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The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl Who Played With Fire
by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played With Fire Theme of Isolation

The Girl Who Played With Fire is big on isolated settings, like Salander's lonely apartment and her cell in the psychiatric ward. There are also isolated cabins, warehouses, and farms in remote locations where criminals carry out their devious acts. Salander herself is the queen of isolation. She is isolated by her past, by her lack of self-esteem, and by the false labels placed on her by the social welfare system, the police, and the media. The largely unseen victims in the novel, the women who are trapped in the sex trade are also prime examples isolation. Because they are considered criminals, and because they are often illegal immigrants without family, friends or resources, they are an almost forgotten segment of society. The work of murdered journalist Dag and academic Mia are attempts to de-isolate these women. Characters like Blomkvist and Mimmi are also antidotes to isolation as they try to bring Salander out of her solitary life and back into the light.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Who is the most isolated character in the novel?
  2. How does Salander's revenge against Nils Bjurman isolate him?
  3. Is isolation always a negative thing in the novel?
  4. How might the isolated settings of the novel comment on the mentalities of the characters who inhabit them?

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