The Danish Girl Literary Elements

The Danish Girl Literary Elements



Setting and Context

Copenhagen around the 1930s

Narrator and Point of View

Third Person Narrator with Limited Point of View

Tone and Mood

The tone is that of a sort of “coming of age” novel, in the sense that something changes in Einar when Lili is brought out. The tone and mood change in a cyclical manner, from excitement to desperate, back to hopeful, for instance.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Lili and Greta

Major Conflict

Einar Wegener discovers his true identity as Lili and begins his journey towards transition.


Lili finally finds a doctor who will perform the gender reassignment surgery.


There are flashbacks to Einar’s childhood, revealing he had always liked dressing in women’s clothes.


Many of the doctors in the novel believe Einar to be simply insane and believe they can fix him with pseudo-scientific methods.




When Lili begins to reject her male body, the descriptions of female bodies become more ethereal and angelic while the male body is described as “shrivelled” with “goose-pimpled thighs”.


When Einar visits a peep show, it isn’t to sexually gratify himself, but to learn how to move like a woman.


Lili thought of herself a "formerly a male rat", because she sees herself as continuously running in place like a rat with it's wheel.

Metonymy and Synecdoche




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