Study Guide

Carlisle Waud in The Danish Girl

By David Ebershoff

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Carlisle Waud

Oh, Brother

Carlisle is basically Greta, but male, and along this line, he shares her traits of forgiveness and perseverance. Even though Greta accidentally injured Carlisle as a boy, giving him a permanent limp, Carlisle doesn't hold it against her. He will do anything for his sister, even though she hurts him physically, just as Greta will do anything for Einar, even if he, or Lili, hurts her emotionally.

Like Greta, Carlisle tries really hard to help Lili, though he has slightly different motivation: He reminds Lili that "It's hard on [Greta]" (17.38) because at times Lili takes Greta's help for granted. In other words, Carlisle is in it to help his sister more than to help Lili. He knows that Greta needs him in her corner because she has a tendency to put others before herself.

Because of all this, Carlisle is a good helper for Einar/Lili. He is just as determined, but not as emotionally attached to her as Greta is. He unfortunately finds some quack doctors, but he is intelligent and compassionate enough to let Einar/Lili make her own decisions.

Carlisle Waud in The Danish Girl Study Group

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