Girl, Interrupted

by

Susanna Kaysen

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Polly Character Analysis

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 fellow patients may one day make it out of McLean, Polly is trapped forever in the cage of her burned and scarred body.

Polly Quotes in Girl, Interrupted

The Girl, Interrupted quotes below are all either spoken by Polly or refer to Polly. 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:
Isolation and Seclusion Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Girl, Interrupted published in 1994.
Chapter 16 Quotes

Cynthia was depressive; Polly and Georgina were schizophrenic; I had a character disorder. Sometimes they called it a personality disorder. When I got my diagnosis it didn't sound serious, but after a while it sounded more ominous than other people's. I imagined my character as a plate or shirt that had been manufactured incorrectly and was therefore useless.

Related Characters: Susanna Kaysen (speaker), Polly, Georgina, Cynthia
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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Polly Character Timeline in Girl, Interrupted

The timeline below shows where the character Polly appears in Girl, Interrupted. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Fire
Isolation and Seclusion Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Women and Medicine Theme Icon
Sanity vs. Insanity Theme Icon
...to suspect that the gasoline had pooled in her collarbones. The girl, whose name is Polly, is covered in scar tissue—tissue which “has no character,” and is a “slipcover” meant to... (full context)
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Women and Medicine Theme Icon
Sanity vs. Insanity Theme Icon
No one on the ward knows why Polly set herself on fire, and nobody dares to ask. Susanna wonders, over and over, what... (full context)
Isolation and Seclusion Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Women and Medicine Theme Icon
Sanity vs. Insanity Theme Icon
Manipulation, Restriction, and Control Theme Icon
...who’s crying. A patient named Lisa, who knows everything about everyone, tells Susanna that it’s Polly who’s been crying. As Polly continues wailing throughout the day, her crying becomes screaming and... (full context)
Chapter 8: If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now
Isolation and Seclusion Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Women and Medicine Theme Icon
Sanity vs. Insanity Theme Icon
Manipulation, Restriction, and Control Theme Icon
Georgina asks Lisa why Daisy does this, but Lisa answers that she doesn’t know. Polly asks about the laxatives, and Lisa answers that Daisy needs them due to all the... (full context)