Film "Girl Interrupted"

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Deviating from socially recognized action patterns, feelings, or impulses is referred to as abnormality. Normalcy is described as the lack of psychiatric disorders, which makes for a healthy state of well-being. It's difficult to tell the difference between sane and crazy acts. In the film Girl Interrupted, the paper emphasizes the fine line between normalcy and abnormalcy.

The formalized paraphrase Susanna Kaysen, an 18-year-old American adolescent, felt vulnerable, uncertain, and lonely in an ever-changing world. She attempted suicide and was taken to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. The condition indicates a pervasive pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships, mood, and self-image at early adulthood years. She was admitted at the McLean Hospital in Claymore. Kaysen questions whether she was ever suffering from the mental illness. The ambiguity exposes a central theme of the memoir: the difference between normal and abnormal. The distinction between sane and insane is a blurry one. Does one need to be diagnosed with a mental disorder to be considered insane or abnormal? Kaysen had unstable moods but was capable of loving, fearing, sadness, excitement, empathy and other emotions in human beings.

Susanna appeared different from the rest of the world while facing confinement at the hospital. She could not understand the meaning of her illness. “My final diagnosis: a recovered borderline. What does that mean? I still don't know. Was I ever crazy?” (Mangold et al.). The film does not seem to create the dichotomy between Susanna (sane) and the rest (crazy). The first experience with insanity was when she saw the women behaving bizarrely in the psychiatric unit. Valerie, the head nurse looked at Susanna and could explicitly differentiate her from the ‘crazy’. “I can take many things from the insane people. You are not crazy” Valerie said (Mangold et al.). It seems like Susanna was ‘driving herself to insanity’ due to her courses of actions-attempted suicide. The scene indicated that there mentally unstable individuals while others are not but can choose to be crazy.

Susanna met several women at the mental hospital and became great friends especially Lisa Rowe. Lisa (Angelina Jolie) was a sociopath and was a troublemaker at the hospital. She suffered from Antisocial Personality Disorder but was able to manipulate all other women around her. Apparently, Susanna was convinced of why she needed to stop her medication, sneak out of the hospital rooms and well as skipping therapy sessions. Lisa was able to convince fellow women patients to sneak out of the hospital on several occasions during her eight-year stay at the psychiatric unit. All this time, Susanna was aware of her movements and thoughts. She admired rebellious Lisa and her ability to think differently and independently.

At the hospital, Kaysen admitted having had a very troubling adolescent period which involves rebellion and rejection of the goals set out by the education system and parents. However, the behavior could not be used to predict her later adulthood. She almost concedes to be clinically ill as she narrated the story. However, in her portrayal of Daisy, Polly, and Alice, she talked of people incapacitated by mental disorders. These statements juxtapose other people’s predicament with her personal feelings. There is the popular belief that borderline personality disorder patients do not recover. Therefore, these people need treatment, hospitalization, and isolation from the society. People are quick to judge without putting into consideration about the consequences of confinement. She regrets the time spent at the hospital. She laments due to the wasted 2-years of her life. Maybe somebody lied to her or the whole world is "stupid" and "ignorant" leading to her predicaments (Mangold, et al.).


The Girl Interrupted is a film that explains mental illness and the treatment process. It explores psychiatric care but the question remains whether all patients diagnosed with the illnesses are all abnormal or different from the rest of the population. The film indicates legitimacy of psychiatry and the methods of treatment although there are challenges in trying to attend to people with behavior appear normal and abnormal at the same time. The mentally ill have no much difference from the rest and require proper care before they reintegrate with the community.

Work Cited

Mangold, James, Douglas Wick, Cathy Konrad, Lisa Loomer, Anna H. Phelan, Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Redgrave, Brittany Murphy, Vall C. Du, Elisabeth Moss, Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, Mychael Danna, and Susanna Kaysen. Girl, Interrupted. , 2011. Internet resource.

May 04, 2022




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