion of truth. A three-hour session might be considered thorough enough to determine a patient's diagnosis, while a 20-minute session seems like a negligent rush to judgment. While the medical establishment (and perhaps, even society) is likely to believe a credentialed psychiatrist rather than a young woman with a mental illness, Susanna challenges her readers to judge for themselves. Given the written records to support either claim, it is impossible to draw either conclusion with certainty. Both versions of the truth stand, and the "real" truth lies in the eye of the beholder.

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