Notes on Objects & Places from I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Joanne Greenberg
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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Objects/Places

Kingdom of Yr: This is an alternate reality that Deborah has created for herself so that she can escape what she views as the anarchy of the world. Deborah used to slip in and out of Yr when she was younger, but as she grew older, it increasingly became the place where she spent most of her time. This is where she goes to remove herself from the threats of the world.

The Pit: The Pit is a part of the kingdom of Yr that Deborah created as a punishment. In the Pit there is no meaning,will or feeling. It is a void, and coming out of the Pit is frightening because Deborah's need for meaning comes back before the meaning of things itself returns.

Tumor: This tumor became the first mark of what Deborah saw as her difference from other people. The tumor was in her uterus, and so having an operation in such a personal part of her body at such a young age made her feel dirty. The pain of the surgeries to remove the tumor was a very traumatic experience for her because the doctors lied to her about the pain. To punish herself for being deceived, Deborah carried the pain of the tumor with her throughout her life. The phantom tumor caused her excruciating pain until her therapy showed her that she didn't have to punish herself for being wronged.

Summer Camp: Deborah went to the summer camp for three years before her parents learned how anti-Semitic it was. Deborah was an outsider there because of her religion, and even the counselors went out of their way to make her feel unwelcome. It was at this camp that she first found Yr as a place to disappear and find some companionship.

Disturbed Ward: The Disturbed Ward of the hospital is where the sickest women are sent because they are a threat to themselves or others.

Cold Pack: The cold pack is a way to subdue the mental patients whenever they're violent or having a breakdown. The patient is stripped and rolled in wet sheets, then strapped to a bed with restraints. A cold pack is put under the neck and a hot water bottle rests under the feet, and patients are left there for four hours to help them calm down.

Volcano: Deborah feels her sickness inside of her as a volcano that is going to erupt. The symptoms of her illness are all ways of hiding the volcano and keeping some semblance of sanity.

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