The Talented Mr. Ripley

What drives Tom Ripley's campaign to change his life? 11th Grade

The Talented Mr Ripley, written by Patricia Highsmith in 1955 is a psychological thriller that follows Tom Ripley, an antihero who is given an opportunity to change his life, In the novel, Highsmith clearly accentuates one of the main motivators of Ripley, as the chase for money, possessions and items of materialistic values that he didn’t receive when chasing the “American dream.” She also subtly pulls out subconscious feelings including his innate desire to be someone else and a member of a superior class, hinting at his own insecurity. Furthermore, Highsmith shows us that Tom Ripley is driven by emotion just as much as materialism, emphasizing his desire to be loved and his tragic past. Overall, Highsmith shows the readers three main drivers of Ripley’s campaign to change his life; His value of materialistic objects, his subconscious value of a higher class, and his emotional value and vulnerability.

Perhaps the clearest driver of Tom Ripley throughout his campaign, is that of his chase for Materialistic objects, that he believes are the markers of a good life. As an American, he glimpses the realization of the "American Dream"—financial success and happiness—derived from the erasure of an old identity and construction of a...

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