Study Guide

Crank Identity

By Ellen Hopkins


What made me despise the girl in the mirror enough to transform her into a stranger, only not. (Introduction.3-4)

Looking in the mirror can be a traumatic experience for all teenagers, girls in particular. That said, creating a persona for yourself that leads you into dangerous territory is taking things a little bit too far.

Alone, there is only the person inside. I've grown to like her better than the stuck-up husk of me […] Alone, there is no perfect daughter, no gifted high-school junior, no Kristina Georgia Snow. There is only Bree. (Alone.3-4, 6)

Alone, there is only the person inside. I've grown to like her better than the stuck-up husk of me […] Alone, there is no perfect daughter, no gifted high-school junior, no Kristina Georgia Snow. There is only Bree. (Alone.3-4, 6)

I wonder when I first noticed her, slipping in and out of my pores, hide-and-seek spider in fieldstone, red-bellied phantom.

I summon Bree when dreams no longer satisfy, when gentle clouds of monotony smother thunder, when Kristina cries. (On Bree.2-3)

Apparently Bree was not a spur of the moment creation by Kristina, but someone lurking under the surface waiting for the right time to spring forward. Kristina was obviously unhappy before her ill-fated trip to see her dad. Without her parents around, the trip gives Bree the opportunity to become a reality.

Even good girls have their secrets, ones even their best friends must guess. (More On Bree.3)

It's amazing what a clear picture of Kristina's unhappiness with her family situation comes out in the early poems of the book. In this case, it's pretty clear that there was a lot of stuff Kristina wasn't telling people even when she was still the good girl version of herself. Most likely, she suppressed her family's problems in much the same way her mom does, while still trying to propel herself forward to satisfy their impossible expectations.

Oh God, who was in the mirror? Not Bree, not Kristina, but some evil incarnation glaring back at me, a horrid red-eyed crone, materialized as if from darkest dementia, nightmares to come, hibernating inside of me. (Coming.4-6)

What's literally going on in this passage is obvious: Kristina woke up from her crash after using crank and looks terrible. Still, it's a frightening enough image to her that Kristina thinks of it as something evil that's been hiding inside her.

Funny thing, your brain, how it always functions on one level or another. How, even stuck in some sort of subconscious limbo, it works your lungs, your muscle twitches, your heart; in fact, in symphony with your heart, allowing it to feel love. (Brain Lag.3)

The mind-altering effects of crank seem to awaken Kristina to the fact that even when she's unconscious, her brain doesn't stop working. There is always some part of her that's actively engaged.

And in that righteous moment, complete clarity. Bree was not an invention, not a stranger. Bree was the essence of me. (Mom and Scott.6)

Is this really true? Is Bree really the core of who Kristina is, or is this just what Kristina is thinking while caught up in her affair with the monster? We're thinking she's really some hybrid of her two selves… but what do you think?

Before Bree, that never would have happened.

Whatever she'd done to me, for me, and basically, in spite of me, she'd given me a whole new sense of self. (Before Bree.1-2)

Ha. That's for sure. We can't exactly say that her "new sense of self" is a positive force for good, though.

No one can take you from you, Kristina. (Stunned.7)

In the aftermath of being raped by Brendan, Chase offers Kristina this surprisingly thought provoking advice. Without really knowing her whole situation, he manages to speak to the fact of how she's largely allowed other people—her parents, Adam, Brendan—to define who she is rather than discovering who she is for herself. Perhaps her struggle with drugs, no matter how much suffering it brings her, is the way Kristina manages to get to a place of making her life rather than letting others tell her who she should be.

Introspection would be easy as a dual-edged sword. If you acquaint yourself with yourself, you don't always like the person you find inside. I could deal with that. The bigger problem was discovering that Bree didn't give a damn about me. (Exiled.1)

The deeper into her relationship with the monster Kristina gets, the more out of control Bree seems to become. And at the end of the day, Kristina is really the least of her concerns. Is this the point where Kristina realizes that Bree is maybe not such a good thing after all?

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