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Girl, Interrupted | Study Guide

Susanna Kaysen

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Girl, Interrupted | Topography of the Future | Summary



Susanna recalls how she met her future husband at the movies before she was hospitalized. He tracks her down and stays loyal throughout her stay at McLean although she refuses to see him. Once she is well on the road to recovery, she is allowed to see him outside McLean, and he proposes. The girls and staff at McLean encourage her to accept him, and she does. Susanna foreshadows, however, that the marriage will end in divorce.


In this chapter, typical of the memoir genre, an older, wiser self tells the story of a younger, troubled self. The older Susanna recounts how she met her future husband, how he courted her, and how they got married, which leads to her immediate release from the mental ward. Susanna Kaysen, the narrator, exerts control over her story the way Susanna, the character, begins to take control of her life. For her younger self, marriage will mean freedom from the constant supervision and analysis at McLean. The older self knows the marriage will end—and must end—if she is to claim her career as an independent writer.

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