Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You Literary Elements



Setting and Context

In the 1970s, the Lee family lives in the fictional suburban town of Middlewood, Ohio.

Narrator and Point of View

The events are narrated from a third-person omniscient point of view.

Tone and Mood

The tone of the novel is melancholy. The mood of the novel is reflective and explorative.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Though Lydia is the character around which the plot revolves, there is no clear protagonist as the narrative tracks the lives of many members of the Lee family in detail. The Lee family itself, perhaps, is the protagonist, while the society they struggle to find a place in could be seen as the antagonist.

Major Conflict

Lydia has gone missing in her suburban Ohio town. It is later discovered that she has drowned. As the police investigate the cause of her death, the reader explores the different internal conflicts that torment each family member.


The story reaches its climax when Marilyn discovers James's affair.


When Nath pushes Lydia into the lake when they are both children, he realizes that she could very easily sink to the bottom if he does not save her.


Marilyn views the town lake as merely a pond. This is, however, an understatement, as the narrator points out that the lake is both deep and ominous.



The murky darkness of the lake is an example of visual imagery in the novel. In addition, Marilyn's sliced hand is another example of visual imagery.



As James is deeply involved in his affair with Louisa, Lydia seeks to lose her virginity to Jack. This symbolizes how James and Lydia both desire to discover and rebel against their identities through pursuing a taboo relationship.

Metonymy and Synecdoche


"It was as if America herself was taking him in. It was too much luck. He feared the day the universe would notice he wasn't supposed to have her and take her away."