Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

by

Susannah Cahalan

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Giselle Character Analysis

Giselle is Dad's wife. She is largely a background figure throughout the memoir, as Susannah doesn't know her well and Dad is an exceptionally private person—he doesn't even tell Susannah and James that he and Giselle are married until after the fact. Giselle does her best to support Dad, even though he closes himself off from everyone and is unwilling to accept comfort or help. During her illness, Susannah has a hallucination that Dad murdered Giselle, and because of this Susannah refuses to allow Dad into her hospital room.

Giselle Quotes in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

The Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness quotes below are all either spoken by Giselle or refer to Giselle. 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 41 Quotes

We didn't mean to exclude others. My dad and I had gone off to war, fought in the trenches, and against all odds had come out of it alive and intact. There are few other experiences that can bring two people closer together than staring death in the face.

Related Characters: Sybil (speaker), Dad, Giselle
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Brain on Fire LitChart as a printable PDF.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness PDF

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

The timeline below shows where the character Giselle appears in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...distant memory. The night before, Susannah had taken Stephen to meet her father and stepmother, Giselle, for the first time. Susannah explains that though she and Stephen have only been dating... (full context)
Chapter 13
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...agrees to spend a night with Dad. Susannah agrees and happily leaps into Dad and Giselle's car. At her apartment, Dad is repulsed by the smell. Susannah hadn't cleaned the apartment... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
When they're finished, Giselle heads downstairs and Susannah tries to talk Dad into letting her stay in the apartment... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
When they finally arrive in Brooklyn, Susannah is exhausted. Giselle and Dad cook while Susannah lounges on a couch. When Dad and Giselle call 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
After banishing Dad, Susannah hears a pounding from upstairs. She ignores it, but soon hears Giselle pleading with Dad to not hurt her. Susannah realizes that Dad is beating Giselle because... (full context)
Chapter 19
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...spend his days outside her room reading a book, since she still believes he murdered Giselle and won't see him. (full context)
Chapter 40
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...and Susannah to spend the night at his house. They sit in the backyard with Giselle, eat barbecue, and chat—all except for Susannah. Though the others attempt to include her, Susannah... (full context)
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...to the outdoor speakers, and puts on Rihanna's song "Umbrella." She looks back at Stephen, Giselle, and Dad, and begins swaying happily. Stephen gets up to dance with Susannah, and Dad... (full context)
Chapter 41
Love and Family Theme Icon
...benefit only, as he overwhelmingly refuses to talk about her time in the hospital. Later, Giselle would tell Susannah privately how hard it had all been on Dad. He'd refused to... (full context)