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Girl, Interrupted

Susanna Kaysen

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full title ·  Girl, Interrupted

author · Susanna Kaysen

type of work · Memoir

genre · Memoir; autobiography

language · English

time and place written · Early 1990s; Cambridge, Massachusetts

date of first publication ·  1993

publisher · Turtle Bay Books

narrator · Susanna Kaysen constructs an account of her time at McLean Hospital from memory and hospital documentation, commenting on the cultural context and of her experiences and the people who shaped them. Although the work is autobiographical, Kaysen does not write on a strictly linear timeline; she merges events and people for dramatic effect and to protect identities.

point of view · First person

tone · Reflective; philosophical; darkly humorous; critical

tense · Past

setting (time) ·  19671969

setting (place) · McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

protagonist · Susanna Kaysen

major conflict · Sent to a residential psychiatric program in the wake of a suicide attempt, Kaysen struggles to heal in the face of mental illness, the oppression of confinement, and the uncertainty of a changing world.

themes · Confusion of social nonconformity with insanity; freedom vs. captivity; limited choices available to women

motifs · Time; detachment; generation gap

symbols · Hospital records; tunnels

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The answer to question 17 is incorrect

by texasfocus, April 19, 2014

17. Whom do the girls visit on the maximum-security ward?

SparkNotes says the correct answer is Lisa Cody, when it was actually Alice Calais (vivid because of the feces all over her and the room).

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