Portrayal Of Mental Illness In Girl, Interrupted

751 words - 3 pages

The novel Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen shows the reader what life is like inside of a mental hospital in 1967. In this autobiographical novel, Susanna Kaysen is admitted into McLean Hospital, where she spends two years forced to follow the hospitals strict rules and being subjected to the nurse's constant checks and constant invasions of privacy. The movie was directed by James Mangold in 1999, and while it maintained some of the major elements in the book, several side characters were left out, such as Georgina's boyfriend Wade and the drug addict Torrey, and major plots were changed or left out completely.
The story takes place in 1967, in a mental institution named McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. Susanna Kaysen is admitted to the mental hospital after an unsuccessful suicide attempt shortly after she graduates high school. While there, she meets other patients with diverse illnesses, such as Lisa, a psychopath, Polly, who has self-inflicted burns covering most of her body, Georgina, a compulsive liar, and Daisy, who is obsessed with both laxatives and roasted chicken. In the movie version, Susanna becomes fascinated with Lisa, and eventually the two run away from the hospital together. After wandering for a while, the two find Daisy, who had left the hospital some time before. Daisy allows Susanna and Lisa to stay at her house for a night, and Lisa torments her relentlessly about her new life and her condition that put her in the hospital in the first place. Daisy kills herself the next day, causing Lisa to leave and Susanna to go back to the hospital, where she starts to put real effort into getting better. When Lisa is caught and returned to the hospital, the two have a confrontation that leads to Lisa being put into isolation. Eventually Susanna is released from the hospital, and she wonders if she ever really needed to be there in the first place.
A major theme of the movie is what differentiates simply being different from everyone else and being mentally ill. While at the hospital, Susanna questions her diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and wonders if her diagnosis makes her crazy (Bouchard). By the end of the movie, Susanna believes that “Crazy isn't being broken, or...

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