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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Joanne Greenberg

Chapters 11-15

Chapters 6-10

Chapters 11-15, page 2

page 1 of 3


After Hobbs commits suicide, he is replaced with a Conscientious Objector, Ellis. Sylvia announces that it is against the Conscientious Objector's religion to commit suicide. Normally, Sylvia is silent, so Lee Miller hurries to inform a nurse that Sylvia spoke. Deborah admires Lee for joining reality for Sylvia's benefit. Deborah descends into a psychotic episode as Yr's gods declare that they will punish her with insanity if she dares to admire the Earth world.

The patients continually ridicule Ellis' religious beliefs. Deborah taunts him with a comparison between psychotics and religious zealots. Ellis considers himself a Christian martyr. McPherson, a popular attendant who is never attacked, asks Deborah to leave Ellis alone. Deborah declares that neither Ellis nor Hobbs was different from the patients. McPherson angrily tells her that a lot of people who need, even want, help cannot afford to get it. Although she is terrified, Deborah is happy that McPherson treated her with the respect one accords an equal.

Dr. Fried states that Yr is Deborah's own creation, acknowledging that it is nevertheless real for Deborah. Deborah realizes now that her grandfather's bitter anger and resentment against the long-dead Latvian noblemen is part of her illness. His pride in her was also an expression of his anger and the battle with the Latvian noblemen that mattered only to him. In the United States, there were new battles against anti-Semitic Americans. The adults were amazed at her sharp wit, but children saw through it, so they tormented her. Suddenly Deborah recalls a distant memory of being cared for by a nurse. She felt that the world had gone gray. Dr. Fried suggests that she is remembering feelings of abandonment after her mother had to go away for rest after miscarrying her twin sons. Deborah experiences these same feelings and colorlessness when she suffers psychotic episodes. When Dr. Fried touches Deborah to comfort her, the doctor's touch feels like lightening to Deborah.

Many nurses and attendants are afraid of the similarities between themselves and the patients. Deborah tries to comfort those who are frightened of her, but she only succeeds in frightening them more. Yr's gods declares that she will taint those of the Earth world, triggering a psychotic episode. When she comes to, Helene is restrained in a nearby bed. Ellis enters the room to take Helene's pulse. When she resists, he methodically slaps her into submission. Deborah later reports his violence to the ward staff, but no one takes her seriously.

Deborah gives Dr. Fried the name Furii, or Fire-Touch, in Yri. Dr. Fried promises to mention Ellis' violence at the staff meeting, but she warns Deborah that she has no control over the Disturbed Ward's policy. Deborah declares that Dr. Fried's reality is useless if it is so unjust. Dr. Fried reminds her that she only promised to help Deborah become free of her illness, so that she could fight for peace, happiness, and justice. Dr. Fried suddenly remembers that when Tilda once escaped the hospital in Nazi Germany, she returned to tell Dr. Fried that the world outside was crazier than she was.

Dr. Fried demands that Deborah address her relationship with her father. Deborah confesses that she and her father share the same violent temper. Once, when a man flashed Deborah, he acted as if Deborah had attracted this perverted attention. Deborah cried out that she had already been broken and violated, so she was not good enough for a better kind of man. Her father slapped her because he secretly had entertained the same thoughts. Dr. Fried promises Deborah that after their work is done, Deborah will be free to choose between Earth and insanity.

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