Gone Girl

Gone Girl

by

Gillian Flynn

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Summary
Analysis
Nick stays up all night drinking, unable to calm himself down enough to get to sleep. In the morning, he has a hangover, and drives home in Go’s car to get some clothes—the police have taken Nick’s own car in for inspection. Three police cruisers and a few neighbors are gathered on the street. Officer Velasquez escorts Nick upstairs and stands near him while he goes through his closet, picking out clothes. As Nick combs through his suits, trying to decide what to wear, he thinks about what an interesting essay writing about picking the “appropriate clothes [for] when a loved one goes missing” would be. He laments not being able to switch off the greedy writer voice inside of him.
Again, as Nick prepares to face another day of his wife being gone, he shows an inadequate amount of distress. He’s focused more on his own image than her well-being, and finds himself thinking about how he could profit off the strange position he’s found himself in.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Nick, seeing the silver present Amy wrapped for him, asks Velasquez if anyone has looked inside yet. She nods. Nick asks if he can take a look inside, but she tells him he can’t. Nick becomes irate, and Officer Riordan comes into the room to force Nick down the stairs. Nick tries to calm himself down as he drives back over to Go’s, repeating to himself the mantra: “Do not antagonize the cops.”
Nick knows that he needs to put on a calm demeanor and try to keep himself on the cops’ good side—but something about the sight of the present drives him slightly mad.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Later, at the police station, Nick arrives to find that Marybeth and Rand are there, with their arms around one another. Nick is, and always has been, put off and shocked by the couple’s displays of affection for one another, given the fact that Nick’s parents hardly ever touched or kissed one another. Nick can see now that his father was a raging misogynist, and his mother lived her life under his thumb. Bill and Maureen separated when Nick and Go were still young, and Nick hardly ever saw or spoke to his father. Nick knows that he and Go still bear the scars of their father’s cruelty—Go shirks intimacy with men because she doesn’t want to be dismissed or rejected, while Nick knows that he has some of his father’s rage within him in spite of all his best efforts, and that it sometimes rears its head in ugly ways.
Nick has trouble with Amy’s family dynamic because of the scars he bears as a result of his own twisted one. Nick is made uncomfortable by the fact that Rand and Marybeth are not only crazy about each other after years and years of marriage, but also treat one another as equals. Though Nick and Go loathe their father for his cruel treatment of their mother, he admits that there are parts of his father which live in him—parts he can’t fully deny.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
Though Nick braces himself for Rand and Marybeth to be angry with him when they spot him, instead, they embrace him warmly and tearfully and reassure him that they are all going to work together to find Amy. Nick only has a moment alone with his in-laws before chaos descends on them all—a woman approaches to help prep them for the press conference, and advises Nick that he should give a short statement. Go arrives, and tells Nick that he looks terrible, but admits that if it were her, she would’ve been up all night drinking, too.
Nick is going to have to speak in public about his wife’s disappearance—and knows he must muster up the correct amount of sensitivity and pain for the cameras and the media in order to maintain his “good guy” image.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
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Nick, Rand, Go, and Marybeth are all brought into a large conference room, where on a nearby easel there sits a giant photo of Amy, smiling and looking beautiful. Cameras flash as Nick and the others take their places at the front of the room. Nick gives a speech which he worries that he is “unconvincing [and] disconnected.” Marybeth and Rand step in to “save” Nick by speaking more emotionally. As they weep and lean on one another, Nick—performing a nervous tic he’s developed to “remind people [he isn’t] a dick,” flashes to the crowd a “killer smile.”
Nick’s compulsion to make other people happy and be liked is so strong that he deploys a smile as he poses with a picture of his missing wife. Nicks’ desire to seem affable and likable is going to be something that works against him—he’s prioritizing his own image over the feelings he should be having about his wife, making him look like the polar opposite of a “good guy.”
Themes
Marriage Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon