Wide Reading – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

“Everyone has secrets. It’s just a matter of finding out what they are.”

The girl with the dragon tattoo is a gothic novel written by Stieg Larsson. It tells the story about a Journalist by the name of Mikael Blomkvist, who is hired by Henrik Vanger, to find out who murdered his niece more than 40 years earlier. Mikael works with Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo), a young woman with a talent for hacking into people’s computers, the two find themselves tracking a serial killer who has murdered women for several decades. This report will illustrate Lisbeth Salander’s traits of a common gothic protagonist, also how this novel represents common gothic tones and moods. Lastly I will write a personal response on my perspective on this book and how I found this read.

Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo shows traits of a common gothic protagonist. She has a modern gothic appearance marked with piercings, tattoos, black hair and gothic clothes. Salander finds herself often misinterpreted by her scary presence and other characters in this story don’t want to mess with her, people thought she was dangerous when she was young but she actually won’t hurt anyone, unless they mess with her. Salander shows strong contrasting qualities thought out this book which is one of the main features that a gothic protagonist holds. Another feature that is displayed by Larsson is the influence of Salander’s past events on her future, because of her dark past that is explained in this book, Lisbeth has foreshadowed that something bad is going to happen later on in the read. At the beginning on the book we are told that Lisabeth has had no real family and she is frequently and brutally assaulted by her adult guardian. Because we are told this it makes me thing that something else along the lines of assault are going to happen otherwise the author wouldn’t have bothered to add this part in. At the end of the book we are told that the serial killer sexually assaults girls before he murders them which I had though as it was foreshadowed on earlier in the book. This part of the book is quite unsettling and is not very nice to read, which is commonly found in gothic fiction. I think that if the assault was not added into the book it would most definitely not be as unsettling therefore not as strong a gothic novel.

This novel displays common gothic tones and moods during the whole of the read. The tone that we get from this by the author is very unsettling, the story line for this book is very different from anything else I have read. The tone is gloomy and cold, the town that Mikael is set in is dark and cloudy, he usually goes out into the town at night which then adds another spooky layer to the story. The mood that I feel is quite uneasy and sometimes I want to stop reading as its to much to take in. The strong tones and moods coming from this story is what makes it exciting, urging us to keep on reading.

Henrik Vanger has a crazy obsession with Harriets death, this is a common feature that we see in gothic protagonists. More than 30 years later he’s still wants to no what happened to her. Before knowing the truth of what happened to Harriet I had considered that maybe Henrik was behind what had happened to her or wanted to set up Blomkvist for something due to his intense obsession with wanting him for the job. Henriks weird uneasy presence made me on edge when reading the book as I was not sure what he was going to do around the corner.

This gothic novel displays tones and moods that make you feel uncomfortable and sometimes on edge which is commonly seen in gothic fiction. It also displays traits that gothic protagonists hold, how they may have weird and abnormal obsessions with things, how past events in there lives effect the future and also how Salanders appearance displays features that the modern world views as ‘Goth’.

From reading this story I have released the extent of how badly some people are abused and mistreated, also how well nasty people can cover up what they have done. During the majority of the book I had though of Marten Vanger to be one of the good people in the family, one of the last people I had expected to be the cause of Harriets disappearance, this just shows how sick some people are in the world and that you can never fully trust someone.

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