Men Who Hate Women
Violence against women is a central part of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Larsson uses Lisbeth Salander and Harriet Vanger to demonstrate the failure of the Swedish government to protect women from such violent crimes. The sex and violence in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is portrayed in such a shocking manner that is intriguingly entertaining to readers and makes the book more fulfilling to the reader by challenging their own ideas about sexual violence and how the government handles it. The violence in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is abounding. While it isn’t the central focus of the novel, it is certainly a main point Larsson wants us to walk away with. The mystery of the novel involves Harriet Vanger’s disappearance but it is quickly discovered by Blomkvist, a reporter, and Salander that Harriet’s disappearance involves violence and it doesn’t stop with her. Gottfried, her father, and Martin Vanger, her brother, are serial killers, who enjoy torturing and sexually assaulting women together. Gottfried also assaults his daughter, Harriet. After his death, Martin takes over and Harriet decides running away is her only escape from the abuse. Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant and yet socially inept hacker who is working with Blomkvist to solve the mystery of Harriet’s disappearance, is also the subject of much violence. When her guardian has a stroke, another guardian takes over and assaults Lisbeth first by forcing her to perform oral sex and then later brutally raping her. Larsson seems to believe that the Swedish government has failed to protect women against these violent crimes. Neither of the women who are subject to the repeated abuse turns to the authorities in the novel, each for their own reason. Harriet chooses to flee and Lisbeth chooses to get revenge. After Lisbeth’s rape, Larsson gives us a peek inside her head about why she chose not to report. He writes, “If Lisbeth Salander had been an ordinary citizen,...
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