Study Guide

Teddy Cross in The Danish Girl

By David Ebershoff

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Teddy Cross

Couldn't Bear It

We only see Teddy through flashback, but he provides us with greater understand of Greta and her motivations. How's this for an SAT analogy: Teddy is to Greta what Henrik is to Lili—a person she loves whom she never thought she would meet. However, Lili thinks that no one would love her, whereas Greta thinks she's not capable of loving that many people.

Teddy also illustrates Greta's need for love that is subversive in some way. She loves Einar/Lili because they are against the norm, and one reason she loves Teddy is because he is lower class. It's scandalous for her to be with Teddy—her mother hates him—and this appeals to her.

Teddy dies because he won't see a doctor, but Greta believes it's her fault for not pushing him hard enough. She should have taken immediate action when she heard his "ominous cough" (8.48). Remember Shmoopers: in any story set before 1950, if someone coughs, they'll be dead before the end.

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