Novel: McLean as a “parallel universe”; another Ivy League school
The film: TV & The Wizard of Oz – Dorothea finding her way “home”
Introduction (2): Background and Theme
Background: 60’s –
an age of revolution and political upheavals—Vietnam War, assassination of Martin Luther King
Girls go to girls’ college
Plot: a girl (would-be writer) finds her way back to society after staying in Claymoore/McLean for two years.
Questions: Interrupted by what? At what place? Return (向前走) to what?
Madness vs. Normality
Are they sane? Or Mad?
Susanna Kaysen–borderline personality
Polly Clark –burns victim
? A dyke
Sane or Insane? (Susanna Kaysen)
“Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60's. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted.”
(film: chap 18) “How many girls do you think a seventeen-year-old boy would have to screw to earn the label “compulsively promiscuous”? Three? No, not enough. Six? Doubtful. Ten? That sounds more likely. Probably in the fifteen-to-twenty range, would be my guess—if they ever put that label on boys, which I don’t recall their doing.
And for seventeen-year-old-girls, how many boys?” (158)
Hospitalization: Necessity? Susanna
Admission Voluntary? She signs herself in has no right to leave.
Discharge qualification Daisy?
(medicine administration, name calling, room checks, indifferent attitude and no privacy. “fascist torture chamber”)
Definition of madness: Matter of degree. Social standard: majority = norm.
“Crazy isn't being broken...... or swallowing a dark secret. lt's you or me......amplified. lf you ever told a lie......and enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could be a child forever. They were not perfect...but they were my friends.”
Deleted Scenes in Film
(blood flood in supermarket, boneless hands) She looks more normal in the film’s final version
Fewer coincidences Film is more realistic
No museum scene no explanation to the topic
From the Memoir to the Film
Dramatization and Addition:
Going to Daisy’s house and Lisa’s final threat to Suzanne
The memoir – juxtaposition of the hospital diagnosis
The film: Lisa -- "I'm playing the villain," "They were not perfect but they were my friends."
The memoir's endings:
Suzanne: out of the hospital because of her engagement
seeing Lisa with her baby on the street
“There are so many of them: worlds of the insane, the criminal, the crippled, the dying, perhaps of the dead as well. These worlds exist alongside this world and resemble it, but are not in it” (Kaysen 5). those excluded by “normality” in social discourses.
My self-image was not unstable. I saw myself, quite correctly, as unfit for the educational and social systems. But my parents and teachers did not share my self-image. Their image of me was unstable, since it was out of kilter with reality and based on their needs and wishes. They did not put much value on my capacities, which were admittedly few, but genuine. I read everything, I wrote constantly, and I had boyfriends by the barrelful. (155)
In the list of six “potentially self-damaging” activities favored by the borderline personality, three are commonly associated with women (shopping sprees, shoplifting, and eating binges) and one with men (reckless driving). One is not “gender-specific,” as they say these days (psychoactive substance abuse). And the definition of the other (casual sex) is in the eye of the beholder. (158)
A chapter on “”
“something of a catchall, describing people with intense narcissism, unstable personal relationships, self-damaging behaviors, and a need to create conflict among those around them. People receive the diagnosis because they manage to succeed at basic life tasks even though they often appear to be crazy.
Some psychotherapists will say, however, that the term borderline personality disorder is just another way of expressing that they hate the patient. Unfortunately, borderlines do not respond well to pharmacotherapy, unlike people suffering from more common diagnoses such as depression, now treated almost exclusively with medication. (Krin Gabbard)
Interrupted by Whom? The Teacher
Interrupted by Whom? Painting as a Social Discourse
Marshall, Elizabeth. “Borderline Girlhoods: Mental Illness, Adolescence, and Femininity in Girl, Interrupted.” Lion & the Unicorn 30. 1(2006 Jan): 117-133.
Gabbard, Krin. "Therapy's 'Talking Cure' Still Works—in Hollywood." Chronicle of Higher Education (11 Feb. 2000): B9+.