Study Guide

Gone Girl Manipulation

By Gillian Flynn


Gone Girl is a story about puppet shows. Not just literally, as in the sicko Punch and Judy puppets Amy gets Nick for their anniversary, but metaphorically. A majority of the characters have ulterior motives and are trying to use each other to serve their own selfish ends, though of course Amy takes the cake when it comes to disingenuousness. At one point or another, nearly every character in this book plays a role in Puppet Master Amy's Show of Horrors—because while pretty much everyone in this book is manipulative, no one can make other people dance for them quite like Amy.

Questions About Manipulation

  1. Why is Amy so bent on controlling people? What reasons does she give? What unspoken reasons for her manipulative behavior might there be?
  2. How does Nick and Amy's knowledge of each other contribute to their abilities to fight for control in their marriage?
  3. Nick and Amy aren't the only characters who manipulate people in Gone Girl. Think of a minor character who tries to gain control or leverage over another person. What does this character's story add to the book's theme of manipulation?
  4. Which part of Amy's manipulative behavior do you find most bizarre? Why?

Chew on This

Nick and Amy attempt to manipulate us as readers as well as each other.

Amy's plot to frame Nick is less about getting revenge on her husband for cheating and more about exercising her anger toward her family.

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