At the Clinic

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “At the Clinic” by Sally Rooney. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “At the Clinic” (2016)
Author: Sally Rooney
Genre: Short story

Sally Rooney (b. 1991) is an Irish writer. Her most famous works are the novels Normal People (2018) and Conversations with Friends (2017), both of which have been adapted into acclaimed television series. The short story “At the Clinic” was published in The White Review and represents the fictional debut of Marianne and Connell – the two main characters who would later appear in the novel Normal People.


You can read an excerpt from the study guide below.

Marianne’s perspective shows that she had a different take on the events that happened the previous week:

Marianne remembers the incident differently. She remembers giving Connell head for a while on his sofa and then she stopped because her mouth hurt. He was pretty nice about it and they had sex on his couch instead. Only afterwards, when she started talking about her mouth again, did Connell say: you complain a lot more than other people.

The shifting perspectives help the reader have a better view of the complex and problematic relationship between the main characters. Moreover, because the narrator’s presence is ...  

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At the Clinic

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