Study Guide

Gone Girl Men and Masculinity

By Gillian Flynn

Men and Masculinity

Andy Griffith and Opie. Homer and Bart Simpson. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. With father-son dynamics such a rich source of conflict, it's no wonder that they're a widely explored theme in television, literature, and film.

In Gone Girl, many of Nick's flaws, such as his people-pleasing temperament and lack of emotion, are rooted in his relationship with his abusive father—and as a result, Nick's struggle to understand who he is and what it means to be a man is a steady undercurrent in the story. As he navigates the conflict of Amy's disappearance, Nick comes to an even greater realization of how deep the wounds from his father are, and how they've shaped the way he handles relationships and challenges.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. How would you describe Amy's view of men? Do you think she likes men? Or does she see them, like so many other people she encounters, as objects to be manipulated?
  2. Compare and contrast Desi and Nick. How are they similar and different in their relationships with women, personalities, communication styles, relationships with parents, and such?
  3. Do you think Nick will be a good dad? Why or why not? What do you think the Dunne family will look like ten years from now?

Chew on This

Amy may be the person trying to bring Nick to ruin, but the real culprit behind his failures is his father.

Nick's inability to show emotion and desire to please others are just as deadly to his marriage as Amy's personality flaws.