In the movie Girl Interrupted - Do you think Susanna's presence in the hospital helped others recover from their disorders? If so why, and if not, why not? and After leaving the hospital, do you...

In the movie Girl Interrupted - Do you think Susanna's presence in the hospital helped others recover from their disorders? If so why, and if not, why not? and After leaving the hospital, do you think  Susanna will have a recurrence of her symptoms or will she go on to live a more normal, happy and productive life?       

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The movie Girl Interrupted deals, among with other topics, with the reality of women in the late 1950's and early 1960's  in relation to how society defined and placed them. Main character Susanna is a woman diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). The result of her mental illness puts her at an even more awkward situation because she naturally sees things differently and hopes for a different life. However, she is unable to follow social dicta and she cannot understand why. Eventually, an overdose of aspirin places her in a mental ward where she curiously ends up finding some sort of identity. This identity also happens to come out of the other women in the ward, as if the illness ultimately brings about the persona that they are so hungry to become, but cannot, in a normal world. This being said, the situation with the other residents, namely Georgianna and Lisa,  is no different: as women they see themselves already as secondary socially speaking. This type of theme is discussed in Gilbert and Gubar's "The Madwoman in the Attic" (1931) with the words

It is debilitating to be any woman in a society where women are warned that if they do not behave like angels they must be monsters

This defines the state of mind of Susana and the other residents in Girl, Interrupted: they know that they have BECOME their illnesses, as far as social labeling goes. Also since their conditions render them even less capable, less powerful, and less important, they find in this a way to become a unified front that binds them together in the ward, making them a strong group. Notice how they refuse to recover, or follow the treatment, or take the drugs. This is because their recovery would bring them to a point where they would be entering back into "the normal world", one which has no room for them. Therefore, it is very unlikely that the presence of Susanna made any difference in the lives of the other women, they are just like Susanna and Susanna is just like them. In her own words:

Crazy isn’t being broken, or swallowing a dark secret, it’s you or me, amplified

Yet one exception that could actually result in a positive influence of Susana is the final showdown between her and Lisa, where Susanna finally confronts the ward bully in front of everyone, bringing Lisa down to who she really is.

The evidence of the feeling of disenfranchisement this is found all over the dialogue, particularly in the conversations that Susanna has with her therapist (Valerie), as well as with her high school counselor. When her school counselor advices Susanna about the "many choices" women have to evolve in society, Susanna responds with a very honest "No, we do not", knowing wholeheartedly that the control of it all is still at the hands of men.

As far as Susanna's future, it is clear that the ward did nothing for the women. Daisy kills herself after leaving the ward, Lisa, had she not been confronted by Susana, would have continued her mean behavior. Nobody really changed; the ward mainly contained the women. Therefore, sadly but true Susana would have had to find the proper treatment to really dig deep into the turmoils of BPD, which is a very bad condition, in order to make it life as a happy woman. We know that writing her experience was a positive note for the author, who is Susanna herself characterized, but this is never the case with BPD patients who undergo bad medical practices.