“Your name wouldn’t be Lithium?”

[Rory sitting on a bench reading. Dean come out, sees her and goes and sits with her]
DEAN: Is there anything in there about me?
RORY: I don’t know. You name wouldn’t be Lithium would it?

Rory is reading The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, edited by Karen V. Kukil. It was first published in 2000. The American poet, novelist, and short story writer Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) suffered from clinical depression which at times was severe.

Plath was hospitalised in a psychiatric ward for several months while in college, receiving electroconvulsive therapy, and required intermittant psychiatric support for the rest of her life. She died a suicide at the age of 30.

Rory may have been drawn to Sylvia Plath’s life story because she was highly driven academically, and a star student in both high school and college. She easily won prizes for poetry, short story-writing, and journalism, and one of her early writing achievements was being chosen as part of a group of college-aged guest editors for fashion magazine Mademoiselle.

On a darker note, among the several factors that pushed Plath into her first suicide attempt was a rejection from a Harvard summer school writing class. Sylvia Plath is a potent example to Rory of the pressures an ambitious young woman might face at college.

I’m actually not sure what Rory means by her comment, as to my knowledge Sylvia Plath was never treated with lithium. It may be an error by the writer (Amy Sherman-Palladino). In any case, it’s impossible not to feel that her quip is completely wasted on Dean.

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