It's Kind of a Funny Story

by Ned Vizzini

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Part 8 Summary and Analysis

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Last Updated on September 17, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1291

Chapter 36

Craig sits with Bobby and Johnny at breakfast. They discuss what happened to Humble and the types of medication he is on. Bobby and Johnny share about how they both got “sidetracked” with drugs. Noelle enters the cafeteria. Johnny admires her, while Bobby advises Craig not to have sex at his age. “The guitar guy” is coming at eleven, and Craig decides that he will spend the time before then doing more artwork.

Chapter 37 

A “musical exploration” session is led by a man named Neil. Sitting in a circle, every person has an instrument. After playing and singing, they begin to dance. Although Craig explains that he is “really not good” at dancing, he decides to try. He dances with nursing students and then with Noelle. Jimmy particularly enjoys the singing and the dancing.

Chapter 38

After the music session, Neil approaches Craig. He suggests that after he is out of the psychiatric hospital, he might want to come back as a volunteer. Craig shows Neil his artwork. 

Later, while playing cards with Armelio, Craig learns that he has a visitor. Unexpectedly, it is Nia.

Chapter 39

Nia tells Craig that she is here to see him, and Craig leads her to a place where they can talk. Craig admires Nia’s makeup and outfit, and he feels attracted to her. Nia explains that she and Aaron broke up after Aaron found out that Nia was also depressed.

Startled by a loud comment Nia makes, the Professor briefly interrupts their conversation. As he and Nia continue to talk, Craig is distracted by his attraction to Nia. Nia tells Craig that she is thinking of checking herself into a psychiatric hospital. Craig tells Nia that he called the Suicide Hotline. Nia is surprised; she says she hadn’t known it was “so serious.

Nia tells Craig that she has been thinking about him. Craig wants to tell her to leave, but he feels powerless against his physical attraction for her. Craig is stuttering and sweating. When Nia asks to see his room, he knows it’s “a bad idea,” but he agrees.

Chapter 40

When Nia and Craig arrive in his room, Craig is surprised that Muqtada is not there. Nia comments on the smell of the room. Craig tells her that he has made some friends in the hospital, including the Professor.

Nia reminds Craig of their phone conversation. She notices that Craig is sweating, which she says is “gross,” but she continues, telling Craig that she would let him kiss her. Craig feels conflicted. He wants to “throw up” and “kick Nia out,” but his “bottom half” insists on fulfilling his fantasies.

Craig pushes Nia onto a bed—Muqtada’s bed, accidentally—and begins kissing her. Nia responds to Craig, and as they kiss, Craig recalls things that Aaron has said about her. Nia tells Craig that “[hooking] up in a hospital” was “totally on [her] checklist.” She says that with Aaron she “never did anything like this.” The mention of Aaron is “a body blow to [Craig’s] whole body.”

Suddenly, they are interrupted by Muqtada. Muqtada pulls Craig away from Nia and accuses her of corrupting him. From behind Muqtada, Craig tells Nia, “I like making out with you… but I don’t really like you as a person.” Nia replies that she feels the same way. Smitty enters the room, reminding Craig that visitors are not allowed there. Nia leaves in anger.

After Smitty leaves, Muqtada apologizes to Craig. Craig tells him that he “did a good thing” and “handled it perfectly.” They hug. Craig sees Noelle in the doorway. She flees to her room and does not respond when Craig knocks on the door.

Chapter 41

Craig and Noelle meet. Noelle asks Craig why boys are so arrogant. Craig tells her that boys often assume that “the world was built for [them]” and that they are praised for this attitude.

Noelle calls Craig an “honest asshole” and asks him about Nia. She explains that she saw their entire encounter. Craig tells Noelle about Nia. Craig and Noelle flirt, and Craig tries to compliment her.

Craig becomes serious, telling Noelle that he “likes [her] a lot.” He explains that he likes her for the cuts on her face, because, unlike other people, she “wears” her problems on her face rather than hide them. Noelle explains that she cut her face in response to pressure, in an attempt to opt out of “the pretty game.”

Noelle confesses that someone in her life “used her.” She tells Craig that she will always have her scars, fearing that she will always look like “a freak.” Craig tells her that people will see her scars and see her as an understanding, brave and strong person.

Craig and Noelle hug, and Noelle cries on his shoulder. Craig shows Noelle a piece of artwork, which depicts a couple joined together. He explains that he needs to “fix it up” before she can keep it. Craig asks Noelle for her phone number.

Chapter 42

At dinner, Humble is back. Craig introduces him to Noelle. Humble tells them that Craig is “so smart that he got burnt out in half the time” it takes for other people and that “he’s having like a midlife crisis as a teenager.” Craig muses that he has had a sixth-life crisis. He explains that, in the past, people had midlife or quarter-life crises, but “now things work faster.” A sixth-life crisis, he says, begins “when you’re fourteen,” and he adds that industries make money from these different life crises. 

With more of his fellow patients listening, Craig speculates that doctors will one day diagnose babies with depression, “put [them] on anti-depressants, get [them] started on that particular consumer track.” Humble points out that Craig’s “worldview is totally informed by depression.” The conversation ends as the nurse gives out cookies. 

Craig feels good about sharing his thoughts with Noelle and having her like him for it. He has “a plan,” and he calls his father to bring something to the hospital that evening. 


In this section, Craig’s desire to keep the outside world separate from the world of Six North is undermined. Nia interrupts his time at the psychiatric hospital, and her presence there represents a sharp contrast to the world of the hospital.

Craig now views his fellow patients as friends, whereas Nia is disgusted by them. For example, Craig calls the Professor his friend, but Nia calls her “rude.” When Craig tries to defend the Professor by explaining her paranoia, Nia dismisses it as “really crazy.”

The other patients at Six North seem to detect the negative influence Nia has and feel protective of Craig. The Professor interrupts their conversation, and when Muqtada finds them kissing, he calls Nia a “terrible girl” who “corrupts [his] friend.” As Nia leaves, President Armelio calls out: “Be quiet, Doomba!”

Whereas Craig’s friends in Six North seem to want the best for him, Nia views him as something to use for her own gain. She confesses that she is finally attracted to him because he’s “really screwed up.” When they are kissing, Craig and Nia are each fulfilling their own selfish fantasies. Nia’s very presence has a negative effect on Craig. He begins to sweat and stutter again, and he feels the urge to vomit. In contrast, Craig’s friendships at the hospital have been healing.

Craig’s relationship with Nia and his relationship with Noelle are also contrasted in this chapter. He and Noelle share their thoughts and feelings, trusting each other. He and Nia, however, realize that they only felt a physical attraction and don’t genuinely like each other.

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