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Written by Claire Cornwall
Hatred Of Women
This novel was originally called "Men Who Hate Women" and consequently this is the main theme throughout. The theme is seen from both sides - the majority of the male characters range from mild mysogeny running the gamut throgh to osychopathic hatred. The principle female character, Lisbeth Salander, is the embodiment of a victim of abuse, from childhood through to her young adulthood. Even her appearance illustrates this abuse as her piercing a and tattoos serve as a wall that she has constructed out of self protection.
As well as the obvious hatred of women causing the principle event in the novel, the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, there are page by page reminders of a multitude of more insidious incidents that are not as obvious and excessive as sadistic murder, but are nonetheless anti-women. Swedish society is also painted as colluding with this hatred, the prime example of this being the gross betrayal of trust and position by Lisbeth's case worker who threatens her with mandatory incarceration at a mental facility if she refuses to let him do whatever he wants to her.
This theme is clearly a pre-occupation of the author and as a theme ties characters, past and present events together in a chilling family history.
The Vanger family are all extremely anti-Semitic and this stems from the family patriarch who has instilled a contempt for and hatred of Jewish people and their faith throughout his family. The theme is woven seamlessly through the fabric of the novel in the same way it is woven through the fabric of the Vanger family who are portrayed as being relatively cavalier in their hatred assuming it to be a normal opinion shared by everyone rather than a family bigotry. The theme is also part of n illustration that shows where there is extreme hatred of one group of people there is very likely to be hatred of another.
Extremist Views In Swedish Society
Swedish society is viewed by those outside the nation as a liberal society that is extremely accepting but the theme throughout the novel of Swedish extremism shows a multitude of examples of a nation that turns the other way and chooses not to see anti-women or anti-any group actions. Mikael Blomkvist frequently derides Sweden as a place with state-sponsored hatred of women and the theme of Swedish far-right extremism is present throughout the book, but especially when dealing with Blomkvist's career as a journalist.
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