Girl, Interrupted

by

Susanna Kaysen

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Girl, Interrupted can help.

Girl, Interrupted Characters

Susanna Kaysen

The author of Girl, Interrupted, as well as its main subject, Susanna Kaysen was just eighteen when she was admitted to the McLean psychiatric facility to be treated for Borderline Personality Disorder. After… read analysis of Susanna Kaysen

Lisa

A charismatic ex-drug addict and wild-eyed sociopath, Lisa is proud of her rare and dangerous diagnosis and constantly engages in behavior which shows off her lack of empathy, social awareness, and regard for consequences. Lisa… read analysis of Lisa

Polly

A young woman on the psychiatric ward who attempted suicide by self-immolation using gasoline before she was even old enough to drive. Susanna pities Polly, knowing that while she herself and the rest of her… read analysis of Polly

Wade Barker

Georgina’s boyfriend and a psychiatric patient on the men’s ward. He constantly talks about how his father is in the CIA, and has many powerful and dangerous friends. His claims are dismissed as delusions until… read analysis of Wade Barker

Daisy

A “seasonal visitor” to McLean, Daisy checks herself into the ward at Thanksgiving each year and leaves just before Christmas. Combative, cagey, and vulgar, Daisy is also notable because her father brings her a whole… read analysis of Daisy
Get the entire Girl, Interrupted LitChart as a printable PDF.
Girl, Interrupted PDF

Lisa Cody

A new arrival on the ward who finds herself instantly drawn into competition with the “real” Lisa. Lisa Cody eventually is diagnosed as a sociopath as well, and this enrages Lisa. The two of… read analysis of Lisa Cody

Torrey

A new arrival on the ward whose parents have sent her to McLean because she is their family’s “designated hitter”—the one individual upon whom everyone pins their own craziness. She is an amphetamine addict who… read analysis of Torrey

Alice Calais

A new arrival on the ward who appears “normal” at first, but soon reveals that she knows almost nothing about the world—she has never tasted honey, and she has never heard of the famous French… read analysis of Alice Calais

The Therapist

The therapist who recommends Susanna for admission to McLean deems her hospitalization necessary after a very brief meeting, which Susanna recalls as having only lasted twenty minutes despite the therapist’s later assertion that their firstand… read analysis of The Therapist

Susanna’s Husband

Susanna is set up with her future husband by a friend’s brother before she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and admitted to McLean. Though they have a connection and spend a night together, they… read analysis of Susanna’s Husband
Minor Characters
Georgina
Susanna’s roommate. A kind, good friend whose concern and empathy for her fellow patients is her chief characteristic.
Cynthia
A patient on the psychiatric ward who is undergoing electroshock therapy.
Valerie
The head nurse on the psych ward. She is strict but empathetic, and the girls on the ward all respect her deeply.
Dr. Wick
One of the psychiatrists at McLean. Originally from Rhodesia, she knows little about American culture and flushes at any mention of love or sex. Susanna thinks she is a profoundly poor fit for a ward dedicated to the treatment of mentally ill adolescent girls.
Mrs. McWeeney
The night nurse on the ward. The girls all hate Mrs. McWeeney and think she is crazy. She often makes strange, mean faces at the patients and withholds their medication from them.
Melvin
Susanna’s analyst and a therapist at McLean.
Jim
A friend of Susanna’s father’s who comes to visit her during her first weeks at McLean. He offers to break Susanna out and help her escape to England, but Susanna denies his proposition, knowing she needs to stay at McLean and work on getting better.
Johnny
Susanna’s boyfriend at the time of her admission to McLean. After Susanna is caught performing oral sex on Johnny on one of his visits to McLean, their visits are required to be supervised, and soon after that Johnny stops coming to visit Susanna entirely.
English Teacher
Susanna’s high school English teacher, with whom she has an affair some time before being admitted to McLean. He brings her to the Getty Museum, where she first encounters the Vermeer painting after which the book is titled.