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Themes

Justice and Judgment is an important theme in any Stieg Larsson novel. Since Salander is a vigilante who often commits crimes in her pursuit of rough justice, our notions of justice are constantly tested. In addition to probing injustices by the official systems of justice, The Girl Who Played With Fire devotes much energy to showing us the way a wide variety of people judge and usually misjudge Salander. Everybody seems to want to judge this girl, usually in harsh terms. Although her friends try to counter the proliferation of negative judgments against her, the negative judgments just seem easier for most people to wrap their heads around. Fire wants us to engage critically with judgments of people we find in the media, and to interrogate harsh labels like "mentally retarded" and "psychotic" whenever we encounter them.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. What role does journalism play in social justice?
  2. Are there examples of journalism as acting against justice.
  3. What would be a just punishment for Zala and Niedermann? What about Peter Teleborian?
  4. Does Salander treat Nils Bjurman justly?
  5. Are the unofficial agents of justice like Blomkvist and Salander more effective than official ones? Why, or why not?
  6. Should Salander be punished for hacking? Why, or why not?
  7. Does Salander judge herself fairly? Does she judge others fairly?
  8. Why is Salander such a magnet for judgment?
  9. Who is the best judge of Salander's character and why?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.
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