Elizabeth Wurtzel Writing Styles in Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America

Elizabeth Wurtzel
This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Prozac Nation.
This section contains 679 words
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The perspective of the novel is thoroughly from the point of view of Wurtzel. The reader never receives any other commentary from other individuals throughout the book. For this reason, the reader relates highly to Wurtzel and feels as though they are hearing a story from the point of view of a friend, rather than just an author writing a book. The reader relates to her emotions and events. Since she clearly defines her emotions and why she reacts the way she does (or when she admits that she realizes that she's crazy but cannot control her actions), the novel has more authenticity and clarity.

The point of view exclusively from Wurtzel is important, since for most of the novel she is misunderstood by her friends and family, especially her mother. Her depression is not understood by anyone, including herself and her therapists. This confusion is especially relevant throughout Wurtzel's depictions of events since she never lets on that a true diagnosis of her depression will ever be found, which leads to the confusion and sense of desperation that is evident throughout the novel.

It would be helpful to hear another important character's perspective during these same events. Since the reader is so thoroughly immersed in Wurtzel's world, another perspective would most likely break up the train of emotion and drama that Wurtzel provides by keeping the perspective solely in her world. However, especially from her friends, Dr. Sterling or her mother, another perspective would help to clarify Wurtzel's actions a little more.


The tone of the book is basically straightforward throughout the book. Even during her most explosive times, Wurtzel remains steady with the reader, not allowing the emotional events to change her writing style. She does not throw in superfluous adjectives or adverbs in order to heighten the intensity of the experience; she just lets the unusual events speak for themselves. Her tone is basically consistent throughout, but without warning, the book will take an unexpected twist. The text will move from standard script to italicized writing to indicate a change. In this way, the reader is suddenly taken on a side trip with Wurtzel. Although another perspective is not available, these italicized sections provide additional information and insight into Wurtzel's world.

Oftentimes, these italicized departures are more emotional and reflective pieces of Wurtzel's mind, giving the reader a more complete view of what she thought about the event at the time. She will give private thoughts about an event or lead the reader down a digression that allows us to hear her thoughts on a specific topic, such as divorce and children. In this way, the reader enjoys a kind of private conversation, as if they are reading Wurtzel's diary during the time that these events are taking place.


The structure of the novel is very basic. There is a prologue and an epilogue with fourteen chapters in between. There is also an afterword to the epilogue which gives updates on Wurtzel's opinions on Prozac and the possible over-medication of people in the United States. While the advance of Prozac has undoubtedly helped millions of people like herself live a more normal life, there are other individuals who use the drug as a crutch to avoid other issues in her life. However, before Wurtzel starts to take Prozac, her life is a series of depressive episodes accompanied by some light, hopeful moments when she starts to date someone new or moves to a new location.

There are no subplots in the novel and the only time the book deviates from its strict linear depiction of Wurtzel's life is through the italicized moments of her writing. Even then, the reader is not lead well off into the future or too far into the past, but instead hears Wurtzel's private, reflective thoughts on a topic. In this way, the reader feels like they are simultaneously reading Wurtzel's diary and reading an autobiography at the same time. For this reason, the structure of the novel plays well into the roller coaster that is Wurtzel's life.

This section contains 679 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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