The Theme of Parenting in Gone Girl

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‘Gone Girl’ is a psychological book narrated by Gillian Flynn that tells the tales of a marriage that went wrong and a sociopath who was ready to do anything to get revenge. The principle suspense comes from the tremendous uncertainty in regards to the main character Nick Dunne’s involvement with his wife’s disappearance (Fincher, 2015). Flynn analyzes the psychology and dynamics of a long-term relationship to formulate a dramatic and twisting plot. ‘Gone Girl’ has a strong female character called Amy that applies a multitude of different ideas and has a non-linear structure. Reflecting the domestic noir genre, the author takes it a little further by integrating several plot twists that supersede the expectations of the reader. One of the most subverted expectations is the ability of the reader to trust the narrator (Fincher, 2015). The novel involves the alternating of chapters whereby Nick the husband narrates his wife, Amy tells off stories about his husband. An atmosphere of confusion comes up in regards to who is telling the truth because both Nick and Amy tell their different sides of the story.

Both characters have unreliability’s that force the reader to continually analyze and evaluate the details of both Amy present and Nick. The reader must also make a comparison of the story’s version with another story to find out who the protagonist is, and whether he is a bad guy, good guy, or an antagonist (Fincher, 2015). Therefore, if both narrators appear as bad guys, then who could be the good guys? The novel also takes us directly to the disappearance of Army Dunne on the Fifth wedding anniversary. Nick was later investigated by the police which then turned into a murder investigation. Nick’s inappropriate and odd behavior eventually makes him to be scrutinized by the police, his friends, and his family.

The series of the story twists their marriage and courtship unfolds through Nick’s reminiscences and Amy’s diary. For instance, when Nick and Amy met at a party as they were still living in New York, they were both writers. They fell in love, and after two years, they get married. When they lost their jobs, things started falling apart. Moreover, they were also forced to move back to Carthage their hometown after Nick’s mother got sick with terminal cancer (Fincher, 2015). This is where their marriage started to deteriorate. While Nick was part-time working in college as a professor, he started dating a 23-year-old student. The twist of this story is that Nick does not realize that Amy knows about the date that made her later plot the disappearance of the student and framed Nick as the murderer. Despite the fact that Nick is not innocent, he also engages himself in Amy’s mind-games (Fincher, 2015). As follows, Amy’s clues that was laid down like their traditional anniversary, Nick then gets the whole truth about Amy’s plots.

When the television interviewed them, Nick was trying to convince Amy how he was repentant and how she was good to win their marital power play. After that Amy appeared to have framed Nick by kidnapping the student and killed her to escape. Both Amy and Nick complete their stories to maintain their innocence. For instance, Nick portrays Amy as killer sociopath while Amy expresses herself as a victim of the selfish, unfaithful husband and an obsessed ex-boyfriend. Nick was also dumbfounded when he was informed about Amy’s pregnancy because he later agrees to save his marriage by destroying his tell-all-memoir to keep his son away from Amy (Fincher, 2015). The story also shows how Amy tries to publish her own version when she realizes that Nick is entirely under her power. She hoped to become the best seller.

The theme of Parenting

Both Nick and Amy have been changed with the traumatization their parents had when they were growing up. For instance, the Father of Nick an embittered misogynist who was always angry that made Nick fear developing a nature like his. On the other hand, while Marybeth and Nick were supportive and loving, Amy saw herself not to be good enough. This made her to demand things from herself and around her ruthlessly (Hacht, 2013). At the end of the book, parenting cast the shadow when Nick discovered how parenting could be destructive. He did this by being determined to live with Amy to control their child, but as a result, his marriage was trapped.

The Theme of Dishonesty

The entire novel has characters that lie to each other and even to the reader. For instance, one way Amy showed how dishonest she was is her disappearance because it involved a lot of lies. Nick on the other hand also lies about other people and Amy to reveal his secrets like his love affairs. This theme is disturbing and striking because, in normal circumstances, marriage is based on intimacy and trust, but the relationship between Amy and Nick involves constants lies (Oates, 2013).

The theme of manipulation

Throughout the novel, not only does Amy lie but also made predictions on people’s influences and behaviors control their characters. As much as Amy was evil, she was also brilliant because she made good use of her psychology knowledge to manipulate people through her charisma and beauty because people believed she was a good person. Ironically, even Nick realizes the actions of his wife did but still became furious with her by manipulating her by her statements to get her back to his life (Hacht, 2013).

The theme of marriage

The ‘gone girl,’ there are a lot of marriage dysfunction, particularly in Amy and Nick. For instance, according to what was written in Amy’s diary, readers saw that their relationship was happy but was only deteriorated by external stress. However, the revelation from the diary was fake because Amy, in reality, showed how dissatisfied and manipulated she was in her marriage. It is also clear that Nick and Amy do not show any sign that they know each other or have any idea about marriage because there are never settled. In the end, there is a dark version of they are actually made for each other because they had a perverse pleasure of being together (Oates, 2013).

The theme of a Troubled Economy

The novel is greatly influenced by economic problems mostly reflected in almost every character. For instance, Amy’s and Nick’s marriage changed when they first lost their jobs and when Nick’s mother was diagnosed with cancer which made them move to Missouri. Margo is also seen to struggle financially when the economy declined which created a lot of stress (Oates, 2013).


The novel Gone Girl is a psychological thriller by Gillian Flynn that involves the alternating of chapters whereby Nick and Amy’s marriage ends up breaking. The story portrays the two characters are involved in murder cases but end up blaming each other. The book also has intriguing themes that demonstrate how different the characters behave based on the situations that face them. In all themes, the primary characters Amy and Nick are involved, and it ends up affecting their marriage.


Fincher, D. (2015). Gone Girl. Place of publication not identified: 20th Century Fox Home Ent.

Hacht, A. M. (2013). Literary themes for students: examining several literatures to understand and compare universal themes in 'Gone Girl. Detroit: Thomson Gale.

Oates, J. C. (2013). Gone Girl; four novellas of love gone wrong. New York: The Mysterious Press.

November 24, 2023



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