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Susanna Kaysen

“Why did she do it? Nobody dared to ask. Because - what courage! Who had the courage to burn herself? Twenty aspirin, a little slit alongside the veins of the arm, maybe even a bad half hour standing on a roof: We've all had those. And somewhat more dangerous things, like putting a gun in your mouth. But you put it there, you taste it, it's cold and greasy, your finger is on the trigger, and you find that a whole world lies between this moment and the moment you've been planning, when you'll pull the trigger. That world defeats you. You put the gun back in the drawer. You'll have to find another way.

What was that moment like for her? The moment she lit the match. Had she already tried roofs and guns and aspirins? Or was it just an inspiration?

I had an inspiration once. I woke up one morning and I knew that today I had to swallow fifty aspirin. It was my task: my job for the day. I lined them up on my desk and took them one by one, counting. But it's not the same as what she did. I could have stopped, at ten, or at thirty. And I could have done what I did do, which was go onto the street and faint. Fifty aspirin is a lot of aspirin, but going onto the street and fainting is like putting the gun back in the drawer.

She lit the match.”


Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
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Girl, Interrupted Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
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