The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel. Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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PROLOGUE: A FRIDAY IN NOVEMBER
A "prologue" is a separate introductory section of a literary work that is meant to give the reader context and background knowledge.
Based on the mention of "Stockholm," we can tell that this story takes place in
Authors often introduce the reader to the characters and setting at the beginning of a book. Notice who you meet and where they are.
Did you know that you can look up any word in the book or in the questions and answer choices? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Use this feature to look up the word "blustery."
The chemistry and dynamic between Borg and Blomkvist shows that they have
This anecdote shows that Blomkvist has a unique life filled with unique experiences. What do you learn about him from this anecdote?
Based on the way he is described, we learn that Lindberg is
This part of the story has a mysterious mood. Watch this video to learn how to identify mood in fiction and notice other moods as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
In financial terms, "cash-flow" is the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business. Use the define feature to look up financial terms as you come across them in the text. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this description reveal about Salander's skill set?
This book discusses violence against women through the lives of the characters. peruse the mission page of this website to understand the purpose of a women's crisis centre. (This annotation contains a link)
Why do you think Salander is confronting her boss about his feelings toward her?
This story has parallel plots occurring that toggles backs and forth between Salander and Blomkvist. Watch this video to better understand this literary device. (This annotation contains a video)
Why was Blomkvist set up?
Good readers figure out characters by noticing what they say, think, do and how others react to them. Based on these lines, what are we to infer about Blomkvist's view of women?
Based on this conversation between Berger and Blomkvist, they are on a quest to
Watch this video on point of view and consider how Erika and Blomkvist view each other. What makes their relationship unique? (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the way Berger and Blomkvist interact, how do they view each other?
Salander is a troubled young woman who spent much of her youth in and out of community outreach and welfare programs. Thus far, Salander has not shown tenderness to anyone in her life. Why might she show "tenderness" toward her mother even though she had a troubled childhood?
Based on this response, Blomkvist believes Frode may have hidden intentions behind the assignment and therefore sees Frode as
Blomkvist feels "a chill" while conversing with Vanger because Vanger knew him in his childhood. This detail is meant to suggest that Vanger has hired Blomkvist for a special reason which, at this point in the text, is unknown.
What has Vanger hired Blomkvist to do for the year?
The author includes these anecdotes about Vanger's life to give the reader context. Context allows the reader to have a full understanding of a character's life and motives. Based on the stories Vanger tells, notice what you learn about him.
Given the context, "cuttings" most likely means
Corpus Delicti is a term used in a legal court which refers to a crime that has the absence of a body. It is extremely rare to investigate a crime or convict someone of murder without a body. This explains why the disappearance of Harriet has not been founded. (This annotation contains an image)
The author infuses crime into this story to introduce _______ aspects to the novel in order to inform the reader.
At the head of each chapter, the author gives context to situate the reader into the setting. This move is called exposition. Blomkvist is in Harriet's hometown, noticing where she lived and what is in the environment. This may help him solve her disappearance. (This annotation contains an image)
What other motivation does Vanger have for wanting to find Harriet's killer?
Did you notice how each chapter toggles back and forth between the two protagonists? This is another example of parallel plot.
Knowing Blomkvist, what is the main reason he is taking this assignment?
Kronor is the name for Swedish money. This is what it looks like. (This annotation contains an image)
The author most likely italicized this line to show the reader
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 34.6 percent of female murder victims are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. It is likely that this fact about Gunner is being revealed because there is a suspicion that he may have killed Harriet.
Based on the text, in addition to figuring out why Harriet disappeared, Vanger wants Blomkvist to
This story discusses concepts about women's issues such as domestic violence and feminism. Watch this video to learn the basic concepts of feminism then think about why Blomkvist is referencing it. (This annotation contains a video)
The author most likely includes the pedigree chart in the beginning of this novel to
Hedeby Island is a real place and was an important trading settlement. It was the second largest Nordic city during the Viking Age. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the phrase "years of torment" refer to?
Based on the fact that Salander gives different responses to the inquires about her welfare, we can logically infer that she is emotionally unstable and has ups and downs. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Palmgren no longer Salander's social worker?
According to this sentence, Blomkvist seems to have changed his main motivation for working with Vanger. Watch this video about static and dynamic characters and figure out which type of character Blomkvist is. (This annotation contains a video)
Remember, you can use the define feature to look up unfamiliar words. Use the define feature to look up "theoretically."
The author includes this detail about the Vanger family being "dysfunctional" to
This anecdote is included in order to infuse European history into the text. Vanger is describing the state of Europe during World War II when Hitler rose to power. (This annotation contains an image)
The chapter titles are always dates, and their purpose is to show
Why does Cecilia want this conversation to be "off the record"? This dialogue raises suspicion. She might be hiding something.
Based on the text, which conclusion has Blomkvist drawn about Harriet's disappearance?
Rebecka's murder is most likely brought up because Vanger suspects there are similarities between her and Harriet.
Based on the questions Salander's new social worker is asking her, she most likely views him as
What news does Blomkvist learn that makes him feel shocked?
By using the word "uncommunicative," the author is showing that Harriet was withdrawn from her life and was in turmoil about something unknown. What do you suspect was bothering her?
What do these lines reveal about Salander's personality?
This interaction with Cecilia solidifies the fact that Blomkvist is
There is strong language in this novel, and much of it reveals something intimate about the characters. Why do you think Bjurman feels this way about Salander? He is her social worker, so isn't he supposed to be caring toward her? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Salander want to punish Bjurman?
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, and it's geography consists of fourteen islands. (This annotation contains an image)
Which line from the text best shows that Salander was a troubled teen?
Watch this video then think about what makes Salander a protagonist and Bjurman an antagonist. (This annotation contains a video)
Hydrocyanic acid is an extremely poisonous liquid compound that boils slightly above room temperature. Salander is really out to get her revenge. (This annotation contains an image)
By opening his door with his bathrobe, what is Bjurman revealing about his intentions?
One in four girls have been sexually abused by the time they reach eighteen years of age. What damage do you think this attack will have on an already fragile Salander? (This annotation contains an image)
The author leaves this as a cliff hanger to
This graphic language shows the reader just how traumatized and damaged Salander feels about her attack. However, she is also pursuing revenge which some may see as empowering.
What does Salander do to Bjurman's body?
Even though they have a strange relationship, Berger continually shows support for Blomkvist. She always has his back.
The phrase "skeleton in their cupboards" most likely means
This is suspenseful. What do you think Blomkvist will find out about Vanger's relationship to Wennerstrom at the end of the year?
Cecilia has become an integral part of Blomkvist's investigation into the family tree. What does he learn about her through this confession?
Based on this paragraph, Cecilia does not want a _______ relationship with Blomkvist because she loves him.
A seismograph is an instrument that measures and records details of earthquakes, such as force and duration. Why is Blomkvist comparing this device to Vanger? (This annotation contains an image)
Blomkvist is at the boathouse because
Blomkvist is curious about this photograph because Harriet either looks angry or frightened in it. He thinks it is a vital clue and wants to find out what she saw as this picture was being taken. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on his investigation, why do you think Blomkvist is interested in information about the photograph taken at the Children's Day parade?
You have read the majority of this suspenseful novel. Watch the movie trailer from the Swedish version of this film, and think about how it captures the mood of the story. (This annotation contains a video)
The movie trailer you watched of this novel in the last annotation captures the
What do these lines uttered by Vanger reveal about his attitude toward Blomkvist?
These names and numbers are excerpts from Harriet's date book. Blomkvist is using them as clues to understand what she was thinking around the time she disappeared. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think the author places Vanger in the hospital at this point in the story?
Blomkvist becomes weary of Frode's intentions because Frode has Salander investigate and make a background report about him. Do you think this is ethical? (This annotation contains an image)
How does Blomkvist assert his power over, Salander his counter protagonist?
The author inserts the line 'long silence" on a separate line to
Authors include specific details about a character's mannerisms to show an aspect of their personality. What do you learn about Armansky from this line?
Who do you think was inside the cottage? The murderer?
Given the context, "integrity" most likely means
What does this language, in the eyes of Blomkvist, reveal about Vanger's current state?
Based on Cecilia's reaction to Blonkvist's visit to the hospital, it is plausible to assume that she is hiding something. Why else would she be so angry about his presence?
Why do you think Blonkvist is curious about this 1950s model car?
Blomkvist believes the women, including Harriet, may have fallen victim to a serial killer; an individual who murders three or more people usually due to abnormal psychological gratification. Visit this site to learn about some of the most notorious serial killers in history. (This annotation contains a link)
Salander displays her research skills when she uses ___________ to gain entrance into the archives.
What information do you think Blomkvist will learn from examining this photograph?
What does this formal language and tone reveal about Blomkvist's intentions?
This is a cabin in Sweden. Is this how you imagine the setting based on the descriptions? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the commonalities between these murders, a central idea begins to emerge. Watch this video to learn how to identify central idea. (This annotation contains a video)
Which main topic is explored through the lives of the characters in this story?
For Christians, Biblical excerpts are meant to be a positive way to guide people through life. The fact that the killer may be using them to justify sadistic acts shows the psychological state of such a person. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read, why do you think Blomkvist and Salander suspect the pastor has something to do with Harriet's disappearance?
This is a turning point in the characters' relationship. They are about to cross a line. Do you think this decision on their part was a good idea?
What does this action reveal about Salander's personality?
Falk suffers from Alzheimers disease which could interfere with the validity of his statements. Watch this video to see why this interview may not go well. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the way the author writes Salander's speech, how does he want her to come across to readers?
The author uses italics in these lines to show what Blomkvist is thinking while he is being attacked. This is a crafty writer's move in that it builds suspense and insight for the reader. (This annotation contains an image)
Blomkvist is most likely being short and demanding with Cecilia because
A 115-decibel siren is a security device that is meant to warn someone of an intruder in their home. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Salander's reaction to Blomkvist's comment reveal about her personality?
Salander and Blomkvist do not trust Frode or the Vangers. Do you think this attitude is productive to the investigation?
A crypt is a large structure used to house multiple corpses, usually from the same family. Picture the characters in this setting as you read. (This annotation contains an image)
What is finally revealed about who Harriet is looking at in the picture at the parade?
This line shows that Blomkvist may be entering a serial killer's domain. What do you think he will find behind this door in the basement? (This annotation contains an image)
Since Blomkvist finally solves the puzzle and learns that Martin is a serial killer, this part of the story is
In this scene, the author creates high tension and suspense by having Martin torture Blomkvist. Watch this video from Paramount Pictures to get a behind the scenes look at what production looked like for this scene in the movie. Please note that there is suggestion of torture in this video created by professional actors and stunt men. (This annotation contains a video)
Which writer's move is the author using to show the reader what the characters are doing at this climactic part of the story?
Despite the torture of the main protagonist, the most important information that is revealed is that Harriet escaped Martin's attack.
Which action does the author use to bring resolution to the torture scene?
Serial killers are known to keep souvenirs as a momentum of their killings. Some famous killers have kept saliva, blood and even their victim's dog. (This annotation contains an image)
The characters are most likely debating whether or not to keep their discoveries and Martin's death private because
"Dafter than a syphilitic polecat" most likely means
Based on these assumptions, we can logically infer that Harriet fled because she feared she would be murdered by her family members.
Why is Blomkvist in London? (This annotation contains an image)
Despite carrying on a love affair with Blomkvist, Salander still has issues with
Blomkvist finally meets Harriet who is alive and well. She relocated to Australia in order to stay away from Martin. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the text, what does Harriet do in Australia?
Through Harriet's story, the author is teaching the reader about sexual abuse and violence against women. Did you know that one in four girls will be sexually abused by the time they are eighteen?
Based on this conversation, how does Salander view Harriet's choice to run away?
This imagery is a sign that the novel is nearing its end. Things are clearing out now that the investigation is complete. (This annotation contains an image)
Although his presentation sounds insulting, Blomkvist is
Toward the end of a novel, authors often create closure by resolving conflicts that arose in the story. Harriet's return to Hedestad after all these years feels satisfying and brings a sense of closure because she is now home. (This annotation contains an image)
What does bringing closure and justice to the families of the victims do for the flow of the story?
Use the define feature to learn what "asocial" means.
What new information do Salander and Blomkvist learn about Wennerstrom?
A firewall is a computer software that is meant to control the incoming and outgoing network traffic. This may hinder Salander's hacking. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Salander discover as a result of hacking into Dahlman's email account?
Blomkvist is trying to trick Dahlman in order to save Millennium. Do you think this last and final plan will work?
The author structures these pages to resemble a real email exchange in order to help the reader feel like they are directly witnessing this exchange. This structure is clever and creative.
Based on this exchange, it is plausible to assume that Blomkvist and Erika see Dahlman as a
Does Erika still have romantic feelings for Blomkvist? Notice her tone toward him as you read her emails.
Why might the phrase "balancing act" apply well to the current situation the protagonists are in?
Based on what you know about Erika, make a prediction about how she will respond to Blomkvist in this conversation. Read to find out if your assertion is correct.
Why does the author include this thought at this part of the story?
Notice how the author ends Salander's character. Even though she progressed a great deal emotionally through her relationship with Blomkvist, she is still deeply traumatized and unhealthy in her habits. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Salander doing with these bank accounts?
EPILOGUE: FINAL AUDIT THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27–TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30
Based on this line, the end of the book proves that Blomkvist
The author is bold, but classic in his moves because he kills off all of the antagonists at the end. This is a smart way to make the reader feel satisfied.
Based on this action, which word best sums up an aspect of Salander's personality?
This discovery brings deep satisfaction and closure to the story. Salander finally admits that she loves Blomkvist. This is perhaps the strongest relationship she has ever had in her life. (This annotation contains an image)
This novel ends on a bittersweet note. How did you feel when you learned that Salander never told Blomkvist how she feels?