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Cut Summative Essay

In the novel Cut, the main character Callie experiences mental health issues and self-

harms; through therapy, she is able to heal. Throughout the novel we seem a common

occurrence of the themes surrounding Callie and her story. Mental health, character growth

and self development are three areas that will be explored in this essay.

Callie struggles with a mental illness that causes her to self-harm. To help her with her

struggles, she is admitted to a treatment facility called ‘Sea Pines’ or as Callie refers to it, ‘Sick

Minds’. This is a treatment facility for teenage girls who are struggling with a wide variety of

mental illnesses. The reader is introduced to characters who suffer from anorexia, compulsive

eating disorder, drug addiction and self-harming. Throughout the book we see characters at

different stages of the therapy process. Some are nearing the end of their treatment, having

accepted their illness and have agreed to treatment, while some are still in denial and do not

think they have a problem. Each of the characters has different security levels, that depend on

where they are in the treatment process. Someone who is progressing and nearing the end of

their treatment are allowed to leave the building and spend time on the grounds, while others

are under lock and key and have to be monitored twenty-four seven. The ones who are

monitored constantly are usually more harmful to themselves.

We see a variety of character growth throughout the novel. We witness a girl suffering

from anorexia begin to eat regularly and by the end of the book she weighs in at a healthy
weight. It appears she has come a long way in battling her mental illness since we were first

introduced to her in the beginning of the book. We also get to witness a portion of Callie’s

growth near the end of the novel. The vast majority of the novel is Callie refusing treatment

and also refusing to discuss her issues with the group therapy circle. The first turning point in

Callies treatment comes when Amanada is introduced to the therapy group. Amanda is also a

teenage female who self-harms. This acts as a realization point for Callie who comes to the

realization that she isn’t the only one who self-harms. This is when Callie begins to open up,

subconsciously, about her issue. She starts seeing it in a different light and as a reader we

begin to get insight into her thoughts and the issues and feelings she has revolving around self-


The second turning point, which helps show Callie’s Self-development, comes when she

runs away from ‘Sick Minds’ and calls her father for help. During the drive Callie and her father

begin to discuss how she feels responsible for her brother’s asthma condition. Callie’s father

tells her that it isn’t her fault and that it was something that they could not control. This is the

first time one of her parents has ever addressed the fact that it wasn’t her fault. Allie hearing

this outloud begins to believe that it wasn’t her fault, and they requests that her father take her

back to the treatment facility. The novel ends shortly after with Callie deciding to pen up and

finally talk to the therapist and “wants to get better completely.” The novel ends with Callie

stating “Then, tomorrow, I’m going down to your office first thing in the morning. And tell you

As a reading it was nice to see Callie’s story come to a ‘happy ending’. We can infer that

Callie follows through with her treatment and progresses to a point when she can be released

back to her family. It was a very tough read with a lot of dark and depressing themes

throughout. This semblance of a happy ending allows the reader to feel a little lighter when

finishing up the novel.