Girl interrupted

Essay by abcabc March 2004

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Susanna Kaysen is the author of Girl Interrupted, her memoirs that explore a two-year period that she spent as a patient in a mental institution for young women. Split into three sections, mind versus brain, the clinical definition of a borderline personality disorder, and her diagnosis, her memoirs serve as an argument against her clinical diagnosis. In "Mind vs. Brain" we are given a layman's introduction to psychology. Kaysen, through the use of various writing techniques, explains to the average reader what psychology is. Then, as a preface to her main argument, we are shown the different aspects of a borderline personality disorder and how one is diagnosed. Along with this scientific methodology, Kaysen infuses her own thoughts and opinions. And finally, she presents us with her argument where she explores her life as a young woman; how conformity and period sex roles landed her in a mental institution.

She revisits her friends and the events that occurred over 20 years ago while she was a member of the institution. Through her exploration, we the reader get to know her better by understanding the views and beliefs of the times and her personal struggle against conformity. Battling the role of women in society, Kaysen exemplifies the classic protagonist. She tells her story to revisit a past that she has locked away, and to educate using her life and experiences as a novel example. By applying the literary techniques of definition, narrative, and figurative language, Kaysen employs a unique writing style, the fusion of these persuasive techniques, to lure the reader in and keep them wanting more.

There is a wide variety of figurative language employed throughout this piece that is essential to the effectiveness of Kaysen's writing. The most notable application of figurative language employed by Kaysen is seen...