Notes on I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Themes

Joanne Greenberg
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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Topic Tracking: Deceit

Chapter 3

Deceit 1: Deborah's effort to hide Yr from everyone around her is a form of deceit. Much of the deceit that she mentions throughout the story has been contrived to fool her, but this deception is one that she created to protect her fantasy world.

Deceit 2: Deborah is relieved that Dr. Fried will acknowledge the sickness that holds Deborah in its grasp. For years Deborah has had to hear people tell her that there is nothing wrong with her despite the fact that she knows that there is a problem. She is expected to lie and pretend that everything is fine and normal when she knows that it's not.

Chapter 4

Deceit 3: Deborah's parents lie to her younger sister about where Deborah is. Little white lies of this sort occur throughout the book, and Esther is usually responsible for them. We don't really see how her white lies affected Deborah, but it is interesting to notice Deborah's hatred for deception and the frequency with which her mother manipulates the family with her lies.

Chapter 5

Deceit 4: Dr. Fried warns Esther not to deceive Deborah because the mentally ill are especially sensitive to lies, and Deborah is no exception. Part of the reason that Deborah escapes to Yr is to evade the deception of the world.

Chapter 6

Deceit 5: Deborah's doctors lied to her about the painful surgery she underwent to remove a tumor from her uterus when she was five years old. Deborah carried with her both the pain of the operation and then lies; she created these lies in the form of pains from the phantom tumor that she was convinced she still carried inside her.

Chapter 7

Deceit 6: Even on the B ward there was some level of pretense about mental health, but on the D ward, Deborah was pleased to find that no one was self-conscious about his insanity.

Chapter 10

Deceit 7: Esther knowingly deceives Jacob concerning Deborah's condition at the hospital because she doesn't want him to worry. She also doesn't want him to take Deborah away from the hospital.

Chapter 12

Deceit 8: Deborah was expected to be the salvation of the family, and she had always been told that she was some great, special person. This inflated expectation for greatness could never be achieved, and when other kids mistreated Deborah, it conflicted with what her family had always told her. They had created a false self-image for her, and when she couldn't live up to who and what she was supposed to be, she thought something was wrong with her.

Chapter 16

Deceit 9: Deborah becomes afraid that Furii will deceive her because Deborah has trusted her with so much. Deborah is used to being let down by the world, so the idea that Furii, a representative of the world, will keep Deborah's confidence is difficult for Deborah to believe. This fear of deception is part of what makes the trust factor so important in a doctor-patient relationship.

Chapter 29

Deceit 10: The last deceit that Deborah tears away is one that she has created for herself. When she realizes that Anterrabae was not her own original creation, she understands that all of Yr was a compilation of ideas not unique to her own mind. With this admission that it wasn't entirely her world, she was able to let it go and cast off the Earth for good.

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