Study Guide

The Danish Girl Appearances

By David Ebershoff

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Mona Lisa? More like Mona Leo. There is a popular theory that the subject of the Mona Lisa isn't a woman, but the artist himself. If so, he did a good job making himself appear female in the famous painting. Art—and makeup—can help a person achieve any look they want. We certainly doubt that anyone who saw Greta's paintings of Lili thought she was painting a man, and plenty of people believe Lili is a cisgendered female in person. While making the transition from Einar to Lili, Einar starts on the outside and work his way in.

Questions About Appearances

  1. What does Einar do to make himself look more female?
  2. Why is it important for Einar to wear feminine clothes? When does he start feeling uncomfortable in male clothes, and why?
  3. Henrik says he "knows" about Lili, insinuating that he knows she is biologically male. How does he know? How does he see through her exterior?

Chew on This

As an artist, Einar is accustomed to making his audience see what he wants them to see. He is able to do the same thing with his own body when he presents himself as Lili.

Before having surgery, Lili is still able to pass as female because Einar has a very feminine body.

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