Study Guide

Dark Places Violence

By Gillian Flynn

Violence

With a title like Dark Places, we know not to expect a Little Golden Book. If this were a kids' book, the Pokey Little Puppy would turn rabid, or the Little Engine that Could would derail and explode. In fact, the Kansas Farmhouse Massacre in Dark Places is the stuff of legend: it even becomes a childhood rhyme within the story. (See "What's with the Epigraph?") It's almost like a fairy tale, but this one is grimmer than the grimmest Grimm.

Questions About Violence

  1. How does Ben deal with his anger-management issues? Could he ever hurt someone else? What could he do to manage his anger better?
  2. Why does Libby, the survivor, become so angry and violent? How do her violent actions end up causing more problems for her, instead of solving those problems?
  3. The crime at the heart of novel is brutal enough as it is. Why does Diondra end up making it look even more gruesome?
  4. Why does Crystal attack her aunt Libby at the end of the book? After Crystal escapes, what do you imagine her life will be like? Will she be as angry as Libby was for much of her life?

Chew on This

Libby is desensitized to violence at a young age. Seeing your whole family slaughtered will do that to you. As a result, acts of violence as an adult are no big deal to her.

Ben appears to be the most peaceful prisoner ever. Perhaps knowing that he provided the best life for his daughter that he could has made him less angry.

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