Study Guide

The Danish Girl Perseverance

By David Ebershoff

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Hamlet, the most famous Dane, isn't exactly known for his perseverance, unless it's his stubborn determination to never come to a decision in a timely manner. The characters in The Danish Girl, however,are more decisive than Shakespeare's famous prince, and once they make a decision, they stick to it. It takes Einar a little while to decide that he wants to become Lili full-time, but it still takes him less time than Hamlet would take ordering a coffee at Starbucks. And with Greta's help, Einar/Lili won't stop until they achieve their goal.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. What drives Greta to help her husband?
  2. Who do you think is more determined in life, Einar or Lili?
  3. Why does Greta finally give up on Lili? Can Greta leaving be considered "giving up" or is she simply moving on?

Chew on This

Greta feels as if she failed her first husband, so she is extra determined to help Einar so she won't feel like a failure again. But she doesn't have the same drive with Lili.

It takes incredible determination to surgically change genders these days, but even more so in The Danish Girl because nothing like this had ever been done before.

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