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Girl Interuppted

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Girl Interrupted: Susanna Kaysen’s Mental Illness
Katie Casebeer
Margaret Gibson
Amancio Lopes
Molly Rather
Boston College
PY230

The film, Girl, Interrupted, is based on the life and memoir of Susanna Kaysen. During the late 1960’s Susanna Kaysen, attempted suicide and checked herself into a mental health hospital for two years. This movie adaptation weaves together the intricacies of Susanna’s personal life, the pressures of a changing society and the unexpected friendships she formed while committed to the hospital. In the film, directed by James Mangold, Susana is played by Winnona Ryder. The movie is made up of small vignettes of Susanna’s life. Susana is from a well-off family, but considers herself an outsider and
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Her impulsivity is seen in both her promiscuity and substance abuse in the movie. Susanna has an affair with one of her high school teachers. She also kisses one of the male attendants in the hospital, which is clearly against the rules. These risky sexual acts are a component to her disorder. These reckless decisions with her promiscuity and substance use are seen as one of the symptoms of her disorder. Another symptom is her frequent feelings of intense anger. Susanna tends to overreact to situations and become overly angry when things upset her. She frequently lashes out at inappropriate times, especially with the professionals in the hospital. When the therapists and staff try to help her, she usually becomes rude and angry and denies any form of help.
Another one of Susanna’s symptoms is her suicidal tendencies. Susanna is seen talking intensely about death and having suicidal thoughts with her boyfriend. In the opening scene of the movie, Susanna has attempted suicide by overdosing on aspirin and alcohol. She also has bruises from pounding her wrists. However, throughout the movie she is in denial of her suicide attempt and when asked about it claims she did not try to kill herself and “just had a headache.” Her denial of her suicidal tendencies is also considered a symptom of her
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