consequence for Jackie: she has now lost everything she has
worked for so diligently. The open-ended nature of the series
leaves room for viewers to speculate. Zoey’s dialogue offers
significance in its similarity to Jackie’s lines at the beginning of the
series. The pilot episode of the series ends with a voiceover of
Jackie asking, “Make me good, God, but not yet.” The significance
of this dialogue is brought to light when the time arrives for Jackie
to be “made good.” The sitcom Nurse Jackie shows that a female
protagonist does not have to follow a traditional mold of middle
adulthood for heterosexual, White women, which is the dominant
mode of representation for them on television. Instead of
achieving a balance between work and life, Jackie
compartmentalizes the spheres of her life and follows her own
moral code. Her main source of motivation is her addiction, which
means she must keep her work and personal lives separate in order
to better protect the secret addiction. Jackie continually faces the
challenge of managing two different worlds. Her
compartmentalization keeps her from achieving recovery because
she never believes she needs to recover. Jackie is a vivid example
of what can happen when compartmentalizing is used as a defense
mechanism. The most important aspect of this defense mechanism
is that it is used, in part, to help hide her addiction. Because Jackie
never ends up staying sober, this failure demonstrates the negative
effect compartmentalization can have and explains why her
complete recovery was never possible. The direct line drawn to
separate different spheres of her life tricks Jackie into thinking she
is always in control when, in fact, she never was. As a result, Jackie
ends up losing everything.
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