Literature / Cut
is a young adult novel written by Patricia McCormick. The heroine, Callie, cuts herself. The discovery of this particular habit by the school nurse has led to her admission to Sea Pines, an all-female psychiatric hospital that is called a "residential treatment facility" by the staff there. The patients are called guests and are sorted according to their issues. Those who have been admitted for treatment of eating disorders are called "guests with food issues." Junkies and alcoholics are "guests with substance issues" and the guests with behavioral issues are "assorted psychos," as Callie herself puts it. Guests are further sorted by Level based on behavior. Level Ones are new guests or guests exhibiting Inappropriate Behavior and are not allowed to go anywhere without an escort. Level Twos are guests who have accumulated ten points for Appropriate Behavior and are allowed limited privileges. Level Threes are guests who are about to graduate and "are
the escorts." The nurses are not called nurses, they are called attendants.
The entirety of this novel is written in second person, with Callie narrating to her psychiatrist, who she is required to see for Individual Therapy, which is basically set up to follow the traditional format of a Freudian psychotherapy session. The doctor sits on a chair with a sheet of paper and pen in hand while Callie sits on the Freudian Couch
and... doesn't say a word. Callie, as well as cutting herself, has also remained completely mute for quite a while to the point where her roommate has nicknamed her S.T., for "Silent Treatment." Still, the reader finds out, little by little, exactly what Callie's psychological issues are.
- All There in the Manual: Sea Pines has many rules and regulations and Callie explains them all to us readers.
- Discreet Dining Disposal: Becca does this with a brownie she was being encouraged to eat, hiding it in her napkin while everyone is looking the other way.
- Every Scar Has a Story: At one point, Callie shows the therapist the scars on her arms and tells her how she made each one.
- Freudian Couch: Callie is on one of these during her Individual Therapy sessions with her psychiatrist.
- In-Series Nickname: Many of the patients at Sea Pines have dubbed the facility "Sick Minds." Callie herself is known by the moniker "S.T." - short for Silent Treatment.
- Ill Girl: Becca is probably the closest example to the trope - she's tiny, perpetually pale, and dangerously anorexic - to the point of having suffered a heart attack that landed her in the hospital before the events of the story.
- Improvised Weapon: Discussed by the therapist. She tells Callie that there are all kinds of things in the world she can turn into weapons to hurt herself if she wanted to.
- Insistent Terminology: They are "guests", not patients, and Sea Pines is a "residential treatment facility", not a mental hospital.
- It's All My Fault: Before the story, Callie was left to watch her sick younger brother while their parents went out, and he had a bad asthma attack that put him in the hospital. The guilt Callie feels over what she believed was her failure to prevent her brother from developing asthma is what drove her to start hurting herself.
- Lady Land: Sea Pines is a treatment facility for girls and young women. The staff there are also female.
- Mammy: Ruby. Callie sees her as the most trustworthy attendant, she acts as a maternal figure towards guests under her charge, and she happens to be black. She even calls Callie "honey child" a few times.
- The '90s: The story is implied to take place in this decade, due to the lack of computers and a mention of Rescue911 being on TV.
- Second-Person Narration: The person addressed as "you" is Callie's therapist.
- Self-Harm: Callie engages in this and this is the reason for the plot. Even though Sea Pines has a policy against "sharps", Callie still finds ways to continue to cut herself.
- The Voiceless: Callie refuses to talk to anybody.