Study Guide

The Girl Who Played With Fire Identity

By Stieg Larsson


The early sections of The Girl Who Played With Fire feature Lisbeth Salander trying to reconstruct her identity. Having the billions of kronor she stole in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo makes this task seem a lot easier than it really is. With the money, she's able to take a long vacation, get breast implants, have a tattoo removed, and buy a humongous apartment. When she returns to Stockholm from her travels, she tries to fashion a 'normal' life and to repair damaged friendships. But, her identity as Alexander Zalachenko's daughter rears its ugly head. Though Salander has been careful to keep the details of her past to herself, when her fingerprints are found on a gun used in a triple murder, her secrets and tons of rumors about her are made public. Everyone from the media to the police to random people on the street think they know Salander, yet her real identity is masked by bogus social welfare reports, nasty rumors, and deceptive psychiatric reports.

Questions About Identity

  1. Does Salander's sense of self change over the course of the novel, or does she remain basically the same? If she changes, in what ways does she change?
  2. How does Salander's past factor into her present identity?
  3. Why does Salander believe that nobody could even like her, much less love her?
  4. How is Salander's identity construed by the media? Why do the stories and rumor about her spin out of control?