Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America - Chapter 1, Full of Promise Summary & Analysis

Elizabeth Wurtzel
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Chapter 1, Full of Promise Summary and Analysis

Wurtzel compares depression to being more like a cancer. It grows slowly over time and then suddenly, bam! It's there and threatening your life and every daily action. Wurtzel wasn't raised by crazed hippie parents — quite the opposite. They were fully immersed in their marriage and with Elizabeth when the cultural revolution began. However, when they became discontent with each other, they didn't stick it out together. They divorced.

When they divorce, it becomes quite clear how different these two people really are. While Wurtzel's mother urges her to have a solid, middle-class upbringing, her father encourages her to live off the land and be an artist. They divorce by the time that Wurtzel is two, but their divorce causes them to fight and places Wurtzel wholly in the middle of their arguments. Wurtzel also remembers that during her erratic visits with her father, he would spend most of the time sleeping.

Over the years, Wurtzel talks with other children of divorced parents and knows that her own events are common and trivial compared to others. Nonetheless, her parents' divorce had a strong negative impact on her upbringing. Wurtzel and her mother become more like friends than mother and daughter. There is no reason initially to discipline Wurtzel because she is very independent and can entertain herself for hours. She is a smart, gifted child. She is a golden child. She wins Hebrew competitions at school, although she does not live in a fully kosher home. People often describe her as full of promise, so when she falls, she never has to worry about a crash landing, she says, because she never really even got a chance to take off.

This section contains 295 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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