Study Guide

Bill Dunne in Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

Bill Dunne

If there's any good in Nick, it comes from Go and his mom. If there's anything bad, nasty, or unrespectable about him—and you know there is—it comes from his dad. After a childhood filled with emotional and mental abuse, it's not surprising that Nick is relatively stoic as his dad deteriorates from Alzheimer's. He never even speaks his name, a clear indication that he wishes he could just erase his father's negative influence on their family. In fact, the only way we even know his name is through Amy's diary entries.

The thing that's really hard to understand about Bill is that even though he hates women, he still got married. "I don't think my father's issue was with my mother in particular," Nick explains. "He just didn't like women. He thought they were stupid, inconsequential, irritating" (9.28). Lucky Maureen, right? Not so much.

Nick's dad's misogyny extends to all women, upon whom he bestows the title of "dumb b****" (9.28) regardless of their intelligence or capabilities. The sad thing is that this includes his wife and daughter. "I doubt that my sister will ever marry," Nick says. "If she's sad or upset, she needs to be alone—she fears a man dismissing her womanly tears" (9.32). Go's not the only one afraid of crying because of Bill Dunne—Nick is too.

Nick's father has a bizarre ability to accurately comment on situations, even though he's unaware he's doing as much. In Amy's account of her housewarming party, Bill forgets who she is and repeatedly mutters, "'She doesn't belong here'" (16.35)—which is unwittingly spot-on since Amy really doesn't feel like she belongs in Missouri.

And later, when Bill escapes to Nick's house after Nick discovers Amy's framing him, he berates Amy and says "'It's not over […] She doesn't get to have a say'" (49.57). The accuracy with which he describes their situation leaves Nick totally stunned.

Want to know more about how Bill's character impacts Nick? Head on over to Nick's character analysis and check it out.