Girl, Interrupted | Study Guide

Susanna Kaysen

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Course Hero. "Girl, Interrupted Study Guide." June 14, 2017. Accessed October 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Girl-Interrupted/.

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Course Hero, "Girl, Interrupted Study Guide," June 14, 2017, accessed October 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Girl-Interrupted/.

Girl, Interrupted | The Taxi | Summary

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Summary

Susanna starts narrating the day she signs herself into the hospital at a psychiatrist's office. He remarks that she is picking at her pimple, interpreting this action as self-destructive behavior. She does not deny it, and instead relates her satisfaction at having popped the pimple. The doctor suggests that rest would be good for her and arranges for a taxi to take her to McLean. Susanna contemplates leaving to go to work and see her boyfriend, but the mere thought exhausts her.

Two hospital forms accompany this section. One, an inquiry regarding admission, offers the doctor's impressions of Susanna as severely depressed, suicidal, and promiscuous. The doctor notes that she "might kill self or get pregnant." An interoffice memorandum states that the doctor talked to Susanna for three hours, during which his decision to send her to McLean is based on her severe depression, chaotic lifestyle, and history of suicide attempts. The form also states that she is not his regular patient.

Analysis

Susanna illustrates how very easy it is to end up in a mental institution. A psychiatrist who saw her for only a short time interprets picking at a pimple as self-destructive behavior and tricks her into admitting herself to the mental ward of a psychiatric hospital. Susanna's lack of resistance and her exhaustion might well be signs of deep depression, yet the doctor's actions, diagnosing suicidal tendencies without a thorough analysis and investigation, highlight the careless ease with which the medical establishment labels patients without considering the consequences. The two weeks of rest the doctor suggests turn into almost two years in a mental hospital and a lifelong stigma.

The handwritten form labels Susanna as promiscuous, depressed, and suicidal after the hasty visit with the psychiatrist. This paperwork supports Susanna's narrative, making it impossible to dismiss her view of the rash diagnosis as the self-serving delusions of a mental patient. She is labeled by someone whose point of view is not based in thorough investigation and examination, but in preconceived notions of proper behavior for a teenage girl. The doctor's note that she might kill herself or become pregnant states the two possibilities as if they are interchangeable reasons for concern.

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