Analysis of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Topics: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gender role, Gender Pages: 7 (2705 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Megan Buxton
Professor Stockton
Communications 297
11 May 2012
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
In Stieg Larsson's novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, his first novel in the Millennium series, and a number one national best seller, danger and suspense lurk around every corner as Larsson portrays a dark and mysterious crime thriller that differs from most. Mikael Blomkvist, a recently discredited journalist, is enlisted to the aid of Henrik Vanger, an influential business mogul, to find his long missing niece. Through the investigation Blomkvist works with the enigmatic Lisbeth Salander, ward of the state and expert computer hacker with a damaged past, present, and future, to uncover the truth. While the main plot of Larsson's first installment is the mystery surrounding Vanger's family, his novel and series has a bigger message to it. Stieg Larsson's character perceptions challenge traditional Western gender roles and shatter the disillusionment of a traditional female heroine. Larsson's unique novel shows a twisted look into the world of sexual abuse and molestation towards women on the streets of Sweden, and emphasizes on the role of women in his work. The separate cinematic adaptations, the original Swedish version directed by Swedish Niels Arden Oplev and the American version directed by David Fincher, stays true to Larsson's illustration of Lisbeth Salander while highlighting the struggles of female abuse. Traditional Western cinema has cast gorgeous, stunning women to play their damsel in distress or leading romantic interest. Many women in cinema are merely eye candy for the viewers. When we think of a traditional femme fatale the likes of Ursula Andress or Sophie Marceau come to mind. This is not the case in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009). Lisbeth Salander is different by many standards as a traditional female heroine. In the novel she is described quite unlike most females: Armansky's star researcher was a pale, anorexic young woman who had hair as short as a fuse and a pierced nose and eyebrows.....she looked as though she had just emerged from a week-long orgy with a gang of hard rockers.....she had simply been born thin, with slender bones that made her look girlish...she was twenty four, but she sometimes looked fourteen. ( Larsson 41) Hardly what we would imagine as the main protagonist, especially in Western society and in box office smashes. Salander's personality is also not what is traditional of a female heroine. She is extremely introverted, described as anti-social and because of her status as ward of the state, is assumed to just be mentally handicapped. Despite these abnormalities Lisbeth becomes the object of allure and sexual lust several times throughout the series. Lisbeth's enigmatic persona is one of the primary factors of her allure. Her independent attitude and asocial behavior is very foreign to Western views of females as gregarious bimbos. Her foreign nature is analyzed by her boss in the novel as he muses over her attraction, “It was not a sexual attraction, at least he didn't think so....Salander was a foreign creature to him. He might as well have fallen in love with a Greek amphora”(Larsson 46). Lisbeth has an image of natural, pure beauty within this damaged shell. If she's not stunningly beautiful she is almost a revert back to original beauty. In reality, Lisbeth is a product of the society the objectified her and abused her mentally and physically. The first encounter of Lisbeth's allure is during a meeting with her legal guardian through the State. Her guardian, a clear representation of male chauvinism, forces her into performing oral sex in order to be allowed more of her own money. Oplev's adaptation of the scene is very vivid as it offers no mistake into what Lisbeth is being forced to do. In a later scene Lisbeth is brutally raped and molested by the same man. The graphic blunt impact of the scenes are also not common in many Western movies in its...

Cited: Devereaux, Mary. "Oppressive Texts, Resisting Readers And The Gendered Spectator: The New Aesthetics." Journal Of Aesthetics & Art Criticism 48.4 (1990): 337-347. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 May 2012.
Larsson, Stieg. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. New York: Vintage Books, 2008. Print.
Stenport, Anna Westerståhl, and Cecilia Ovesdotter Alm. "Corporations, Crime, And Gender Construction In Stieg Larsson 's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." Scandinavian Studies 81.2 (2009): 157-178. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 May 2012.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Dir. Neils Arden Oplev. Perf. Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Ewa Froling. Yellow Bird, 2009. DVD.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Dir. David Fincher. Perf. Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer. Columbia Pictures, 2009. DVD.
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