Book Report: I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

1527 words - 6 pages

In the novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg, sixteen year old Deborah Blau is in a tough three year battle with schizophrenia. On top of this illness, at the age of five Deborah had a tumor removed from her urethra, this awful surgery that was performed by mostly male surgeons, made Deborah feel violated. However this schizophrenia is unlike others; it takes a rough toll on her family leading through many ups and downs, this illness also causes Deborah to be placed in a mental institute. Deborah tried once to commit suicide and was unsuccessful. This breathtaking novel explores the stages of schizophrenia and what its effects and outcomes are.
The novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden takes place in a mental institute. This story is told from first person omniscient; therefore we are capable of knowing the thoughts of the characters while the author gives descriptions of what is happening. The protagonist of this story is Deborah. However there are many other characters that play important roles, such as; her parents, her sister Suzy, Dr. Fried, attendant Hobbs, Mr. Mcpherson, her friend Carla, and Dr. Royson. The mood or tone that Greenberg gives off in this story is frightening, sad and ashamed. Greenberg captures this mood by using words such as; illness, graceless, bitter and scream. Greenberg also captures this mood by the events that she causes to happen in her novel. For instance; when Deborah’s parents bring her to the institute, her mother hears other patients screaming, this causes her to frighten and worried for Deborah.
Throughout the novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Deborah makes herself an imaginary kingdom that’s goes by the name of Yr. Dr. Fried believes Deborah made this kingdom because she doesn’t know how to deal with the pain and suffering she experienced on earth. At first, Yr makes Deborah feel happy and safe; she has her own secret language and calls herself Januce; however that was just the beginning. Later on in the kingdom of Yr Deborah is constantly haunted by the Gods of Yr. When Deborah presents joyful or positive human emotions on earth and doesn’t do what they tell her, they punish her. Furthermore, Deborah is told by the Gods of Yr. that she must not tell anyone about the kingdom; this makes it very difficult for Dr. Fried to help Deborah cope with her illness. Deborah has extreme trust issues; these constantly upset her and are one of the many causes of why her parents sent her to the mental institute, in hope of curing her and her “poison”. Dr. Fried believes that what set off her schizophrenia is that she was not able to deal with her traumatizing surgery. Along with this reason, Dr. Fried believes that there are others. Dr. Fried believes that the abuse of Deborah’s anit-sematic peers made her feel unsafe; therefore she created the kingdom of Yr. Deborah mentions during one of her sessions with Dr. Fried that the doctors told her the surgery “would not hurt”, however...

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