Study Guide

Big Little Lies Violence

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We're going to get real for a second: Big Little Lies is full of horrific violence. No, there's no blood or spilling guts, but there are instances of vivid physical and verbal abuse.

The violence in this novel is a family affair, passed on from father to son. A young kid can learn to hurt and humiliate just as easily as they can learn to read or play soccer—if one parent is abusive, there's a far higher chance that the child will be as well.

But it's not all darkness and despair in Big Little Lies. The characters who confront violence and grapple with its impact, both physical and psychological, learn to heal and cope with their histories of trauma.

Questions About Violence

  1. Why did Max become violent, but not Josh? 
  2. What excuses did Perry give for his violence?
  3. Why did Celeste consider the actions of Saxon Banks to be more damaging than Perry's? 
  4. Why is Bonnie so furious with Perry?

Chew on This

Big Little Lies suggests that psychological violence can be even more damaging than physical violence.

Big Little Lies suggests that abusers cannot be rehabilitated.

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