The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Literary Elements

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Literary Elements


Horror novel

Setting and Context

Forest in the northern New England, the 21st century

Narrator and Point of View

The author uses the third-person narration, but describes the protagonist’s feelings, thoughts and impressions, as if she is the narrator of the story.

Tone and Mood

The beginning of the novel is neutral, but its mood becomes more and more horrid and ghastly during its plot.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist of the story is Trisha and the antagonist is actually her as well, but her second essence, the “bad” one.

Major Conflict

The main conflict develops between Trisha, her rationality and her imaginary world. She “torns” between her tryings to survive in the forest and her fears, delusions.


The culmination of the story takes place when Trisha turns off the path, where she was going with her mother and brother. Before that moment her life was common and measured. But after she has got lost, she changes: her reality gradually is being substituted by her fantasies. And only at the end of the story, when she has been found, she comes back to the reality.


There are two aspects of the author’s foreshadowing in the text. The first one is more materialistic – the author calls the parents to treat their children in proper way, carefully, to give them enough attention. And the other aspect is that we must struggle with our fears, must not give up. The author shows that no matter how old a person may be, he/she can manage everything, if he/she has enough willpower and braveness to go to the very end in any problem, difficult situation.


The author uses this method once, at the end of the story, when he describes the last Trisha’s meeting with the bear (or beast, as she saw it). The author writes that she wasn’t afraid of it, that she was ear to fight with it and to win. Of course, a 9-year-old girl couldn’t be calm while standing in front of a bear, but the author wants to highlight here the girl’s inner power and braveness in such way.


The author does not often allude to something, but there are some places in the text where he uses this method, such as when Larry talks about his ex-wife, he talks that “If Quilla had been at Little Big Horn [a battle between the Indians and Americans, which the first ones won], the Indians would have lost.” (here he alludes to the battle between the Indians and Americans in the 19th century) or he directly alludes to the popular baseball player Tom Gordon, who really existed, but the author pictures him in his own manner.


Vividly used to describe Trisha’s wanderings, and all the tirrible fantasies she endured in the forest




This method is used when the author describes the course of events in the plot. One line is about Trisha’s wandering and the other one is about her relatives and other people who search for her. Thus the author “ties” Trisha to the world of reality, of people.

Metonymy and Synecdoche



The author sometimes uses this method in order to strengthen the reader’s perception of Trisha’s hallucinations. For example, he changes the bear into The God of Lost, a man in black, in Trisha’s eyes, or a branch into a snake.

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