The Talented Mr. Ripley

Manifestations of Love and Longing in the World of Tom Ripley. College

In the book The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, we are introduced to one of the most fascinating and puzzling characters in modern literature; Tom Ripley. Tom Ripley is a character who is both contradictory and simple in his desires. He wants the approval and love from a relationship with Dickie, but we question whether he would be able to feel and return these same feelings. He is always on the move, always chasing something better – a desire which is often mirrored through his travels and his constant craving to visit the mythical cities of old – and culminates with his aspiration to reach the heroic Greek Islands. A careful reader, perhaps, can uncover how Tom Ripley’s sense of longing and love for a lifestyle ordinarily out of his reach, drives the entirety of the novel.

We see the roots of Ripley’s longing for a new life, fresh beginnings, and material possessions manifest themselves in the very first chapter. When discussing Dickie’s age with Mr. Greenleaf, we get to delve into the inner workings of Ripley’s mind. Ripley seems to despise his status, and where he is at in life, as seen when he lists some of his unfortunate – and downright disturbing - circumstances when comparing himself to Dickie; “living from...

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