Susanna Kaysen

Susanna Kaysen

    Girl, Interrupted
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... in the 1960s, in a women’s mental hospital after chasing 50 aspirin with a bottle of vodka. Even considering the aspirin, Susanna's surrounded by women much crazier – including her roommate Georgina, who is determined to live in the land of Oz, and a girl who eats grapes from the wallpaper.

Profession... aspiring writer. Susanna thinks her stay in the hospital will give her good material for her writing, so she’s keeping a journal of everything that happens. But her social worker at the hospital is trying to convince her to become a dentist, telling Susanna that it's nice, clean work.

Interests... spending time with Lisa, whom everyone else considers a psychopath. Susanna, though, thinks she's cool. And as the two grow increasingly closer, Lisa's rebellious ways begin to rub off.

Relationship Status... single, though her ex-boyfriend occasionally visits. Toby's number is coming up in the draft, so he wants to escape with her to Canada. But Susanna's not sure if she should join him or stay in the hospital – probably not a good sign for her chances at rekindling their relationship.

Challenge... existential despair. Though she sees her therapist, Dr. Wick, three times a week, Susanna still struggles with suicidal inclinations. As she tells a nurse, “I know what it's like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can't. You hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.”

Personality... creative but troubled. Susanna's been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which means that her insecure self-image leads Susanna to commit impulsive, self-damaging actions. The label might be accurate, but it's also hardly something Susanna needs a shrink to tell her.


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