Study Guide

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Justice and Judgment

By Stieg Larsson

Justice and Judgment

"You can absolutely rely on me as long as you don't reveal that you're engaged in any sort of criminal activity." (5.22)

Part of why Armansky is so successful at the private security business is his absolute dedication to the law. This dedication also causes him to clash with Salander, who works for him, since she often works around the law.

If Armansky's account is true, Lisbeth Salander had at very least been deprived of the opportunity to exercise her constitutionally protected rights and liberties. (12.30)

In this passage we are seeing into the mind of Torsten Edklinth of the Constitutional Protection Unit of the Security Police. He's about to become a crucial part of Team Salander. It looks like at least some part of the Security Police isn't totally evil.

"If you leak that report, you'll not only be fired but you'll be guilty of gross misconduct." (11.210)

Bublanski is trying to convince his partner Modig that she shouldn't risk her career to expose the truth of Salander's victimization. She is not convinced, and does risk her job by meeting privately with Blomkvist.

My name is Lisbeth Salander. I was born April 30, 1978. My mother was Agneta Sofia Salander. She was twenty-two when I was born. My father was a psychopath, killer, and batterer whose name is Alexander Zalachenko. (15.10)

These are the first lines of Salander's autobiographical statement. It becomes evidence used to help her win freedom and justice and to discredit false claims against her. What inspires the extremely private Salander to expose so many details about her personal life?

"In that case we have to see to it that she is given redress for these wrongs, and above all that she is not subjected to new injustices." […] "No, […]. As prime minister, you may not influence the judicial process in any way." (15.251; 254)

When Edklinth and Blomkvist present Salander's case to the prime minister, he really wants to become part of Team Salander. But, as Edklinth points out, this won't be in the interest of justice.

She knew. He had never touched her, but she had always known.

She should have dealt with Teleborian years ago. But she had repressed the memory of him. She had chosen to ignore his existence. (16.70-71)

Finding out that Teleborian is a sexual predator whose main victims are children, convinces makes Salander fight that much harder for justice. Now taking Teleborian down isn't simply about personal revenge.

"I couldn't prevent s***. As a policewoman I invariably arrived on the scene after a crime had been committed." (18.343)

Suzanne Linder likes working for Milton Security because she can actually prevent crimes from happening. It strikes us a little sad that good cops like Linder end up leaving the police force.

She forgave nothing. (19.10)

Don't get any ideas that Salander is any less full of vengeance than in previous books. Just because she's using the legal system this time doesn't mean that she has fundamentally changed.

"Peter Teleborian, you are under arrest for violation of the child pornography laws." (27.434)

This is definitely a point for justice. Hopefully Teleborian won't be allowed to hurt any more kids.

That evening the Judge Iverson decided to release Salander and to revoke her declaration of incompetence. (28.64)

Another point for justice! Finally, Salander is recognized as the perfectly sane adult woman she is.

Suddenly the nail gun felt too heavy for her to hold against his spine, even with both hands. (Epilogue.207)

Salander decides not to kill her brother, but to leave him in the hands of official justice. Why does she do this? Does she make the right decision? Do you think she would have made this same decision back in Dragon Tattoo?

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