E03- Critical Reading- belladonna98

Brennan sent Katie to the school therapist, once.

  • Katie goes to school.
  • Katie’s school has a therapist.
  • Katie has been sent to said therapist, but only once. The addition of the word “once” makes it seem like Brennan wanted it that way, she was not sent again on purpose.
  • Brennan is the one who made Katie see the therapist. The phrasing suggests that it was Brennan’s decision, not Katie’s to see the therapist.

 She hasn’t seen any other therapist, or a therapist trained to deal with PTSD—Brannan knows what a difference that makes, since the volunteer therapist she tried briefly herself spent more time asking her to explain a “bad PTSD day” than how Caleb’s symptoms were affecting the family.

  • Katie has only ever been to the school therapist. This is most likely because other therapists cost money, which the Vineses do not have.
  • Katie has never seen a PTSD-specific therapist.
  • Brennan has seen a PTSD-specific therapist.
  • PTSD therapists are different than regular therapists, but in a good way. They “make a difference,” specifically to Brennan.
  • Brennan saw a volunteer, not a paid therapist.
  • Brennan only went to the therapist “briefly”, in fact, she only “tried” her, meaning that she is no longer seeing her.
  • Brennan’s PTSD therapist asked her about her own experiences rather than the experience of the family.
  • Other therapists have only asked about the family.
  • A “bad PTSD day” is a unique experience and a valid one.
  • Caleb’s symptoms are affecting the family.

 When I visited, Katie was not covered by the VA under Caleb’s disability; actually, she wasn’t covered by any insurance at all half the time, since the Vineses aren’t poor enough for subsidized health care and the Blue Cross gap insurance maxes out at six months a year.

  • The author visited the Vines family.
  • Katie is not covered under VA insurance. The VA most likely doesn’t believe in Katie’s symptoms, because they mainly treat veterans and have no experience with how they affect their families.
  • The Vineses are poor, but “not poor enough.” That says a lot about how our government classifies who it wants to help and who it doesn’t. There are some people worthy of subsidies, and some who aren’t.
  • The Vineses are some who apparently don’t deserve subsidies.
  • Their insurance is Blue Cross.
  • Their insurance maxes out at six months a year. Maxes out like a credit card? With all the pills and procedures that Caleb has taken and undergone, it seems the Vineses are using their insurance too much.

 She’s never been diagnosed with anything, and Brannan prefers it that way.

  • Katie has never received a formal diagnosis.
  • Brennan doesn’t want Katie to receive diagnosis.

“I’m not for taking her somewhere and getting her labeled. I’d rather work on it in softer ways,” like lots of talks about coping skills, and an art class where she can express her feelings, “until we have to. And I’m hoping we won’t have to.”

  • Brennan doesn’t want Katie to be “labeled.” This wording gives a negative connotation to a diagnosis, as if it immediately puts Katie in a box labeled “mentally ill” that she can’t escape from.
  • There are hard and soft ways to work through mental illness. Brennan makes standard treatment seem harsh, ignoring the fact that the things she later describes are a part of standard treatment.
  • Katie goes to and art class to express her feelings.
  • Katie has coping skills.
  • Brennan doesn’t want to “have to” get Katie diagnosed, but acknowledges that there is a point when it is necessary.

 Certainly she seems better than some other PTSD vets’ kids Brannan knows, who scream and sob and rock back and forth at the sound of a single loud noise, or who try to commit suicide even before they’re out of middle school.

  • There are other PTSD veteran kids at Katie’s school.
  • Katie is “better than” them. That seems harsh. Brennan obviously has a very low regard for people with mental illness, and doesn’t want her child to be considered one of them. Is this a form of self-hatred coming out, as Brennan is mentally ill herself?
  • Other PTSD kids’ symptoms include screaming, rocking, and attempting suicide.
  • PTSD kids have triggers, including a single loud noise. Only one, singular loud noise. Not multiple loud noises. The word singular is unnecessary and draws from the meaning. I get what Brennan means, but it just doesn’t come across the way she wants it to.
  • Some PTSD kids attempt suicide at a young age. There is no reason given for this, just that it happens. Could it be that their parents never got the proper treatment, Brennan?

Caleb spends enough time worrying that he’s messing up his kid without a doctor saying so.

  • Caleb worries that he is “messing up” Katie. Obviously people with mental illness are “messed up”. They are some kind of subspecies, not fully human because their brains don’t work the same.
  • A doctor could definitively prove that Caleb is indeed “messing up” Katie. So PTSD could be confirmed to be contagious, or at least picked up on, by a doctor.

One thought on “E03- Critical Reading- belladonna98”

  1. I could tell from your first example that this was going to be an excellent post, Belladonna. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the comma, though, which for me has an obvious and essential impact on the meaning of the sentence. That aside, your reading of the nuances of that first sentence is spot on.

    A couple of notes about your second cluster:
    FFG Punctuation Problem: Brennan only went to the therapist “briefly”, in fact, she only “tried” her, meaning that she is no longer seeing her.
    Inference ErrorBrennan’s PTSD therapist asked her about her own experiences rather than the experience of the family.
    Here, I think, the therapist spent too much time asking about Caleb’s bad PTSD days.

    On that same sentence: What do you think is the author’s perspective on Brannan’s [why do you keep calling her Brennan?] attitude about the therapist? People often leave their doctors for bad reasons. Is it possible that volunteer therapist was using a perfectly legitimate technique to urge Brannan to describe her own symptoms obliquely?

    Your work is always good here, Belladonna, even when I think you’re over-concluding, which happens. Some of your own claims could be clearer, such as this head-scratcher: A doctor could definitively prove that Caleb is indeed “messing up” Katie. So PTSD could be confirmed to be contagious, or at least picked up on, by a doctor.

    You may improve this post if you wish, after comparing it to your classmates’, but you’re not obligated to do so. If you should revise it for another round of feedback, drop a comment below to ask me to take another look.

    Grade E


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