I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

by: Joanne Greenberg

Chapters 16-19

Summary Chapters 16-19


Esther and Jacob finally admit that Deborah's illness does not have a quick and easy cure. Therefore, they tell Suzy the truth. Suzy, against all their expectations, takes the news calmly. She had always wondered why the reports from the hospital never mentioned physical problems. Now that she knows about Deborah's illness, everything makes sense. She hopes that Deborah will be well enough to return home soon.

Deborah once thought that she alone had a poisoned and poisoning substance, but now it seems that all the patients on the Disturbed Ward have the same taint. Deborah tells Dr. Fried that when she was nine, Yr gave her the ability to change her form. So, when the Second World War began, Deborah became Japanese. She was disguised as an American, but she was a captured Japanese soldier. Her transformation gave meaning to Yr's declaration that she was not "one of them."

After the session, Deborah senses Yr's oncoming punishment, so she asks a nurse to prepare her for restraints. Yr declares that her coming to the hospital was all part of the plan. The Third Mirror, the last deception, is yet to come. When she comes to, she is in pain due to the lack of movement and circulation in her legs. Deborah calls out for help, but the staff in long in responding. When she asked the nurse to prepare the restraints, Deborah had willingly asked for help for the first time. With the lingering pain in her legs, she considers the staff's "help" a cruel joke, a deception. Deborah relates all of this to Dr. Fried and declares that she knows Dr. Fried plans to betray her. Dr. Fried denies the accusation, but Deborah demands proof. Dr. Fried replies that time itself will prove her loyalty.

When Doris Rivera is brought back to the hospital, screaming and fighting, Deborah bitterly declares that the hope she represented was false after all. Deborah asks Doris if the world proved too tough for her, and Doris responds with bitter, angry sarcasm that she was simply too tough for the world. Later, Deborah breaks her ankle in an accident and has to be treated at another hospital, where the staff watches her with a morbid curiosity. Deborah realizes that this is what she and other patients will have to face when they leave the mental hospital.

Deborah confesses to Dr. Fried that she was tempted to act out "insanity" at the other hospital. Dr. Fried suggests that she would do better to help others understand mental illness. Deborah insists that her poisoned and poisoning substance only lets her have a kinship with people who share her taint. At camp, she and another girl, Eugenia, became friends. Later, Deborah found Eugenia in the showers, naked and alone. Eugenia gave her a leather belt and asked Deborah to beat her. Deborah, realizing that Eugenia had the same taint, ran away and never spoke to her again. If the same incident happened now, Deborah would not be afraid because she's "crazy now." For years, Deborah knew she was sick, although everyone told her she wasn't. When Dr. Fried told Deborah that she was sick, she proved that Deborah was saner than she thought.

When Carla returns to the Disturbed Ward, Carla assures Deborah that she shouldn't feel bad for her. She became tired because she tried to do too much at once. The gods of Yr declare that Deborah's poisonous essence is destined to destroy Carla. Deborah continues to share the secrets of Yr with Dr. Fried, but only to hasten the arrival of the final Deceit. Dr. Fried declares that Deborah's desire to meet her final destruction with beauty and poise is simply adolescent melodrama. Dr. Fried announces that she will be gone for the summer, so Dr. Royson will take over Deborah's case temporarily.

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