Lisa Bright and Dark Essay

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Lisa Shilling is 16, smart, attractive -- and she is losing her mind. Some days are "light, " and everything is normal; during her "dark" days, she hides deep within herself, and nothing can reach her. Her teachers ignore what is happening. Her parents deny it. Lisa's friends are the only ones who are listening -- and they walk with her where adults fear to tread. At age sixteen, Lisa Shilling has a serious mental illness. She has good days, when she is bright and cheerful, but she also has dark days, which occur with increasing frequency, when her behavior is inexplicably erratic. Lisa hears voices, and sometimes speaks suddenly and rudely with a clipped British accent. Her changes in mood and personality come without warning, and are terrifying both to herself and those around her. Knowing that something is very wrong, Lisa tells her parents directly that she is ill and pleads for help, but, preoccupied with their own affairs, they are in denial, more concerned with appearances than the well-being of their daughter. Unable to get the intervention that might save her, Lisa's behavior grows increasingly destructive and bizarre. Acknowledging what the adults in their world cannot, Lisa's friends band together to help their troubled classmate. Mary Nell, or M.N., is the studious one who pores over psychology books, trying to figure out what is wrong with Lisa and what can be done to help her. Betsy Goodman, the narrator of the story, is practical and straightforward, better able to connect at times with Lisa on a personal level than the overly-analytical M.N. Elizabeth Frazer, chosen as a confidante of sorts by Lisa herself, has, unbeknownst to the others, been through a similarly frightening experience, and so is able to approach the situation with a greater level of understanding. M.N., Betsy, and Elizabeth are aware that they are woefully underqualified to know

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