Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. What does Kaysen’s inquiry into the meeting with the psychiatrist who diagnosed her tell us about her reliability as a narrator? What other conclusions can we draw?
2. How do people react when Kaysen tells them of her hospitalization? How does she cope with their reactions?
3. What does the Lisa Cody episode reveal about Lisa? Does Kaysen judge Lisa for her actions?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Among the adult characters, who are sympathetic? Why do we find them to be sympathetic?
2. In what ways does Kaysen cast doubt on whether she was actually mentally ill? Why does she create this doubt?
3. What does Kaysen mean when she asks whether Daisy’s suicide was “really premature?”
4. Why did Kaysen include her hospital records in the memoir?
5. Why does Kaysen relate the events of her time at McLean in nonchronological order? What is the effect of this choice on our understanding of her experience?
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