Gone Girl

Gone Girl

by

Gillian Flynn

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Amy’s Diary Symbol Analysis

Amy’s Diary Symbol Icon

Amy’s diary is the most potent symbol of Amy and Nick’s alternating attempts to control the narrative of their lives, their marriage, and indeed their entire selves. The structure of Gone Girl establishes itself early on as a kind of ballet between Nick and Amy’s points of views in the wake of Amy’s sudden and mysterious disappearance from their home in North Carthage, Missouri. Nick relays the events following Amy’s disappearance in real-time, while readers imbibe snippets of Amy’s diary, the entries stretching back several years and telling the story of their whirlwind romance, their difficult layoffs from magazine jobs in New York and their emotional move to Nick’s Missouri hometown, and at last their descent into a spiral of pain, cruelty, and violence.

At the midpoint of the novel, however, it becomes clear that Amy has orchestrated her own disappearance—and left behind a trove of incriminating clues in order to frame Nick for her murder—in order to get revenge against Nick after she finds out he’s having an affair with one of his students. Amy’s diary is revealed to be a construct—a piece of imaginative writing she expresses pride over having created. Most things contained within it are false, and Amy has constructed an entire persona for herself which readers of the novel have, in all likelihood, fallen for hook line and sinker. Thus, Amy’s diary comes to symbolize her desperate need to control the way other people see her, and to come off as unimpeachably perfect and “amazing” no matter the cost.

Amy’s Diary Quotes in Gone Girl

The Gone Girl quotes below all refer to the symbol of Amy’s Diary. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Crown Publishers edition of Gone Girl published in 2012.
4. Amy, Diary Entry, Sep 18th, 2005 Quotes

My parents have always worried that I’d take Amy too personally—they always tell me not to read too much into her. And yet I can’t fail to notice that whenever I screw something up, Amy does it right… […] This used to drive me mad… […] That my parents, two child psychologists, chose this particular public form of passive-aggressiveness toward their child was not just fucked up but also stupid and weird and kind of hilarious. So be it.

Related Characters: Amy Elliott Dunne (speaker), Rand Elliott, Marybeth Elliott
Related Symbols: Amy’s Diary
Page Number: 26-27
Explanation and Analysis:
6. Amy, Diary Entry, July 5th, 2008 Quotes

I am fat with love! Husky with ardor! Morbidly obese with devotion! A happy, busy bumblebee of marital enthusiasm. I positively hum around him, fussing and fixing. I have become a strange thing. I have become a wife. I find myself steering the ship of conversations—bulkily, unnaturally—just so I can say his name aloud. I have become a wife, I have become a bore, I have been asked to forfeit my Independent Young Feminist card. I don’t care. I balance his checkbook, I trim his hair.

Related Characters: Amy Elliott Dunne (speaker), Nick Dunne
Related Symbols: Amy’s Diary
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
14. Amy, Diary Entry, Sep 15th, 2010 Quotes

[Nick] promised to take care of me, and yet I feel afraid. I feel like something is going wrong, very wrong, and that it will get even worse. I don’t feel like Nick’s wife. I don’t feel like a person at all: I am something to be loaded and unloaded, like a sofa or a cuckoo clock. I am something to be tossed into a junkyard, thrown into the river, if necessary. I don’t feel real anymore. I feel like I could disappear.

Related Characters: Amy Elliott Dunne (speaker), Nick Dunne
Related Symbols: Amy’s Diary
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
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Amy’s Diary Symbol Timeline in Gone Girl

The timeline below shows where the symbol Amy’s Diary appears in Gone Girl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. Amy Elliott, Diary Entry, January 8th, 2005
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Amy writes in her diary that she is “embarrassed” by how happy she is—she has met a “boy.” Amy writes... (full context)
8. Amy Elliott Dunne, Diary Entry, April 21st, 2009
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
“Poor me,” Amy writes in her diary. She describes having dinner with two of her girlfriends, during which they talk about little... (full context)
14. Amy Elliott Dunne, Diary Entry, September 15th, 2010
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Amy writes a diary entry from an anonymous motel off the highway in Pennsylvania. She and Nick are on... (full context)
16. Amy Elliott Dunne, Diary Entry, October 16th, 2010
Marriage Theme Icon
Amy writes peppily in her diary, celebrating her one-month anniversary in Missouri. Although Amy misses New York, and though she, Nick,... (full context)
30. Amy Elliott Dunne, The Day Of (1)
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
...of blood on the page next to Item 22: “Cut myself.” Amy points out that “diary readers will say” she’s afraid of blood—she’s not, in reality, but has spent the last... (full context)
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Amy writes that she wants her readers to finally know her—not “Diary Amy, who is a work of fiction,” but Actual Amy. She begins telling the true... (full context)
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
...the Cool Girl, and started showing Nick the real her. As opposed to the fictitious diary entries Amy wrote about not wanting Nick to be a “dancing monkey,” she reveals that... (full context)
32. Amy Elliott Dunne, The Day Of (2)
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
...she must figure out how to be “Dead Amy.” She was able to figure out “Diary Amy” without a hitch, and enjoyed sprinkling incriminating clues throughout her entry. She applauds herself... (full context)
36. Amy Elliott Dunne, Seven Days Gone
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
...being unable to control things back in Carthage—Andie still hasn’t come forward, and Amy’s own diary still hasn’t been found. She resolves to call the Find Amazing Amy hotline and leave... (full context)
45. Nick Dunne, Ten Days Gone (2)
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
...he slept his signature deep sleep. As a final coup de grace, Boney sets Amy’s diary down in front of Nick. Though Nick insists Amy never kept a diary, Boney claims... (full context)
47. Nick Dunne, Ten Days Gone (3)
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Misogyny Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
As Boney begins going through the diary with Nick, he begins to realize that the things contained within its pages are going... (full context)
49. Nick Dunne, Fourteen Days Gone
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Nick wakes up on Go’s couch with a hangover. Since the diary interview he has been drinking heavily, essentially doing nothing but waiting around for the police... (full context)
61. Nick Dunne, Nine Weeks After the Return
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
...to take down Amy, but are unable to find a single thing suspicious about her diary. Only Boney and Go are still in Nick’s corner. (full context)