Cut by Patricia McCormick Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 27 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Cut by Patricia McCormick.
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Cut by Patricia McCormick Summary & Study Guide Description

Cut by Patricia McCormick Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: McCormick, Patricia. Cut, Push-Scholastic, Inc., 2011.

The novel opens on the Callie, the narrator, addressing some unknown person referred to only as “you." She is sitting in this person’s office as “you” hand her a box of tissues, asking if Callie remembers out it started. It is implied that Callie is in some sort of therapy session. The unknown person Callie is talking to is referring to her self-harm.

During a cross-country meet, in which Callie is one of the slowest runners, she goes away from the trail and runs home, where she finds a razor blade on the table. Callie uses that blade to cut herself, producing a euphoric sensation. But Callie does not say this to “you,” she does not talk to anyone. At Sea Pines, the recovery center to which she has been admitted, she is assigned to a group of other troubled young women who struggle with eating disorders, drug abuse, and self-harm. Despite her deep desire to connect with these girls, Callie cannot bring herself to say anything, instead isolating herself emotionally and physically as much as possible.

When she has free time, Callie often retreats to the Study Hall because it the one place where no one is allowed to talk freely. When her mother and her brother, Sam, visit her she plays a board game with Sam because he innately understands her desire to remain silent. A while later, she receives a call from her mother informing her that if she does not begin to participate and try to overcome her impulse to cut herself that Sea Pines will send her home. Callie returns to her room and cuts herself with an aluminum plate she stole from the cafeteria.

Her relapse and the threat of being sent home inspires Callie to begin talking to “you” in their individual therapy sessions. She reveals that her home life is strained because of her brother’s severe asthma and her mother’s constant worry about that. After another girl in her group at Sea Pines is caught cutting herself, Callie reveals to “you” that a substitute nurse at her school is the one who discovered her cutting and informed her parents.

Callie’s mother sends her a letter and a package after hearing that she has been making improvements. Later that day, Callie informs “you” that she was the one who ran for help when her brother had his first asthma attack and almost died, having been home alone with him at the time. The next day, Callie begins to talk during her group therapy session after seeing how upset another girl is upon finding out that a girl in their group might have had another heart attack as the result of continuing anorexia. Callie informs the group that it is her fault that the girl is sick as Callie didn’t say anything when she watched her pretend to eat and throw away her food.

Callie begins to feel connected to the other girls in her group. They are friendly and not as judgmental as she had feared. Even the other girl in the group who cuts herself and makes her feel uncomfortable grows on Callie. She continues to make progress, finding another object she can use to harm herself with, a metal strip of cafeteria table, and giving to “you” so that she cannot use it to cut herself.

During one session with “you,” Callie becomes panicked that her brother might be suffering from an asthma attack with no one around. This fear causes her to run away from Sea Pines in an effort to go home to check on her brother. She runs as far as she can before finding a pay phone when she grows too cold and exhausted to continue. Callie calls her father to find her. They meet at a donut shop and then Callie’s father drives her back to the recovery center, at her request. Callie resolves to tell “you” everything, no longer holding anything back, as her father and the head of Sea Pines are talking.

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