Gone Girl

Gone Girl

by

Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl: 21. Nick Dunne, Five Days Gone (1) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Go angrily lambasts Nick for sleeping with one of his students, lamenting that he is not “one of the good guys” like she always thought he was. She points out that even their deadbeat father, Bill, didn’t go so far as to cheat on their mother, Maureen—and adds that Nick is “fucked” in terms of the investigation, as news of Andie will surely come out soon. Nick accuses Go of turning against him, pointing out that she never even liked Amy, but Go tells him he’s “insane.” Go, exhausted, sits down and tell Nick that they need to hire a lawyer before the media turns him into “the evil philandering husband.” Go gets up and goes to her room, planning to make some calls.
Go’s image of her brother is forever changed. She realizes that the man she’s been sticking up for all this time doesn’t really exist. The same shattering that occurred in Nick and Amy’s marriage is now taking place in Nick and Go’s relationship—and yet Go is determined to make sure that no one else has to have their faith in Nick shattered the way she has.
Themes
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Nick falls back asleep and dreams of Amy, her head misshapen and bloody. He knows that he needs to go home and face “the scene of the crime.” He drives back to his and Amy’s neighborhood and steps back into his house for the first time in days. The police have been everywhere, and the house smells strange. Nick greets his and Amy’s cat, Bleecker, who’s been fed by the police, and then heads upstairs, where he looks around getting lost in thought as he looks back on “the day of.” His phone rings—it is Go, telling him that the notorious and “permanently furious” cable news host Ellen Abbott is doing a segment on Amy right now.
Nick’s thoughts about Amy are getting more and more frightening—his disdain for the women all around him, both in his life and in the media, is also growing more intense. This case is getting to Nick—and exposing some of his misogynistic tendencies bit by bit.
Themes
Misogyny Theme Icon
Nick turns on the TV and watches the segment, in which Ellen reveals that Nick’s full name is “Lance Nicholas Dunne.” She interviews Shawna Kelly, and shows the “cheerful” selfie Shawna snapped during the search for Amy. Ellen Abbott devotes the segment to “obsessing over [Nick’s] lack of alibi” and indicting Nick’s character. As he watches the program, he calls Ellen and Shawna horrible names inside his head.
Nick is beset on all sides by women who question the truth of who he is and what he’s done. The constant inquiries into his personal life and his past are proving to be too much for him, and parts of himself he’d rather stay hidden are being uncovered at a rapid pace. Nick is growing angrier and angrier towards the women in his life.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Nick, needing to do something “useful,” gets in his car and drives to St. Louis to track down Desi Collings. As he approaches Desi’s neighborhood, he realizes that the man is “extremely, sickly wealthy” and lives in a mansion that must cost at least five million dollars. Desi greets Nick cordially at the door, seeming to know both who he is and why he’s here without having been told. He and Nick sit down in the living room, and begin discussing Amy. Desi admits that when he saw the story on the news for the first time, he thought only “Of course”—he knows that Amy has long had a way of “making people want her.”
Nick, overwhelmed by the negative effects of all the women swarming around him, knows he needs to do something. He seeks out contact first with Desi Collings rather than Hilary Handy, perhaps consciously or subconsciously desiring male companionship—even if it means tracking down his wife’s frightening ex-boyfriend.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
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As Desi describes his relationship with Amy—in which he basked in her attention in its early stages, and became desperate once she saw his “flaws” and lost interest—Nick feels a “rush of disgust for sharing this emotion with [an]other man.” Desi brings Nick a framed photograph of himself and Amy from high school—Nick points out how odd it is that Desi has the photograph, but Desi insists the shot was too “perfect” to toss. Desi asks if there are any leads in the case, and Nick admits that he came to question Desi because Desi stalked Amy in high school. When Nick reminds Desi that he tried to kill himself in Amy’s dorm room, Desi says he has no idea what Nick is talking about. A woman comes in from another room—it is Desi’s mother Jacqueline, who is a “blurry vision of Amy.”
Something is off about Desi—he seems to still be stoking at least a low-level obsession with Amy, and yet claims that the allegations of stalking and harassment against him are false. Even as he outright denies having violently pursued Amy, the appearance of his mother—to whom Amy bears a startling resemblance—points to the fact that if Desi isn’t guilty, he’s at least suspicious. Flynn is casting all the major players in this drama in shades of gray—even if someone’s not guilty, it doesn’t mean they’re not morally dubious at best.
Themes
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Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
As the conversation goes on, Desi admits to having written Amy letters over the years. Jacqueline praises them for sustaining the lost art of letter-writing. Nick asks why Desi would write letters to a woman who never wrote him back, and insists that Amy always threw all of Desi’s letters into the trash—Nick would see them there sometimes. Desi’s eyes light up at this information. Jacqueline politely but definitively dismisses Nick, guiding him towards the door and pressing a business card into his hands. She instructs him to call their lawyer the next time he wants to get in touch with Desi.
Once again, it becomes clear that Nick might not have all the facts about Desi. It seems as if perhaps Amy has been writing Desi back after all—but Nick can hardly process this information before Jacqueline rushes him out, unwilling to have her son implicated any further in Amy’s disappearance.
Themes
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Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon