Study Guide

Stardust Freedom and Confinement

By Neil Gaiman

Freedom and Confinement

There are a lot of unbreakable magic silver chains to be seen in Stardust, so it makes sense that confinement—and it's close buddy, freedom—is a major theme. It seems like most characters want something to do with one or the other of this coin. The nameless slave/Lady Una wants to be free from her servitude to Madame Semele, just as the star wants to be free from Tristran's hold on her (at first via the silver chain, and then the life-debt she owes him).

In a more general sense, Victoria can't wait to be free from the promise she made to Tristran to give him his heart's desire should he bring back the star, and the Lilim wish to be free from the burden of old age. How people go about getting their freedom, though, well, that's another issue entirely. Some are ethical about it, and others not so much. Faerie is just full of varied wonders, ain't it?

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. What are some similarities and differences between Yvaine's and Lady Una's confinements?
  2. Why does Victoria intend to keep her promise to Tristran even though it keeps her from marrying Mr. Monday?
  3. Do you think Madame Semele purposefully set impossible-sounding conditions to keep Lady Una in chains?
  4. Which characters are willing to kill to attain freedom (from confinement, old age, or whatever)?

Chew on This

Of everyone who's been enslaved or captured in the book, Lady Una has it worst.

If Tristran had known that by slipping the chain over Yvaine's wrist he was basically enslaving her, he wouldn't have done it.