Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

1305 Words6 Pages
Conformity: A Precondition of Sanity Sanity is subjective. Every individual is insane to another; however it is the people who possess the greatest self-restraint that prosper in acting “normal”. This is achieved by thrusting the title of insanity onto others who may be unlike oneself, although in reality, are simply non-conforming, as opposed to insane. In Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted, this fine line between sanity and insanity is explored to great lengths. Through the unveiling of Susanna’s past, the reasoning behind her commitment to McLean Hospital for the mentally ill, and varying definitions of the diagnosis that Susanna received, it is evident that social non-conformity is often confused with insanity. When life becomes…show more content…
Additionally, Susanna comes across the stigma of mental illness relating to non-conformity while investigating the indicators of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD); Quite often social contrariness and a generally pessimistic outlook are observed [in people with borderline personality disorder]. What do you suppose they mean by ‘social contrariness’? Putting my elbows on the table? Refusing to get a job as a dental technician? Disappointing my parents’ hope that I would go to a first-rate university? (Kaysen 153-54). Susanna confronts this classification of BPD as she makes its imprecisions clear. She feels that the vagueness surrounding the ‘social contrariness’ and the ‘generally pessimistic outlook’ result in an unfair justification of BPD, as these behaviours are clearly not predictive of her adult life. She feels that there obviously should be more substantial medical indicators to this passage regarding BPD. There is only subjective content, resulting in inevitable confusion over true presence of insanity. Consequently, insanity can easily be confused with social non-conformity due to minor indicators in early life, which is otherwise categorized as simply being different as an adolescent. Specific indicators of insanity tend to be partially blurred; therefore, the reasoning behind an admission into a mental hospital is also not
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