Study Guide

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Justice and Judgment

By Stieg Larsson

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Justice and Judgment

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo celebrates unofficial agents of justice and finds official justice wanting. Blomkvist is almost official. He works with official bodies, not against them, though he's the first guy to take down a corrupt official or person in power. But official systems have failed Salander miserably, and she sees such systems as contributing to the overall evil in the world – they can't be trusted with matters of justice, in her book. Now, whether or not we agree with her methods or her assessment is another story. She is clearly fighting people who victimize others, particularly women. And she is, for the most part, a good judge of character. But it's up to you, the reader, to be the ultimate judge of right and wrong in this story. Tattoo is also very concerned with how Salander in particular is judged and misjudged by the social welfare system, and by most of the people who meet her. In general, this novel tries to shake up our thinking on issues of justice and judgment.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. Is Salander a just avenger?
  2. How does Blomkvist's first impression of Salander differ from Armansky's?
  3. Salander refuses to submit to psychological tests. How valid are assessments of her mental health without completed tests? What other factor are used to analyze her condition?
  4. Does Salander judge herself too harshly? Not harshly enough?
  5. How does Blomkvist feel about covering up Martin's crimes? Does it serve justice?
  6. Is Blomkvist a good judge of character?
  7. What are some factors contributing to Martin's ability to fool everybody about his character?

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