Running with Scissors Study Guide

Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Running With Scissors is a memoir in which Augusten Burroughs recounts his unusual childhood after his mother sends him to live with her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, at age twelve. There are few rules in the Finch household, and both Augusten and Dr. Finch's other children do mostly as they please, including smoking pot and having sex. At age thirteen, Augusten begins a sexual relationship with Finch's thirty-three-year-old son. Despite this unorthodox, and at times damaging, parenting method, Augusten comes to think of the Finches as his family.

In May, the Finch’s still have not taken down their Christmas tree. Everyone expects Agnes to do it but she refuses. All members of the household visit the tree regularly, seeking candy canes or chocolate Santa heads.

Augusten recalls a Christmas when he was 10. His mother, in order to distract herself from her disappointing marital situation, went into a "manic holiday frenzy". Among other things, she chose an enormous tree for the house, almost as tall as the 17 foot ceiling.

When Augusten’s father makes a comment about the pine needles in the carpet, Deirdre snaps, toppling the enormous tree and performing with impressive strength as she manages to single handedly wrestle it through the hallway, out the door, and off the deck.

In the Finch household, Hope suggests that Natalie and Augusten remove the tree. Hope then drags it into Hope’s room. It then finds its way into the dining room, where it lays on its side.

Similar power struggles exist yearly in the Finch household with the carcass of the Thanksgiving turkey, which manages to end up under sinks or on top of the television before, if ever, it is disposed of.

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