Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

by

Susannah Cahalan

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Allen Character Analysis

Allen is Mom's third husband. He's a kind and calming man and does his best to support Mom throughout Susannah's illness. At one point Susannah hallucinates that Allen calls her a slut, something that he'd never do. When Susannah attends appointments prior to her hospitalization, Allen often drives Susannah and Mom to them.

Allen Quotes in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

The Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness quotes below are all either spoken by Allen or refer to Allen. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness published in 2012.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Even during this time when I hardly recognize myself, there are still shadows of the real Susannah, a person who cares what her family and friends think, who doesn't want to cause them pain.

Related Characters: Susannah (speaker), Stephen, Mom, Allen
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

"Her EEG was completely normal," Bailey protested, looking through my file. "MRI normal, exam normal, blood work normal. It's all normal."

"Well, she's not normal," my mom snapped as I sat there, quiet and polite with my hands folded in my lap. She and Allen had made a pact that they would not leave Dr. Bailey's office without getting me admitted to a hospital.

Related Characters: Mom (speaker), Dr. Bailey (speaker), Susannah, Allen
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 42 Quotes

It was one thing to live at my parents' house for a few months, knowing that I had my own place just a train ride away. Now my only home was with my mom; it was like a complete return to childhood.

Related Characters: Susannah (speaker), Mom, Allen
Related Symbols: Apartments
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Brain on Fire LitChart as a printable PDF.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness PDF

Allen Character Timeline in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

The timeline below shows where the character Allen appears in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...want Mom to worry. Stephen steps into the hallway and calls Mom's house. Her husband, Allen, picks up, and Stephen explains what happened. Allen tells Stephen to go home, and promises... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
The next morning, Mom bombards Stephen with anxious questions. Stephen, Mom, and Allen try to convince Susannah to move back home to Summit, New Jersey, but Susannah refuses.... (full context)
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...first line. She begins to pace and wanders into the family room, where Mom and Allen are watching the medical drama House. The green couch suddenly looks garish and the room... (full context)
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
Regardless, Allen and Mom drive Susannah to Dr. Bailey's on Monday. The painting in the waiting room... (full context)
Chapter 10
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
Allen drives Mom and Susannah to the psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah Levin. Susannah is excited to see... (full context)
Chapter 11
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Susannah paces and finds herself on the third floor, where Mom and Allen sleep. She stands over Mom and strokes Mom's hair. Mom wakes up and leads Susannah... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...the living room and announces that she needs to break up with Stephen. Mom and Allen nod, but Susannah then announces that she needs to quit her job at the Post.... (full context)
Chapter 12
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...to get in the car. As she and Stephen sit in the backseat, Susannah hears Allen say that she's a slut. When Susannah angrily calls him out, Allen seems surprised. Susannah... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
When Susannah wakes, they're in Chinatown. She demands coffee and food, and Allen sharply navigates to a diner. Stephen thwarts Susannah's escape attempt, so Susannah walks into the... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
When the technician leaves, Susannah laughs. She realizes that Mom and Allen must've hired an actress to pose as the technician to punish her for bad behavior.... (full context)
Chapter 14
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
Mom and Allen arrive at Dad's house the next morning. Susannah races to their car and explains that... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
An hour later, Mom, Allen, and Susannah enter the lobby of the NYU hospital. As they locate the admittance desk,... (full context)
Chapter 15
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
Susannah's difficult nature worsens. When Allen and Dad arrive, she yells at them and insists the nurses ban them from her... (full context)
Chapter 27
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...a recovery room. She can't move, but tries to wave at Mom, Dad, Stephen, and Allen. A nurse gives Susannah some water when she asks, but then tells her that she... (full context)
Chapter 32
Love and Family Theme Icon
The next morning, Mom, Dad, Allen, Stephen, and one of Susannah's college friends, Lindsey, collect Susannah's belongings and help Susannah out... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
As Allen drives everyone back to New Jersey, Susannah's old favorite karaoke song comes on the radio.... (full context)
Chapter 46
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...Susannah to attend Dr. Najjar's lecture on anti-NMDA receptor autoimmune encephalitis at NYU. Susannah, Mom, Allen, and Stephen are late and slip into the lecture behind Dad, Angela, and another friend.... (full context)
Chapter 50
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...early 2010, most of Susannah's friends and family agree that she's fully returned to normal. Allen and Mom decide to sell their home in Summit, and Susannah realizes she can't afford... (full context)