Principal social themes: child abuse, suicide/depression Lorimar. PG rating.

Featuring: Sally Field, Joanne Woodward, Brad Davis, Martine Bartlett, Jane Hoffman, Charles Lane, Jessamine Milner, William Prince, Natasha Ryan, Tommy Crebbs, Penelope Allen, Camila Ashlend, Paul Tulley, Elizabeth Anne Beesley, Harold Pruitt. Written by Stewart Stern based on the book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. Cinematography by Mario Tosi. Edited by Michael S. McLean, Rita Roland, and Robert Pickarts. Music by Leonard Rosenman. Produced by Jacqueline Babbin. Directed by Daniel Petrie. Color. 198 minutes, original version; 132 minutes revised version. Sybil is a meticulous adaptation of an amazing true-life case of a woman who had sixteen different personalities, the result of traumatic childhood abuse. The film starred Sally Field in the title role, and Joanne Woodward as her psychiatrist. Woodward previously won an Academy Award for portraying a victim of multiple personalities in The Three Faces of Eve (1957), another true story. Sybil won Emmy Awards for best screenplay, film score, leading actress (Field), and most outstanding special drama. Joanne Woodward and Natasha Ryan (Sybil as a child) were also cited for their outstanding work. Originally shown over two nights on NBC (November 14–15, 1976), the film was revised and edited for overseas theatrical release, syndicated broadcasts, and video release. Synopsis Sybil Dorsett is a strange young woman working as a substitute teacher in New York City. She becomes incoherent while having a cut on her arm treated at a hospital emergency room. The psychiatrist on duty, Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, examines her and finds her talking and behaving as if she were a nine-year-old child. She suddenly returns to normal, and when the doctor questions her, she admits to having had blackout spells most of her life. Sybil agrees to continue treatment. She asks her father, Williard Dorsett, for financial assistance when he visits New York with his new wife. Instead, he suggests that Sybil return to live at home. A crisis develops when a stranger called Vicky telephones Dr. Wilbur in the middle of the night saying that Sybil is in a hotel room in Harlem contemplating suicide. The doctor finds her in a depressed state, again reverted to a childlike persona. Dr. Wilbur realizes that Sybil is suffering from multiple personality syndrome. At her next appointment, Sybil arrives in the character of Vicky, a confident and self-assured thirteen-year-old. Dr. Wilbur encounters other personalities through hypnosis: Vanessa, an accomplished pianist; Peggy, the

troubled nine-year-old; Marsha, depressed and suicidal; even an old woman who is a surrogate grandmother. Through treatment, the psychiatrist discovers that Sybil’s deceased mother, Hattie, was behind the fragmentation of her personality. When she was growing up in rural Wisconsin, Sybil suffered terrible abuse as a child from her mother, who treated her daughter normally in front of her father and others, but mistreated her continually when they were alone, pushing her downstairs, burning her hand on the stove, and locking her in a storage bin in the barn. Each of Sybil’s personalities has different memories of the abuse, except for Sybil herself. Another crisis develops when Sybil starts dating Richard, a street musician. After cooking Christmas dinner for Richard and Matt, his young son, Sybil starts acting irrationally. Hearing her say the name “Dr. Wilbur,” Richard calls the doctor, who warns him about her condition and tells him that she may become suicidal in the persona of Marsha. Richard prevents Sybil from jumping off the roof. When Dr. Wilbur arrives, he overhears Sybil telling her that she is in love with Richard but would prefer not to see him again until she is cured. Shortly afterward, Richard moves away. As Dr. Wilbur makes progress in treating Sybil, she encounters resistance just before she plans to leave for Chicago for a medical lecture. Sybil claims that she is faking, that there are no other personalities. After her Chicago conference, Dr. Wilbur drives to Sybil’s hometown in Wisconsin. She searches through her old house and finds purple crayon markings in the storage bin in the barn, confirmation that Sybil’s original story under hypnosis was true. The psychiatrist consults with Dr. Quinoness, the local physician, who reveals a series of shocking events from Sybil’s medical records. He confesses his shame in having taken no action at the time. Returning to New York, Dr. Wilbur convinces Sybil to confront her most frightening memories. She recalls how her mother gave her enemas, forcing her to hold the water while her mother played Dvorak’s New World Symphony on the piano. When the water leaked out, her mother would tie her up and poke at her genital area with knives and hooks. Screaming, Sybil spoke aloud of her rage about the abuse she suffered. By reliving this most painful event, Sybil accepts all of Peggy’s memories, and the personalities merge. After this breakthrough, Sybil, with Dr. Wilbur’s help, is able to join with all of her other “selves” and become a whole person again. Critique

Sybil was one of the most compelling examinations of child abuse on film, demonstrating that recovery from such trauma is almost a lifelong process. The picture uncovers numerous issues for study. How could Sybil’s mother behave in such a monstrous fashion? She obviously knew her behavior was wrong because she concealed it from her husband and others. Her worse abuse of her daughter was mercurial, performed while she quoted old proverbs and nursery rhymes. Actress Jane Hoffman is brilliant as Frieda Dorsett, the mother, in one of the most terrifying performances of the 1970s. The only individual who could have intervened was Dr. Quinoness, since he had seen the proof of the child’s mistreatment. Charles Lane brings considerable depth to his portrayal of Quinoness, haunted by his memory of his inaction. Joanne Woodward as Dr. Wilbur, also shows considerable compassion by not rebuking Dr. Quinoness during this scene, seeing that his torment is genuine. In terms of prevention, this scene is key to the film, especially since Sybil’s father, Willard Dorsett, seems to have been blind to the abuse, observing little outside his strict religious platitudes. Still, as a parent, he should not be exonerated for his inattention. It is harder to blame Sybil’s grandmother, crippled in a wheelchair, for any responsibility. She was largely confined to the upper floor of the house and played lovingly with Sybil whenever the child visited her room. Yet actress Jessamine Milner portrays the grandmother as having some suspicions. When Hattie trips Sybil on the stairway, she calls out, “What was that?” She does not seem fully satisfied with Hattie’s reply that Sybil had another of her clumsy falls. Could Sybil have asked her grandmother for help? It appears that her mother frightened her into silence lest she be punished for lying. Her suicidal impulse, blaming herself for the treatment she receives from her mother, is another crucial aspect of the story. This is only swept away when Dr. Wilbur unleashes the adult Sybil’s outrage against her dead mother. One interesting point, in 1998, psychologist Robert Rieber wrote a report casting doubt on Dr. Wilbur’s multiple personality analysis, based on a taped discussion between the doctor and the book’s author, Flora Schreiber. Since both Wilbur and Schreiber are both deceased, they could not respond to the criticism. Other psychiatrists found Rieber’s arguments to be weak. Dr. Leah Dickstein, of the University of Louisville, was in contact with the actual patient “Sybil,” who confirmed the book as being entirely factual. In any case, the film remains a powerful one. Sybil is above all a testament to the human spirit, that this fragile young girl managed to find a way to survive despite the worst imaginable abuse.

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the carpenters. Sybil Isabel Dorsett (not her real name) has sixteen separate personalities. who have taken on the traits of Sybil’s father Willard. Mr. Sybil. who was likely. Willard Dorsett. though desperately needing help. Lurking inside are also two male personalities. tries to disguise her problem and before she can receive any real help. This is a major breakthrough and she reads all she can on dual personalities. the artistic Marcia. Her local physician suggests a Dr. In 1948 Hattie dies and Sybil tries to work but her bouts with ‘lost time’ continue until finally. Wilbur is excited. Her name is Vicky. and her tyrannical Grandfather. Dorsett knows there is something drastically wrong and reluctantly allows Sybil to visit the doctor in August. and struggles throughout her life to try and live with the frightening ‘dark thing’ which threatens to overcome her. Wilbur in New York and moves there for therapy.This incredible psychological true-story regarding multiple personalities is disturbing to read but highly recommended. Nothing much has been noted except for the highly publicized story of Eve who had three distinctive personalities. Highly religious. but keeps all knowledge of her other selves from Sybil. two of which are male. Sybil’s first dissociation happens when she is but a baby and the major cause of her multiple personalities is rooted in her mother. Wilbur is gradually introduced to the dramatic Vanessa. to allow her to visit a psychiatrist. Dr. her mother Hattie cancels her appointment. they believe that such intervention is sinful. The most notable after Vicky are Peggy Lou and Peggy Ann who reflect Sybil’s unrealized anger and fear against her abusive mother. a paranoid schizophrenic. Wilbur meets the first of the many other personalities in Sybil. in 1954. a female psychologist. Wilbur discovers that Sybil has many more than three personalities. and she knows what all the ‘others’ do and think. Sybil fights an increasing ‘loss of time’ where she cannot remember why she has ended up in a certain place or why ‘that dress’ hangs in her closet. Wilbur. Yet. and the suicidal Sybil Ann. 1958. Wilbur becomes very dependent on Vicky to keep her updated on the actions of the ‘others’. Dr. Before long. All multiple personalities have one which knows everything and Dr. It is months after her first session that Dr. she locates Dr. Dr. Mike and Sid. but her parents are skeptical. she begs her father. comes down with a fever and unbeknownst to her. Knowing she is mentally ill. Willard Dorsett’s chief sin is that he ignored his daughter’s growing .

after three years of intense sessions with Dr. a new Sybil emerges. Hattie Dorsett. Flora Rheta Schreiber. after three sessions a week and a financially supportive father. The sixteen personalities were her protectors against the cruel Hattie and the voices that fought back against constant neglect. Wilbur in 1969. dislocated shoulder. after a year of no ‘lost time’ that she is finally not afraid and able to live a full life. It is Dr. and still Willard did nothing about her condition. black eyes and constant bruises. Wilbur finally convinces Sybil to hear the tapes she’s made about what they did while vacationing. Sexually and physically abusive. when Willard finally agreed to come in for a ‘chat’ did he allow this to go on? Passive and indifferent. Willard is still reluctant to ‘meet’ her other personalities. Why.’ . It takes eleven years. Hattie was catatonic. After the ‘Peggy’s’ flee to the countryside for a holiday. Sybil. This book. though none are as complex and compelling as Sybil’s. yet strangely exhilarating novel and just illustrates how ‘fact really is stranger than fiction.emotional instability and allowed his mentally ill wife to continue raising the child even though he knew Hattie was deeply ill. The author. became an instant best seller. She believes that her other selves may have committed ‘sins’ and deeply religious. but finally. Wilbur’s duty to try and merge these separate personalities into one new Sybil. even fulfilling and Sybil finally acknowledges their existence and their right to be there. as well as intense sexual abuse involving a shoe hook which resulted in Sybil’s incapability to have children. For people who generally do not enjoy non-fiction. becomes a personal friend of Sybil’s and with her permission. Dr. writes a book about her traumatic childhood and dissociations. For two years. There pastimes were pleasant. Wilbur goes on to diagnose and treat seven other cases of multiple personalities. Sybil is terrified to learn what they might have really done. and indifference. Sybil suffered a broken larynx. Dr. Willard answered he simply felt that a mother should raise her child and that their belief in God was enough. It was not and a shaken Willard agrees that Sybil needs much more therapy and agrees to send his daughter a check each month to make sure she is treated. finally resulting in a movie with Sally Field in the lead role. this book reads like a sad. abuse. a bead up her nose. was a monster. published in 1972. Sybil realizes her dream to become a college professor and an artist and writes Dr. when alert. asked the doctor.

~ Andrea LeVasseur. Sally Field won an Emmy for her portrayal of the title character. Matter-of-Fact. while Brad Davis appears as her wouldbe boyfriend Richard. Split Personalities Tone: Deliberate.Hattie . William Prince and Jane Hoffman play her father and stepmother. Compassionate.Starring: Sally Field. psychiatry. Talky Keywords: mental-illness. multiple-personality. Joanne Woodward plays Dr.Dr. Originally shown in 1976 as a two-part special on NBC for a total of almost four hours. All Movie Guide Cast • • • Sally Field . Poignant.Sybil Joanne Woodward . Hattie (Martine Bartlett). Joanne Woodward. Haunted By the Past.: Lorimar Productions Director(s): Daniel Petrie Genre(s): Drama Themes: Mental Illness. suicidal Mary. patient [medical]. Angry. Cornelia Wilbur. Therapy. Martine Bartlett. a substitute teacher in New York who has developed multiple personality disorder. Wilbur Martine Bartlett . Sybil created separate personalities: aggressive Peggy Lou. the psychologist who diagnoses Sybil's condition and helps her to get over it. baby Sybil Ann. and several others. but most home video versions have been edited down to two hours. trauma Language: English The multiple award-winning made-for-TV movie Sybil was based on the book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. As a coping mechanism to deal with the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother. William Prince. Jane Hoffman DVD Release Date: 07/18/2006 Production Co. Doctors and Patients. schizophrenia.

Cinematographer Stewart Stern . The movie is based on the best-selling autobiographical novel by Joanne Greenberg.Screenwriter Never Promised You a Rose GardenSynopsis Without ever revealing the diagnosis. Fried (Bibi Andersson).Secret Wife of Henry VIII Darlene Craviotto . As the film opens. a young mental patient. a very skillful therapist who gets past her deranged defenses and reveals that Deborah harbors some very violent fantasies about some of her relatives.Richard Natasha Ryan Charles Lane .Dr.Carla Reni Santoni . ~ Clarke Fountain.Deborah Blake Ben Piazza . she is being accompanied by her subdued parents to yet another mental hospital. All Movie Guide Cast • • • • • • • • • • Bibi Andersson .Mrs. Blake Lorraine Gary . Fried Kathleen Quinlan . this film chronicles the inner life and outer circumstances of Deborah Blake (Kathleen Quinlan).Book Author Leonard Rosenman .Lee Signe Hasso .Dr.Composer (Music Score) Mario Tosi . Her treatment is handled by Dr.Hobbs Susan Tyrrell . Blake Martine Bartlett . This one looks clean and cheerful.• • • • • • William Prince Jane Hoffman .Frieda Dorsett Gordon Jump Brad Davis .Helene Norman Alden .McPherson . Quinoness Crew • • • • • Daniel Petrie . at least.Director Flora Rheta Schreiber .Mr.

Halle Nancy Parsons Samantha Harper . Scherick .Women in Ward D Crew • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Anthony Page .Screenwriter Paul Chihara .Eugenia Carol Androsky Dennis Quaid Diane Varsi .Nurses in Ward D June C. Production Designer .Cinematographer Garth Craven .Editor Gavin Lambert .Producer Michael Hausman . Blatt .Doctor in Ward D Leigh Curran . Composer (Music Score) Toby Carr Rafelson .Idat Lynne Stewart Cynthia Szigeti Richard Herd .Miss Coral Barbara Steele .Director Daniel H.Anterrabae Carol Worthington Jeff Conaway .Lactamaeon Helen Verbit Jan Burrell Donald Bishop . Michael Riva . Ellis . Forbes Cherry Davis .Production Designer Jane Ruhm .Set Designer.Screenwriter.Costume Designer Joanne Greenberg .• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Sylvia Sidney .Dr.Sound/Sound Designer Bruce Logan .The Spy Mary Carver .Producer Art Names .Book Author Lewis John Carlino .Sylvia Robert Viharo .Mrs. Deane .Teacher in Ward D Sarah Cunningham .Screenwriter J.Producer Terence F.Producer Edgar J.Producer Roger Corman .

The novel presents the issue of mental illness from multiple viewpoints. comforting haven. has created a world. they find the courage to allow Deborah to continue treatment even when there are few signs of recovery for a long while. Nevertheless. are torn between their love for their daughter and their shame at the stigma of her illness. bright and artistically talented. as a form of defense from a confusing. but over time the gods of Yr became tyrannical dictators who ruled Deborah's every word and action. Esther and Jacob. Deborah's parents. Deborah's three years in the hospital provide us with a portrait of mental illness as it is experienced by the patient. When Deborah first created Yr. During her childhood. When Deborah was five.Drama Nominated Hollywood Foreign Press Association 1977 Kathleen Quinlan • Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scie 1977 Lewis John Carlino Gavin Lambert Summary I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is a semi-autobiographical account of a teenage girl's three-year battle with schizophrenia.• Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture . the Kingdom of Yr. Deborah struggles with guilt and resentment at her parents' disappointed expectations for her while her younger . Deborah Blau. frightening reality. she underwent surgery to remove a tumor in her ovaries. it was a beautiful. a traumatic experience that involved a great deal of physical pain and shame. Deborah suffered frequent abuse from her anti-Semitic peers and neighbors.

has been driven by anger and . and love in her daughter helps her insist that Deborah continue receiving treatment even when she seems to show few signs of improvement or recovery. Clara Fried.Esther Blau is Deborah's mother. Esther realizes that she always placed Jacob's wishes second after her father's. During Deborah's treatment. he has had financial difficulties. He feels alternately guilty and angry at Deborah's condition. Her strength. she comes to terms with her daughter's illness. she helps Deborah gain the courage to fight her illness. Suzy Blau . Although she fears the reality of Earth. Meanwhile. Deborah eventually earns a GED and resolves to win her struggle against her illness. She never forces Deborah to accept her point of view. Deborah develops friendships of a kind with the other patients in the hospital despite their fear of emotional investment in other people. Suzy feels neglected because she often has to arrange her life around the whims of her older sister's illness. Deborah finds the courage to emerge from the Kingdom of Yr. over the phantoms of Yr. frightening reality. faith.Esther's parents are wealthy first generation Jewish immigrants.sister Suzy copes with her frustration at having to arrange her life around Deborah's illness. Jacob Blau . Dr. Over the course of three years. Although she loves Deborah. brilliant therapist. Esther's parents . The novel chronicles her three-year battle with schizophrenia in mental hospital. Esther and Jacob do not tell her the truth about Deborah's illness until it becomes clear that there is no quick and easy cure. With the help of her dedicated therapist. a Latvian immigrant with a clubfoot. Esther's father.Suzy Blau is Deborah's younger sister. slowly wins Deborah's trust. forcing him to live on the charity of is in-laws. Her goal is to give Deborah the ability to choose between the reality of Earth. Deborah's strong-willed. Esther Blau .Jacob Blau is Deborah's father. During the course of the novel.Deborah is the protagonist of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Over the years. a world Deborah created as a defense against a confusing. despite all its faults and problems. Fried. empathetic. Characters Deborah Blau .

After she hears the news. The patients. an attendant who commits suicide during the course of the novel. He is the replacement for Hobbs. Shortly thereafter.Quentin Dobshansky is one of the attendants at the mental hospital. Eugenia . The old insults of a long-dead Latvian nobleman continue to drive his ambition to build a wealthy dynasty in the United States. Claude and Natalie . Her multimillionaire father takes her out of the hospital before she can receive treatment. but no one takes her seriously when she reports it. Later.Carmen is briefly a patient at Deborah's hospital. Fried takes on Deborah's case. Clara Fried is Deborah's famous German therapist. he chooses the hospital. With her help. Dr. Deborah refused and never spoke to Eugenia again. Clara Fried . . Deborah realizes that her parents allowed her to stay even when there were few signs of recovery for a long while. Quentin Dobshansky . Deborah found Eugenia naked in the camp bathroom. It pains Deborah that he is nervous around her sometimes because she has a mental illness. Deborah gains to courage to fight her way to mental health. Carmen . When given a choice between prison and working in the mental hospital. Deborah witnesses Ellis physically abuse Helene.Claude and Natalie are Esther's siblings. Ellis .Ellis is a Conscientious Objector. she commits suicide.Miss Coral Allen is a well-educated. Dr. Miss Coral Allen .Dr. torment him by ridiculing his fundamental religious beliefs. Ellis's fear and hatred of the mental patients is evident in his every gesture. another attendant.Eugenia and Deborah became friends because they attended the same summer camp when they were children. elderly mental patient at Deborah's hospital. Although it means she will have to decline several other professional opportunities. convinces Deborah and the other patients to stop tormenting them. She gave Deborah a belt and asked Deborah to beat her. McPherson. sensing that Ellis himself has mental problems.resentment for all of his life. One day. She teaches Deborah everything she knows about Latin and Greek. Her empathy is arguably her greatest gift as a doctor.

However.McPherson is a well-liked attendant at the hospital. Deborah is angry that everyone rushes to contain Helene. King has not lived in the town long enough to acquire the fear and contempt that the other residents feel toward the outpatients from the hospital. so they try to protect her from harm. Miss Coral breaks her arm by throwing a bed at her during a psychotic episode. Her success frightens the patients because they fear that they might one day have to try to live in the outside world. but no one bothers to check on her. she breaks a tray over Deborah's head. the patients torment and abuse him.Halle is a well-liked doctor at the mental hospital. Helene . Forbes . he decides not to punish them upon their return because he is pleased that they had fun. He convinces Deborah and the other patients to stop tormenting Ellis. Dr. She is prone to frequent violent psychotic episodes. Sensing that Hobbs also suffers from mental problems. She rents a room from Mrs. Lister . King.Dr. During one such episode. Forbes is an attendant at the hospital. When the normally silent Sylvia speaks.Helene is a well-educated patient at the hospital. too. McPherson . Mrs. Afterwards. Doris Rivera is a legend because she managed to leave the hospital to live a normal life in the outside world. Mrs.Lee Miller is one of the patients at the mental hospital. Deborah admires her for having the courage to participate in reality for Sylvia's benefit even though Sylvia will probably not thank her for it. Lister is the Blaus' family physician. When Carla and Deborah escape from the hospital on a lark. Esther and Jacob put Deborah in the mental hospital at his recommendation.Mrs. Halle .When Deborah enters her third year of treatment. She is well liked by the patients. When Doris is re-committed to the . Hobbs . Doris Rivera .Mrs. Hobbs eventually commits suicide and is replaced by Ellis.When Deborah arrives at the hospital. the victim. Lee hurries to inform the medical staff.Hobbs is an attendant at the hospital. she requests permission to live in the town near the hospital as an outpatient. King . Dr. Lee Miller . a Conscientious Objector.

Dr. is the most powerful being in the Kingdom of Yr. Deborah wants to offer Sylvia comfort. Lena. Miss Cabot. Carla's brother. not a real kingdom. Dr. Tilda . Linda. or the Falling God. Marion. Fried that the outside world was crazier than the one inside the hospital. her mother shot Carla.These individuals all work as doctors at the mental hospital. and Lucy . They have widely varied relationships with the patients.When Dr. Hill. only Deborah understands why Sylvia needs attention as much as Helene. Royson . Dr. Dr. Venner. Carla Stoneham . Anterrabae . some more understanding and empathetic than others.hospital. Constantia. Dr.Sylvia is a patient at the mental hospital. Craig. Dr. Lucia. she and Deborah become friends. Oster . the other patients are also bitterly disappointed because they secretly hope they can get well despite their fears.Carla Stoneham is a patient at the mental hospital. Sue. Dowben. Ogden. . When Carla was young. Dr. Over the course of their three years at the hospital together. Dr.Tilda is one of Dr. Della. Tilda once escaped the hospital. Fried leaves the hospital during one summer. and then herself. Mary. Dr. Fried treated her in Nazi Germany before immigrating to the United States. He and Deborah do not get along because he focuses on trying to logically prove to her that Yr is Deborah's own creation. but she can't bring herself to do it. a world that Deborah created as a defense against a confusing and frightening reality. Royson takes over Deborah's case temporarily. Dr. Fried's former patients. Sylvia . She is normally silent and withdrawn. Only Carla survived. Sylvia makes no outward sign of distress. Adams. When Helene attacks Sylvia in a fit of violence. The same thing happened when Helene attacked Deborah. While the staff rushes to contain Helene. Dr.Anterrabae. Marie.These individuals are patients in the mental hospital. only to return to tell Dr. Fiorentini.

peers. Deborah accuses Dr. suffering from schizophrenia. Fried of wishing to make her "friendly and sweet and agreeable and happy" with telling lies. a grave mistake because it revealed a clue of Yr's existence in the Earth world. Meanwhile. a world Deborah created as a defense against a confusing. Fried explains . the Censor has become a tyrant who watches and controls all of Deborah's actions to prevent her from revealing Yr's existence. The Collect represents all the teachers.The Censor . the Kingdom of Yr. so the gods of Yr created the Censor to guard Yr's secrets from Earth. she recalls treating a patient named Tilda in Nazi Germany. Lactamaeon . Deborah accidentally left a clue in the real world to the existence of Yr. Dr. Deborah. During her first session. and neighbors who abused and insulted Deborah throughout her childhood and adolescence. Chapters 1-5 Summary Esther and Jacob Blau drive their 16-year-old daughter Deborah to a mental hospital for treatment after a failed suicide attempt. The Collect . Deborah named herself Januce. is a beautiful goddess in Yr. Jacob and Esther decide to tell Deborah's younger sister Suzy and Esther's parents that Deborah is at a convalescent school. the Dissembler. Fried contemplates taking on Deborah's case despite her busy schedule. Yr created the Censor to guard its secrets from Earth. In Yr.The Collect is the chorus of voices that constantly criticize Deborah in Yr. Afterward. She accidentally wrote this name on one of her school papers.Idat. She loves working with patients because they can examine sanity in a way that sane people cannot. Dr. when the real world proves too frightening and confusing. Over time. a world that Deborah created as a defense against a confusing. a world that Deborah created as a defense against a confusing and frightening reality. As she muses that the world outside is often sicker than the world inside a mental hospital.Lactamaeon is the second most powerful god in Yr. frightening reality. Idat . frightening reality.The Censor is a being in the Kingdom of Yr. Deborah is pleased to see that there are bars on the hospital's windows. but her parents cringe when they hear a high scream inside. retreats into a world of her own making. Once.

Suzy. He purchased a home in a rich neighborhood where he hoped that his children would gain admittance to the American elite. Her father was a Latvian immigrant with a clubfoot. His anger and resentment drove him to seek an education and build a fortune in the United States. Esther and Jacob were forced to move in with Esther's parents. Esther now feels guilty for placing Jacob second in her affections after her father. She now understands that Jacob was humiliated all those years to live off her parents' charity. It was later discovered that a tumor was the cause. and Esther's parents gave them their house. but she tried to maintain a smooth. must still rearrange her social life around the whims of Deborah's illness. Esther's parents lavished expensive clothing. Esther tells Dr. Jacob obtained a lucrative account and bought a house of his own. although she has recently come into her own. Jacob is hurt and angry to learn of Deborah's refusal to see him. Dr. the family rejoiced at its good luck. Esther and Jacob feel as if they failed their daughter in some way. nannies. When Deborah was 5. much to Jacob's shame and unhappiness. but Deborah suffered excruciating pain for some time afterwards. she suffered from incontinence that no physical punishment could correct. Fried about her family history before visiting Deborah. his neighbors were rabidly anti-Semitic. Soon thereafter. but he later discovered that the account was based on a vast chain of fraud after a year. but not her father because she fears that he might take her from the hospital out of misguided pity and love. Although Jacob struggled to make a living as an accountant during the Depression. Deborah became passionately interested in art. However. but when Deborah was born blond and fair. They sold the house. Meanwhile Deborah attended a summer camp for three years before her parents learned that it was rabidly anti-Semitic. so Jacob and Esther were forced to sell her parent's house and move into an apartment. Deborah attempted suicide. so the family assumed that her sensitivity and frequent insomnia were only the signs of an artist's temperament. Esther became pregnant with Suzy. but not physically. Esther's parents disapproved of Jacob. When Esther writes to request a visit. Fried assures Esther that she and Jacob should not blame . Deborah tells Fried that she will see her mother. A renowned specialist performed a successful surgery. She believes that Deborah is indeed sick. not laziness. and toys on Deborah. The Second World War brought financial difficulties. so they never accepted his family.that she does not think that Deborah's complaints of illness are lies. calm face for Deborah. After the stillbirth of twin boys. She promises that hard work and good treatment can make her well.

brilliant doctor. They have to counter the fear and doubt of their patients' families and the patients themselves. sensitive. Fried practiced in Nazi Germany. Commentary I Never Promised You a Rose Garden portrays mental illness as a problem that concerns not just the patient. the difficulties that face mentally ill patients and their families. nor does she over-simplify. they have chosen to place their trust in their family physician. so she should be careful to tell the truth. They fear the hospital as a labyrinthine. Greenberg tries to garner sympathy and respect for sufferers of mental illness and their families by illustrating the difficult struggle they face. The relationship between the doctor and the patient is a complex matter. Treatment is expensive. Lister. so she knows that irrational prejudices can converge to produce a society seemingly gone mad with fear and hatred. but the patient's family and the team of medical authorities dedicated to treating the victims of mental illness. but they know little about the reality of mental illness beyond the prevalent negative stereotypes of patients and mental hospitals. It is a stressful. Nevertheless. medieval prison for dangerous raving lunatics. Nevertheless. Deborah's parents want her to get well. She warns Esther that Deborah is extremely sensitive to lying. Dr. who recommended that Deborah be left there for treatment. but frequently destructive.themselves for Deborah's illness. Treating the mentally ill is often an art as much as it is scientific endeavor. wishes for their loved ones. They fear the reaction of their relatives should the "secret" of Deborah's illness be known. The medical staff members at the hospital likewise face a great deal of difficulty treating their patients. making . Greenberg clearly does not glamorize. and intuition as well as education and experience. intelligence. Greenberg memorializes the courage and perseverance of dedicated therapists and psychiatrists in Clara Fried. an admirable act of courage and love. thereby placing it out of the reach of many sufferers. of which clinical training is only one part. They face self-doubt and self-blame now that Deborah has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Deborah's parents are willing to make the leap of faith required of them if their daughter is to receive treatment. The struggle to counter their irrational fears and prejudices is by no means easy. requiring emotional strength. even families with the means to pay for treatment must struggle to overcome their own prejudices regarding mental illness and cope with the prejudices of others. emotionally difficult profession that often requires them to oppose a family's well-intended. Deborah's empathetic. However. Dr.

Dr. Deborah and her family have been the victims of irrational anti-Semitic prejudices in the United States. views Deborah as hopeful case who has many good years ahead of her if she receives effective treatment. exiling her to a realm beyond hope or treatment. another patient on her ward. not clinical terms with an absolute value or an absolute truth. and enraged when they told her that there would be no pain. Dr. This requires an emotional intelligence and empathy that few people can learn through clinical training. at Dr. so Dr.the inside of the mental hospital look sane by comparison. and then herself. Carla and other patients are free to call themselves "crazy. she flees into Yr completely. Deborah horrified the family by declaring that the wrinkled. Fried must penetrate through Deborah's barrier of distrust and fear before she can treat her illness. Fried. Therefore. Deborah meets Carla. Deborah utters a word of Yr's language during the session. Nevertheless. Therefore. Fried's urging. Greenberg wishes her readers to consider "insane" and "sane" as subjective words. the relationship between the doctor and the patient is a complex combination of factors not entirely encompassed by the doctor's clinical education. Ironically. When Suzy was born." Yri language describes Deborah's pain and suffering more accurately than Earth language. red baby . Fried that an intern explained that they lied to her so that she would not be afraid. but to call her "insane" would be tantamount to belittling her problem. but Carla survived. She knows that people all too often misuse the terms "sane" and "insane" to bolster their so-called "rational" beliefs. She tells Dr. Carla's mother shot Carla. often based on irrational prejudice. her grandfather's martyr complex. Carla's brother. Deborah is mentally ill. Fried's experiences in Nazi Germany prove invaluable to her relationship with Deborah. on the other hand. Deborah outwardly expressed her illness through complaints of physical pains only to be told there was nothing wrong with her. She grew alienated and bitter. her father's shame at depending on her grandparents financially. Chapters 6-10 Summary When Deborah's tumor was discovered. Deborah's illness is also affected by a complex combination of factors that influence how she expresses her illness: her tumor at the age of five. Likewise. Inside the mental hospital. Terrified at her indiscretion. Again. she felt violated when the doctors examined her. she struggles to describe her feelings in English. Over the years. and the anti-Semitic prejudices of her peers and neighbors.

" The other wards are too invested in keeping up the appearance of normalcy. During one session. although there is a rule against visits on the Disturbed Ward. she is moved to the Disturbed Ward. Deborah explains to Dr. Fried that the gods of Yr told her that Three Changes and Their Mirrors would precede her Death. inexplicable real world. Dr. The patients understand that Hobbs fears their insanity because a seed of it exists inside himself. When she started school late. Deborah is grateful for Dr. Hobbs. The patients on Deborah's ward single out a particular attendant. a patient who became well enough to leave after three years at the hospital. and tyranny. At first Yr was a comforting haven. As she recounts the anti-Semitic taunts of her neighbors and peers. so Deborah suffers another psychotic episode along with a number of other patients. a volatile patient. Deborah feels that her mother had recognized the "fatal taint" in her and tried to ameliorate it by taking her classmates out on an excursion. Suzy shouts that everyone is always worrying about Deborah. Carla says that they were all afraid of the threat of having to be well that Doris Rivera represented. her classmates also stood apart from her. the gods of Yr shout that Deborah is not "one of them. the attacker receives more attention that the victim. Fried about Yr. beautiful and carefree. Dr. As in the real world. Fried suggests that Deborah has created a meaningful connection between these events in order to understand and survive in the confusing. later mirrored by three other incidents. Helene. In another session. but it has become a source of pain. She begins telling Dr. Deborah furiously sketches a portrait of her Yri self. Deborah suffers a psychotic episode." When Deborah slashes her arm with a piece of tin. Fried. The gods of Yr shout that Deborah can never go out into the world again. Meanwhile. Esther and Jacob worry over Deborah's transfer to the Disturbed ward. Deborah realizes that Helene attacked her in order to erase that moment of vulnerability. Meanwhile. As Deborah recounts three separate incidents in her life. Deborah declares that her . Helene showed Deborah a picture of a college classmate. Deborah curses Carla and then apologizes because what Carla said might be true. for abuse. Esther visits with Dr. hoping that she will be allowed to see Deborah. where she is pleased to find that all pretensions to normalcy are absent. Her family has stood aloof from her since that day while they all loved Suzy. Fried's expression of indignation. Fried is excited that Deborah has lost her apathy in her attempt to prove that Yr exists. violently attacks Deborah. Meanwhile. Earlier. unconditionally. They learn of Doris Rivera. so the staff places her in restraints. fear. Carla joins the Disturbed Ward because she wants to stop hiding her "insanity. Later. Afterwards.was ugly.

when she visited doctors about these pains. Fried acknowledges the truth of Deborah's conviction that she is sick and has been sick for a long while. Deborah was continually told that there was nothing wrong with her at all. She helps Deborah to read the logic of Yr in new ways: to use it to understand her illness and how to fight it. Her mother discovered her just as she was poised to throw Suzy out a window. It would be too simple to dismiss Yr as an "imaginary world. seemingly irrational logic of Earth. an important action on her part because it is crucial to Deborah's ability to trust her. a logic that replaced the confusing." It is real for Deborah. She was never punished. Therefore. Commentary Deborah's early childhood surgery clearly had an important influence on how Deborah later expressed her mental illness. and what she is doing to herself. Both these pains and Yr are symptoms of her mental illness. no one recognized these pains as symptoms of a mental illness rather than the complaints of a hypochondriac. Fried suggests that she is attempting to hide from the truth of what she actually did to her family. Yr's language expresses the suffering and pain that others have told her are nonexistent. Fried accepts the "reality" of Yr. the phantom physical pains were real for her. Yr is also sort of map to Deborah's illness. Deborah confesses that she tried to kill Suzy after she was born. Her relationship with Dr. but Dr.essence is poisonous. so she destroyed her sister Suzy. Likewise. Dr. It has its own language and its own logic. Dr. However. It is important to consider Yr as a symptom of Deborah's illness. Deborah has known that she is ill for a long while. a cry for recognition of her suffering and for help. The suffering caused by her mental illness expressed itself in phantom physical pains that are clearly "translations" of the physical pain she suffered as a result of her tumor and subsequent surgery. what they actually did to her. although she did not know this before she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Fried is still in its developing stages. but she has been unable to convince others of the existence of her illness until her failed suicide attempt. a logic that Deborah has come to view as a structure of lies and deception. Her job now is to explain the nature of the illness to Deborah and to help her fight it. The Three Changes and Their Mirrors is on one level an expression of the worsening state of . and her parents never spoke of the incident. The combination of these factors has made it difficult for Deborah to trust anyone.

Deborah descends into a psychotic episode as Yr's gods declare that they will punish her with insanity if she dares to admire the Earth world. Deborah taunts him with a comparison between psychotics and religious zealots. she is free to address it through treatment. She also prompts Deborah to examine the prophecy of doom as an expression of her illness's progression. so Lee Miller hurries to inform a nurse that Sylvia spoke. Normally. asks . On the surface. Deborah's psychotic episodes often correspond with moments in which she reveals details of Yr to Dr. At the mention of Doris Rivera's successful transition. McPherson. she no longer feels the same pressure to hide her illness-to live a lie.Deborah's illness. This prophecy of doom gives Deborah a comprehensible narrative that explains her sense of foreboding. On the surface. Chapters 11-15 Summary After Hobbs commits suicide. the rash of psychotic episodes is an expression of the patients' fears and doubts regarding their own abilities to make the same transition. he is replaced with a Conscientious Objector. She can suffer from her illness openly. a popular attendant who is never attacked. Sylvia is silent. Hobbs fears his own mentally unstable characteristics. Sylvia announces that it is against the Conscientious Objector's religion to commit suicide. However. the two things may seem unrelated. The patients continually ridicule Ellis' religious beliefs. suffer psychotic episodes. Dr. She has begun to resist the tyranny that Yr exerts over her actions and thoughts. it is actually a sign that she has begun to fight it. Fried. the torment and abuse that the patients unleash on Hobbs may seem completely inexplicable and irrational. several patients. Greenberg also prompts her readers to re-interpret the often frightening. For years. she hid Yr. Ellis considers himself a Christian martyr. Fried encourages her to reinterpret Yr as a means to give comprehensible meaning to the real world's often confusing. we learn that there is a logic behind their behavior. but now that she is inside the hospital. He wants the patients to act outwardly more "insane" than he does so that he can safely draw a distinction between himself and them. through Deborah's perspective. illogical laws. However. Although it may look like her illness is getting worse. so they give him what he wants from them. The patients sense this desire. Ellis. including Deborah. Deborah admires Lee for joining reality for Sylvia's benefit. and therefore. seemingly irrational actions of mentally ill people.

but she only succeeds in frightening them more. McPherson angrily tells her that a lot of people who need. When she resists. Many nurses and attendants are afraid of the similarities between themselves and the patients. he acted as if Deborah had attracted this perverted attention. In the United States. Fried's reality is useless if it is so unjust. she returned to tell Dr. When Dr. but children saw through it. acknowledging that it is nevertheless real for Deborah. Once. when a man flashed Deborah. Dr. but she warns Deborah that she has no control over the Disturbed Ward's policy. Deborah tries to comfort those who are frightened of her. Fried reminds her that she only promised to help Deborah become free of her illness. Dr. Suddenly Deborah recalls a distant memory of being cared for by a nurse. Although she is terrified.Deborah to leave Ellis alone. Deborah gives Dr. so they tormented her. Dr. The adults were amazed at her sharp wit. She felt that the world had gone gray. Deborah declares that neither Ellis nor Hobbs was different from the patients. in Yri. so that she could fight for peace. even want. Fried the name Furii. Fried states that Yr is Deborah's own creation. His pride in her was also an expression of his anger and the battle with the Latvian noblemen that mattered only to him. Fried suddenly remembers that when Tilda once escaped the hospital in Nazi Germany. Fried that the world outside was crazier than she was. Dr. Deborah later reports his violence to the ward staff. he methodically slaps her into submission. Deborah declares that Dr. Helene is restrained in a nearby bed. help cannot afford to get it. Fried promises to mention Ellis' violence at the staff meeting. or Fire-Touch. Fried touches Deborah to comfort her. Deborah cried out that she had already been broken and violated. so she was not good enough for a better kind of man. triggering a psychotic episode. Deborah realizes now that her grandfather's bitter anger and resentment against the long-dead Latvian noblemen is part of her illness. the doctor's touch feels like lightening to Deborah. Dr. Dr. Ellis enters the room to take Helene's pulse. Her father slapped her because he secretly . Deborah confesses that she and her father share the same violent temper. Deborah is happy that McPherson treated her with the respect one accords an equal. Fried suggests that she is remembering feelings of abandonment after her mother had to go away for rest after miscarrying her twin sons. Fried demands that Deborah address her relationship with her father. Yr's gods declares that she will taint those of the Earth world. and justice. Deborah experiences these same feelings and colorlessness when she suffers psychotic episodes. When she comes to. but no one takes her seriously. happiness. there were new battles against anti-Semitic Americans.

and now she struggles with the stigma of mental illness. Deborah will be free to choose between Earth and insanity. shame. returns to the hospital.had entertained the same thoughts. Despite her age and small stature. she faced the anti-Semitic prejudices of her peers and neighbors. Deborah asks Miss Coral to teach them to her. Deborah admires Lee for reporting Sylvia's unusual decision to speak. McPherson admonishes Deborah for being so self-centered as to think that she and the other patients have "a corner on suffering. stressful conditions under which they work and the stigmatized status of mental illness. Greenberg explains their insensitivity as a combination of the difficult. Even in the hospital. Dr. Dr. and Miss Coral agrees. They recognize his martyr complex. Meanwhile. and doubt. Ironically. Throughout her childhood. is the enemy. When Lee tells Deborah that Miss Coral knows several languages. she can fight so fiercely that it takes several attendants to subdue her. she informs Deborah that Ellis is fluent in Greek and that he might be willing to teach her. He does not treat her as a helpless invalid. Nevertheless." He not only believes that she is capable of empathy and moral behavior--he expects it of her. the prejudices and misunderstanding of others is partly responsible for Deborah's fear of emotional investment. She . but he is not insensitive to her suffering either. The gods of Yr threaten to punish Deborah with "insanity" if she dares to continue admiring the real world. not the world. Deborah is afraid to realize that she will miss her. an elderly former patient. Moreover. so they go out of their way to reinforce it. Deborah's fear of emotional investment does translate into a lack of desire or an inability to connect with others. Commentary One of the problems common to most of Deborah's fellow patients is a fear of emotional investment in others. gets what he wants from the patients. this actually conceals an unconscious acknowledgement on Deborah's part that her illness. Fried continues to encourage Deborah to examine Yr as a symptom of her illness and a manifestation of human fears. like Hobbs. She is also pleased that McPherson treats her with the respect one accords an equal when he requests that she cease tormenting Ellis. Miss Coral. Ellis. Fried promises Deborah that after their work is done. However. After Miss Coral imparts everything she knows of Latin and Greek. When Carla informs Deborah that she is moving to the B Ward. she overhears the staff criticize her as a spoiled little rich girl who doesn't even know the meaning of suffering.

Through therapy. Moreover. She promises to help Deborah freely make a choice between Yr and the real world. he tried to rationally prove them "wrong" through the greatness and brilliance of his family. shrouded in shame and secrecy. Unlike Yr and its gods. Dr. Fried reminds her that laws of reality are imperfect. She is disappointed that her actions do not immediately result in the justice she seeks for Helene. Deborah has begun to trust Dr. Deborah's conviction that she has a fatal. Dr. a desire for perfection. Dr. taint. Therefore. Deborah actively participates in the laws of the real world when she reports Ellis' violence. Deborah's peers recognized that her sharp wit as a disguise for her insecurity and desire for acceptance. However. but attempts to help Deborah regain control over her own reality." Deborah gives Dr. is destined for disappointment. a part of the female body that was. Fried an Yri name. and often still is. not a monster.doesn't belittle Yr as an "imaginary" phantom that Deborah should discard immediately because she recognizes Yr as a part of Deborah's subjective "reality. Dr. However. Jacob's irrational fear that sexual perverts would victimize Deborah was coupled with a conviction that Deborah somehow attracted such men. Hence. a sign that she has begun to include Dr. and to give her the means to fight for justice and happiness if she chooses the real world. shame and illness were connected in Deborah's mind from an early age. she suffered from incontinence. They proceeded to attack her where she was weakest--by rejecting her as a "dirty Jew. so the connection between shame. Fried as a part of her "reality. Deborah begins to understand the origins of her conviction that she carries a fatal. Fried does not play the tyrant as Deborah's imaginary gods do. She was punished severely for it until it was discovered that a tumor was the cause. poisonous taint is perhaps related to the prejudice against her ethnic and religious identity. His tormentors' assertion that he was worthless because he was a clubfoot Jew was based on irrational prejudice." a part of the logic she has created to understand and interact with the world through Yr. Fried prompts Deborah to recognize Jacob's feelings and actions as those of a fallible human being. Deborah examines her grandfather's intense desire for perfection as a reaction to the humiliation and insults that he suffered at the hands of the Latvian aristocracy. poisonous taint." Hence. a prevalent theme in Deborah's family. including Yr. Hence. and illness was strengthened further. He wanted Deborah to be sharp and witty because he viewed her as a part of his struggle for acceptance and respect. It did not help that the tumor affected her reproductive organs. Fried. . Prior to the discovery of her tumor. the surgery itself came to represent a loss of sexual purity in his mind as well as hers. Therefore. Fried does not try to dominate Deborah.

but she was a captured Japanese soldier. When Doris Rivera is brought back to the hospital. Dr. Yr gave her the ability to change her form. Deborah insists that her poisoned and poisoning substance only lets her have a kinship with people who share her taint. At camp. but Deborah demands proof. When she comes to. Fried replies that time itself will prove her loyalty. against all their expectations. she is in pain due to the lack of movement and circulation in her legs. The Third Mirror. takes the news calmly. so she asks a nurse to prepare her for restraints. Yr declares that her coming to the hospital was all part of the plan. Fried suggests that she would do better to help others understand mental illness.Chapters 16-19 Summary Esther and Jacob finally admit that Deborah's illness does not have a quick and easy cure. Dr. Deborah breaks her ankle in an accident and has to be treated at another hospital. but now it seems that all the patients on the Disturbed Ward have the same taint. screaming and fighting. Her transformation gave meaning to Yr's declaration that she was not "one of them. Deborah once thought that she alone had a poisoned and poisoning substance. Deborah had willingly asked for help for the first time. Deborah relates all of this to Dr. She was disguised as an American. When she asked the nurse to prepare the restraints. Suzy. and Doris responds with bitter. Now that she knows about Deborah's illness. Deborah bitterly declares that the hope she represented was false after all. Deborah realizes that this is what she and other patients will have to face when they leave the mental hospital. With the lingering pain in her legs. the last deception. Fried that when she was nine. She had always wondered why the reports from the hospital never mentioned physical problems. Deborah confesses to Dr. Deborah asks Doris if the world proved too tough for her. Fried and declares that she knows Dr. . Deborah became Japanese. angry sarcasm that she was simply too tough for the world. Fried denies the accusation. Fried that she was tempted to act out "insanity" at the other hospital. but the staff in long in responding. everything makes sense. where the staff watches her with a morbid curiosity. She hopes that Deborah will be well enough to return home soon. Later. Therefore. Dr. Deborah calls out for help. is yet to come. Deborah senses Yr's oncoming punishment. a deception." After the session. Deborah tells Dr. they tell Suzy the truth. she considers the staff's "help" a cruel joke. So. Fried plans to betray her. when the Second World War began.

and distrust are important themes in Deborah's personal experiences. Commentary While Deborah struggles to free herself from her illness. If the same incident happened now. Deborah begins to burn herself with stray matches and cigarette butts. She suffered from antiSemitic prejudice. They allow her to continue receiving treatment despite the lack of clear. She returns to the Disturbed Ward. it should be clear that extreme alienation. fear of rejection and abandonment by her family. shame. When Carla returns to the Disturbed Ward. but when she tried to draw attention to her symptoms. her family is also undergoing a difficult coping process. although everyone told her she wasn't. naked and alone. Fried is dead. reassures her that she didn't hurt anyone. so Dr. Deborah knew she was sick. realizing that Eugenia had the same taint. despite the trouble that her illness brings to the family. and intense shame regarding her early childhood surgery. she was continually told that nothing was . She convinces herself that Dr. Carla assures Deborah that she shouldn't feel bad for her. A doctor. Dr. Dr." For years. Fried. Fried declares that Deborah's desire to meet her final destruction with beauty and poise is simply adolescent melodrama. Halle cleans the wounds. however. Deborah. Eugenia. she proved that Deborah was saner than she thought.she and another girl. Royson attempts to prove to Deborah that the language of Yr is merely Deborah's own creation. Fried told Deborah that she was sick. She became tired because she tried to do too much at once. After Dr. Royson will take over Deborah's case temporarily. Deborah would not be afraid because she's "crazy now. Fried announces that she will be gone for the summer. became friends. Later. Deborah found Eugenia in the showers. By now. Deborah experiences another psychotic episode. defined road to recovery. where another patient praises her capacity for violence. Jacob and Esther do not immediately withdraw Deborah from the hospital after they lose their hope for a quick cure. When Dr. ran away and never spoke to her again. Deborah continues to share the secrets of Yr with Dr. but only to hasten the arrival of the final Deceit. Dr. She knew she was sick. The gods of Yr declare that Deborah's poisonous essence is destined to destroy Carla. Deborah is transferred to the B ward. Eugenia gave her a leather belt and asked Deborah to beat her. It takes an admirable amount of courage and faith for them to trust the hospital staff and Deborah.

behind this delusion. Nevertheless. Greenberg's portrayal of these difficulties illustrates the tremendous courage and perseverance of the mentally ill exhibit in their struggle to reach mental health. the logic of Yr adjusts to the world of the hospital. an important distinction. doubt. Deborah was treated as an enemy outsider because she was a Jew." . She is tempted to "justify" these prejudices by playing to the stereotypes for the staff at the other hospital. Fried explained. This new development signals Deborah's difficult struggle to place her trust in the real world at the expense of her trust in the logic of Yr. Fried does not respond to Deborah's sudden doubts with false promises. it would be a mistake to define her experiences as the "cause" of her illness. When Deborah visits another hospital after breaking her ankle. She encourages Deborah to overcome her fear and continue her treatment by explaining that time is the best proof of her treatment's value. For example. Doris Rivera's re-admission to the hospital reawakens Deborah's extreme doubt about her own ability to live and function in the outside world.wrong. However. They influenced how she regarded her conviction that she was ill. there is a comprehensible logic. Dr. as Dr. which the vast majority of us take for granted. The gods of Yr declare that the hospital is the "Third Change" predicted in Yr's prophecy of Deborah's inevitable doom. although she didn't know at the time that she was suffering from a mental illness. These experiences shaped how the illness expressed itself. However. she realizes that part of the difficulty of "making it" in the outside world is dealing with the prevalent prejudices and negative stereotypes of the mentally ill. and frequent setbacks. However. Deborah's anger and disappointment at this turn of events also reveals that she desires the chance to live and function in the real world. Delusion is a characteristic of untreated schizophrenia. Deborah's conviction that she was Japanese gave meaning to the prejudice Deborah had already suffered for years. a tide of anti-Japanese hysteria swept the United States. Fried points out that Deborah would better cope with these prejudices by helping other to understand mental illness by dispelling the negative myths associated with it rather than giving them what they expect--a stereotypical performance of "insanity. but the content of the delusions is partly influenced by the sufferer's personal experiences. Deborah's conviction that she became Japanese during the Second World War is clearly a delusion. During the war. the road to recovery is a long and difficult process. Her novel is a plea for empathy and understanding. Dr. Doris represented the hope that she too could recover from mental illness. rife with fear.

This is only a setback in Deborah's treatment. Deborah still succeeds in stealing them. Hence. Fried returns. Royson. they could not establish the trust and rapport she has with Dr. However. strong will to help her insist that Deborah's treatment continue. While the staff rushes to contain Helene. like Deborah did when Helene attacked her. so she would never take on a hopeless case. When Dr. she reminds Deborah that the world has a host of similar moral quandaries. Deborah alone understands that Sylvia needs attention as much as Helene. frightened by the news of Deborah's behavior. Fried does not try to placate her with false hope. Royson is tense and ineffective because of a personality clash more than anything else." Esther. She wants to offer Sylvia comfort. Deborah knows that matches and cigarettes are less guarded on the B ward. Deborah decides that she will not use the patients' cigarette butts to burn herself because she doesn't want to implicate them in her delinquency. Fried. despite her family's objections. Fried believes it is. She states that she is in high demand. it takes several tries for a patient to find the right doctor. so returning there might hasten her death. Royson's approach to Yr does not work as well as Dr. Deborah states that she thinks. Often. Greenberg demonstrates that a mentally ill patient's recovery is dependent partly upon the patient's relationship with her or her doctor. Fried's. Royson. Deborah struggles to explain that she tried to work with Dr. His approach might work with another patient. Dr. it fails. although she doesn't know why." She hides the burns so well that a doctor suggests that she might return to the B ward soon. Sylvia remains silent and motionless. not evidence of failure. Although the restrictions on cigarettes and matches are tightened. Deborah's burn wounds stubbornly refuse to heal. Dr. Fried. Chapters 20-23 Summary Deborah continues to burn herself in order to ease the pressure of the "volcano inside her. She throws down a book of matches she stole from Dr. Fried. Royson attempts to treat Deborah by "proving" to her that Yr is her own creation. . Fried. Fried chose to participate in the reality that Yr represents while Dr. and therefore requires an individualized approach. so she immediately reveals her burns. Deborah sincerely tries to work with Dr. When she confesses this to Dr. but with Deborah. Fried hopes that Esther has a dominating. that her habit of burning herself is not as serious as Dr. but he was only interested in being "right. When Helene attacks Sylvia.Deborah's relationship with Dr. but she cannot bring herself to do it. or that she cannot overcome her illness. meets with Dr. Dr. declaring that she will not use her either. Every patient is different.

Deborah decides that she will not die. Deborah realizes that being a Japanese soldier represented anger and martyrdom. Deborah suffers frequent psychotic episodes. When she returns to consciousness. The attendant angrily denies this. When Deborah and an attendant are walking through the cold. Deborah complains that she is tired of thinking and explaining. Carla returns to the hospital after a brief stint in the world outside. Dr. Forbes. but the staff seems to treat her more kindly. Fried tells Deborah that she has realized something about Deborah's confession that she had tried to kill Suzy. Fried says that the reason is that Deborah has lost her "stoniness of expression. Dr. She threatens to give up her treatment. some of them in her own blood. He believes that Dr. eavesdrops on a conversation in the staff room. Deborah steadies them with her own hands. Later when she notices Carla's hands shaking. one that a coat can alleviate. Deborah explains to Dr. Deborah's burns finally begin to heal. Dr.Deborah experiences a psychotic episode in which she writes Yri words all over the bathroom. Fried again reminds her that she never promised Deborah that it would be easy. Dr. Fried repeats this assertion during a staff meeting. Deborah. Deborah hears that Miss Coral threw a bed at Mrs. Fried assures her that she has a talent for health and life. she realizes that the death she fears might not be a physical one. Fried tells her that the "poor little girl" can stay crazy forever. the characteristics of her grandfather. Fried should be trusted. Forbes. Meanwhile. is getting sicker. only to draw it back in a few seconds later. Some of the attendants declare that everyone on the ward. A five-year-old could not possibly have lifted a heavy baby out of a bassinet and held it out a window. Deborah states that she doesn't think she's getting sicker at all. and Dr. Fried asks Deborah if she thinks she's getting sicker. explaining that the patients do not have to work at hard jobs for low pay while supporting a family. Dr. Royson states that he simply didn't get along with Deborah. Dr. Dr. one of the few staff members whom the patients try to protect from harm." Deborah is afraid because she has often made enemies because people misinterpreted her facial expressions. including Deborah. hoping to discover the reason for Miss Coral's violence against Mrs. Deborah declares that they at least only have one kind of cold. Fried that she felt a combination of fear and anger during the episode. Meanwhile. Later. Afterwards. Commentary .

Deborah was convinced that her negative emotions were destructive to others. She extends her emotional awareness to the staff when she acknowledges that their lives are difficult and stressful even if they do not suffer from mental illness . one wonders why she is trying to put off the explosion. It is possible that she was waiting for Dr. is not without its own troubles. She even challenges Dr. ." Deborah finally replies that she doesn't think they are right. Although she is convinced that Dr. Deborah discovers that she isn't as dangerous to others as she once thought. This is also important because if forces her to acknowledge that not even mentally healthy people have it easy all the time. Deborah continues to develop a sense of the emotional reality of people around her. an important step in her recovery. Hence. Moreover. Fried is dead. the self-mutilation is evidence of Deborah's struggle to overcome her fear of abandonment. Dr. then. Before she started treatment at the hospital. However. so she created a false memory of attempting to murder her sister. though she is still too afraid to act on it. Fried told her. her friend. She did not like Suzy when she first arrived. Fried's judgment by stating that her recent habit of selfmutilation is not that serious.Deborah's self-mutilation may seem like a drastic setback. Engagement in reality. Royson proves unsuccessful. but it can also be regarded as a form of self-medication. Deborah has begun to place trust in herself and her own self-knowledge. She uses it to relieve the pressure of the "volcano" inside her when therapy with Dr. Fried's return all along. aggressive emotions are normal part of living. indicating that her hesitance to emotionally invest has begun to fade. Deborah's judgments of her own progress are borne out by the greater expressiveness of her facial expressions. negative. She never actually tried to kill her sister. Fried demonstrates that she has begun to develop a moral code to structure her interactions with the real world. Fried prompts Deborah to form her own opinions about her illness in the wake of Deborah's discovery that the staff believes that she and the other patients are getting "sicker. a sign of progress in her emotional development. and they don't necessarily translate into harmful behavior toward others. Fried's return. Her recognition of Sylvia's silent distress in the aftermath of an attack by Helene reveals that she has developed her capacity for empathy. She is eventually able to offer comfort to Carla. Her decision to stop stealing cigarettes and matches from the other patients and Dr. she became convinced that she was poisonous to others. as Dr. This also constitutes a refusal to allow her illness to dictate her choices and her interaction with the world. Perhaps. Over the years. staving off the impending psychotic episode that overtakes her shortly before Dr. so Deborah convinced herself that she tried to destroy her sister.

Carla tells her that she is going to try living on the outside again. She remembers that she had happy moments in the past that were buried over by the gloom and unhappiness of her illness. is horrible. King. Esther eagerly shows Deborah's sketches to admiring relatives. they are placed in seclusion. Halle is pleased that they shared a fun experience. Later. so she admires people who are atumai. but she still fears that they might somehow be real. The Yr of early days. an elderly landlady who has not lived in the town long enough to acquire the fear and contempt that most of the long-time residents feel toward out-patients from the hospital. She wonders if giving up Yr for Earth is a fair trade. was a beautiful haven. Suzy cancels an outing with her friends that she was eagerly anticipating. she learns that Carmen committed suicide after she left the hospital. Later. Deborah meets a new patient. the daughter of a multimillionaire. They learn soon thereafter that Carmen's father took her out of the hospital. causing Deborah to feel guilt and embarrassment. Halle asks her what the escape was all about. setting off an argument between her and Suzy later that night. Dr. Carmen. Deborah frightens the other patients when she states that Carmen could have made it if she had stayed. Praising Deborah is a plea for others to excuse her illness. an Yri word for people who are never ever clumsy. She wishes she could dismiss them whenever she wanted. Fried points out that Yr became beautiful . Only the recent Yr. an exhilarating experience. Deborah takes a room from Mrs. she and Carla escape the hospital to walk along the road at night. Dr. Last night. In the morning.Chapters 24-29 Summary Deborah goes home for a five-day visit to a warm welcome. before the Censor. Deborah explains that she has always been clumsy. Deborah requests that she be allowed to live in the nearby town. When she returns to the hospital. humorous gods of Yr. Deborah partakes in the social life of the town. she and Carla were briefly atumai. but everyone treats her with a politeness that separates her firmly from them. Deborah suddenly realizes that her parents allowed her to stay for a long time even when she showed no signs of improvement. so he does not punish them by revoking some of their privileges. on a lark. so she takes comfort in the laughing. Dr. Suzy feels neglected because she never receives such adulation. She finally admits that she created Yr and its gods herself. Later. but Esther explains that it would be bragging to praise her. When they return. full of punishment and suffering. but dealing with her solicitous relatives is exhausting.

She faces the prejudices and fears of a town that has long heard lurid tales of depravity about the patients at the mental hospital. When a social worker suggests that she take classes in preparation for the GED examinations. they never stopped her treatment. as her midnight escape from the hospital with Carla indicates. but when she returns to consciousness. Deborah suffers another psychotic episode. Deborah is stricken with fear and hopelessness that she will never be able to live like average people. they never removed her from the hospital. However. she opens her school textbooks and tells the gods of Yr that she is going to fight for her place on Earth despite their attempts to hold her back. she does not want to attend the local high school where her classmates will be three years younger than she. The stakes of her struggle with her illness are nothing more and nothing less than the ability to control and manage her own life. She is terrified that Yr no longer has its old logic now that she has begun to accept the laws of Earth. she doesn't give up. Walking back to the hospital. she suffers another psychotic episode and has to spend a night in . love. Deborah's decision to try life as an outpatient is a significant change in her life. Deborah is also capable of taking pleasure in real world. Fried. Despite their doubts and frustrations with her slow progress. she chooses to take the GED classes and begin building a life on Earth's terms. She perseveres with her studies and passes the GED exam with a score high enough to gain admittance into college if she wants to go. Although Deborah is plagued with sadness and doubt because she must fight so hard for the small achievements that others take for granted. In the last chapter. Meanwhile. Nevertheless. but their pitiful pride in her accomplishment saddens her. She suffers another psychotic episode. that the wall between her and them will always be there. Their faith. and trust gave them the strength to endure the uncertainty and the setbacks so that she could have the means to become free of her illness. She calls to give her parents the good news. Despite the anguish that her prolonged treatment has caused them. She endures the polite but rigid isolation imposed on her by the residents while pursuing a GED and continuing her treatment with Dr. Deborah finally recognizes the value of her family's sacrifices for her. Commentary After Carmen's unfortunate suicide.and welcoming again when she began to fight its tyranny. Deborah realizes that Carla is jealous of her artistic outlet. Meanwhile. Deborah realizes that she cannot get a job without a high school diploma.

it necessary to remember that all three committed suicide. but before one romanticizes their mental illnesses. blame. and Virginia Woolf are only a few such individuals whose artistry is practically inseparable from the idealized myths of their mental instability. Vincent Van Gogh. Sylvia Plath. The doctor's most important tool is empathy. The novel also portrays the difficult. to be described with frightening or belittling euphemisms. she resolves to continue fighting. the novel ends on the hopeful suggestion that she will eventually be healthy. romanticized mental illness as an altered state of consciousness that was rich in artistic. and the stigma of their daughter's sickness. and fear. many uninformed people regard mental illness as a stigmatized condition. Greenberg portrays the experience of mental illness from the patient's point of view. reactions to mental illness generally fell between two polarized attitudes.the hospital. giving up her allegiance to Yr. The reading public had absorbed centuries of inaccurate information about mental illness. and fear. The relationship between the patient . The road to recovery is lined with setbacks. In the late 1960s. strength. all based on prejudice. Even today. when Greenberg's novel was published. The protagonist of this myth was the tortured artist who poured out his or her soul in writing or art between periods of mental breakdown. Although her journey to recovery is not yet finished. mental illness was stigmatized as a weakness or fatal flaw on the part of the sufferer. doubt. It takes a great deal of courage and perseverance on Deborah's part to face her illness and fight it through treatment. On the other end of the spectrum. popular with the counterculture generation. Struggling with mental illness is not glamorous or easy. ignorance. shrouded in shameful secrecy and negative stereotypes. Treating the mentally ill requires a combination of emotional sensitivity. creative inspiration. most importantly. stressful work required of the medical professionals and the staff who work with mentally ill patients. and intuition in addition to good clinical training. Often their periods of mental breakdown were a source of inspiration. Analysis Joanne Greenberg wrote I Never Promised You a Rose Garden to refute the simultaneously romanticized and stigmatized status of mental illness. In the late 1960s. as Clara Fried demonstrates. One. Greenberg portrays the problem of mental illness from different perspectives. However. She details Jacob and Esther Blau's struggle with self-doubt. mental illness was even more misunderstood and feared. Nevertheless.

and her novel remains valuable as a sympathetic portrayal of mental illness. respect. she guides Deborah through a reinterpretation of Yr and its logic. these new findings certainly do not invalidate the importance of empathy and understanding in the treatment of schizophrenia. In recent years. Over the course of three years. schizophrenia has come to be regarded as a problem in brain development. Still. but a good relationship depends on illusory qualities than cannot be defined or acquired in advance. although it might with a different patient. It is unlikely that therapy without the use of psychiatric drugs is sufficient to treat schizophrenia. Greenberg's desire to garner sympathy. His approach does not work with Deborah. she helps Deborah cope with the often confusing. In this way. his approach is to prove to Deborah that Yr is her own creation. a physiological condition. When Dr. Royson takes over Deborah's case. Some of the information in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is outdated. The novel implies that Deborah's treatment is composed mostly of therapy.and doctor is a key part of treating mental illness. and understanding for sufferers of mental illness is still a valid concern. Fried acknowledges the value of Deborah's imaginary kingdom as a kind of map to Deborah's illness. . Dr. often irrational laws of the real world. studies indicate that a complex combination of genetics and environmental factors contribute to the development of the condition. Although no one knows exactly what "causes" it.

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