It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story Summary and Analysis of Parts 7 and 8


As "Part 7: Six North, Monday" begins, Craig is beset with the feeling that he should be at school, not in the very different world of Six North. He checks his phone messages; one is an apology from Aaron, who is now having problems in his relationship with Nia. Another is from Craig's science teacher; in response to this one, Craig leaves a message detailing his mental problems. This message earns a prompt reply, from Craig's principal, who calls Six North directly. Yet Craig hangs up the phone in a panic, certain that he is in serious trouble and fearful that he might be expelled.

Around 3:00, Dr. Minerva arrives. Craig voices some of his insecurities; he fears that his future is in danger, explains that Six North does not seem like effective preparation for the real world, and calls attention to the troubles faced by his fellow patients. However, Noelle and his art have given him sources of security. Despite Craig's vehement protest, Dr. Minerva then calls Craig's principal, Mr. Janowitz. In the conversation that ensues, Mr. Janowitz explains to Craig that Executive Pre-Professional is willing and eager to support Craig during a tough time.

Craig then makes his way to the card tournament that Armelio has arranged. The patients will be using buttons to keep track of their performance, but before the tournament gets underway, Bobby returns from his job interview. After a moment of suspense, Bobby reveals that he was hired. He also plays a prank on the assembled patients using a plastic toy shaped like a piece of dog poop.

The high spirits change, though, when Humble begins an argument with a female patient known as the Professor. Humble throws the plastic dog poop at her and must be escorted away from the tournament. The tournament soon lapses into complete disorder when it it revealed that Ebony has been hoarding and hiding buttons in her blouse.

At the beginning of "Part 8: Six North, Tuesday," Craig notices that Humble is not at breakfast: the aggressive patient is being heavily medicated after the previous day's outburst. Craig then has an opportunity to learn more about Bobby and Johnny. It turns out that these two men had opportunities to see concerts by legendary rock musicians, but missed out because of their drug habit. Bobby and Johnny spend a little time asking Craig about his bond with Noelle, before Craig decides to go work on his art—which he now identifies as a source of pleasure and well-being.

Later in the day, Craig and the other patients attend a music therapy session hosted by a man named Neil; a few nursing students are also in attendance. The Six North patients play simple percussion instruments and dance along to Beatles songs. After this bonding experience, Craig talks a bit on his own with Neil. Although Neil voices support for the course that Craig has chosen in confronting depression, Craig senses that Neil still sees him as a wounded patient. Shortly afterwards, it is announced that Craig has a visitor: Nia.

Nia explains to Craig that she is going through difficulties; she and Aaron have just broken up. Nia admits that she has also been feeling psychologically troubled, and Craig explains the thoughts of depression and suicide that led him to check into Six North. His statements win Nia's apparent admiration. She claims that she finds Craig mature, and asks to be shown his room. Despite his reservations, Craig goes along with her request.

Craig and Nia discovers that Muqtada is out of the room. Though visibly nervous, Craig pushes Nia onto Muqtada's empty bed and kisses her. Craig begins to undress Nia, but then Muqtada suddenly arrives back and becomes outraged. Nia storms out of Six North. However, Craig's other friends—including Muqtada, who blames Nia for what has happened—are supportive despite the disruption. Yet Noelle, as Craig quickly learns, had observed the entire encounter with Nia.

Craig and Noelle meet later in the day, even though Craig had though that Noelle would cancel their appointed discussion. Noelle offers a few sarcastic comments about male egotism, then shifts the conversation to Nia, leading Craig to reveal his past connections with Nia and Aaron. Craig also offers a detailed explanation of his problems with depression and suicide, leading Noelle to a few revelations of her own. She had cut her face because she felt pressured and stereotyped on account of her attractiveness. Moreover, her scars cannot be fully removed, not by surgery. Craig finally decides to show her one of his artworks, a "brain map" that shows two figures, one male and one female, connected by a stunning bridge. Their conversation ends on a note of heartfelt reconciliation.

By dinnertime, Humble has returned. Craig, Humble, and Noelle enter into conversation, and Craig speculates about what stress and pressure are doing to young people and to society as a whole. In his view, people are having more crises at earlier stages of life; soon, even infants may face absurd psychological and academic expectations. By now, Craig and Noelle are once again on affectionate terms. Craig is also eagerly looking forward to the next evening at Six North, when he plans to unveil some special entertainment for his fellow patients.


In previous sections, Craig was forced to deal with life in Six North while simultaneously handling tensions involving his friends on the outside. Now, Craig is challenged to deal with another aspect of the outside world: his school pressures. The reality that Craig is not in school (and is thus not adhering to the high standards that have become something of an obsession for him) emerges as his first Monday in Six North begins. The difficulties only intensify when Craig, finally, decides to reach out to his science teacher and explain his situation.

Craig does panic once his science teacher and principal become aware of where Craig is. Yet the initial message that Craig leaves for his science teacher reveals a new mood, a new mentality: "I call him back and leave a message that I'm in the hospital for personal reasons and that he'll have his labs when I'm good and ready to do them. I tell him that I'll provide any documentation from doctors—including psychopharmacologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, recreation directors, and President Armelio" (298). The tone here is flippant, even rebellious. Craig is aware that his situation is serious, but he is starting to intuit that confidence and self-satisfaction are more effective ways of dealing with depression than stress and self-pity. He may also, finally, have seen that his attitude towards school work is overly serious and thus self-defeating.

In fact, Craig has many reasons to be optimistic. His Monday and Tuesday at Six North present memorable instances of sympathy and cooperation--individually small gestures that, nonetheless, are enormously meaningful. One such gesture is the kindness shown by Craig's principal. It takes little effort for Mr. Janowitz to extend courtesies and exceptions to Craig, yet this effort demonstrates that Executive Pre-Professional is not the oppressive place that Craig had assumed it to be. Another such gesture is Craig's decision to lend the shirt to Bobby. Craig barely thinks about the shirt himself, yet the shirt gives Bobby a decent shot at a more dignified and independent life.

Even in a positive and emotionally nurturing community, conflict and tension will not be absent. Yet such conflict will be worked through honestly and constructively. Craig's stay at Six North is marked by Nia's intrusion, an event that could have soured his relationships with other patients. Instead, Muqtada pardons Craig after an extremely awkward scene. For her part, Noelle is willing to talk through Craig's past and, in the process, admit some of her own difficulties. Although there are formal therapy sessions (such as Neil's music) at Six North, perhaps the most valuable therapy comes from the interactions involving the patients themselves, people who learn to deal with one another's failings as part of the overall process of becoming mentally well.

Craig's mental state is not simply improving; to some extent, his imagination is flourishing. The proliferation of drawings is the clearest sign that he is getting in touch with his creative side, but there is a second indication that Craig's ideas are becoming daring and original: his final speculation about "crises" in younger and younger age groups. Craig muses that "eventually a baby will be born and the doctors will look at it and wonder right away if it's unequipped to deal with the world; if they decide it doesn't look happy, they'll put it on antidepressants, get it started on that particular consumer track" (375). In this speculation, Craig is still admitting the depth of psychological illness in the world. Yet his ideas are newly humorous and confident--much as they were in the earlier phone call to his science teacher.