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Gesualdi - April 2020

"Girl Interrupted" Assignment Writing Prompt

Formal Essay #4

English Composition 102

Prof. Gesualdi-Gilmore

Due: July 8 (midnight)


In Girl, Interrupted, it’s clear from the early chapters of the memoir that Susanna Kaysen doesn’t really have control over what happens to her. She is given a diagnosis, sent away, and not given the opportunity to comment on her own mental wellbeing.

Write a 5- to 6-page research paper analyzing the concept of power and control in Girl, Interrupted. You’ll have to make an argument regarding who has control in the book, and why. You can choose to examine the power/control dynamic through several different lenses (gender roles, mental illness, class, psychology, etc.).

Because this is a research paper, you will need to consult at least three additional sources to prove the argument you make in your thesis. You will have to conduct research and find these sources on your own. Please include a Works Cited page that includes all your sources.


- The prompt is asking a simple question, but you will still need to find an angle/argument for your paper—and create a comprehensive thesis. “Kaysen has no control in the memoir,” is not a thesis. “Kaysen has control taken from her by her doctors in the memoir, demonstrating the lack of autonomy given to women in the 1960s who displayed signs of mental illness,” is a thesis.

- Please have your annotated bibliography completed to hand in on Tuesday, July 5.

- Please bring a rough draft with at least an intro. and two body paragraphs to class on Wednesday July 6.  

- Each body paragraph should include quotes from Girl, Interrupted.

- Don’t forget to include a title and the honor pledge.


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