Sharp Objects

by

Gillian Flynn

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Sharp Objects: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Camille calls Richard one evening, and though he picks up, he tells her he’s busy and asks to call her back. When he does, he tells her that he’s been at the hospital in Woodberry, investigating a lead “of sorts.” Camille asks if the two of them can meet at the bar where they first shared a drink—she needs to ask him something straight, and she needs an answer, on or off the record.
At this point, Camille doesn’t care whether her conversations with Richard are usable for her article or not—she just wants to talk to one of the few people in town she can trust.
Themes
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille is three bourbons deep when Richard arrives at the bar to meet her, and when she sees him, she is so charmed and turned on that she barely even wants to talk “business.” When Richard asks her what her question was, though, Camille gets down to it. She asks him if, when he thinks of the person who killed Ann and Natalie, he has a specific person in mind—male or female. Richard says that he doesn’t believe a woman would have killed the girls “this way.” Camille admits she is “freaking out,” and Richard asks her to let him help.
The central question of this murder case has been what kind of person would commit such heinous, personal violence. Though Camille is starting to have suspicions about who the murderer could be, Richard maintains his position—no woman could be capable of such violence.
Themes
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille reveals what she has learned—that Ann and Natalie were violent biters. She tells Richard that she believes this is why their teeth were taken. Richard asks Camille to tell him who the girls bit, but she insists she can’t say. Richard accuses Camille of “screwing around” with him and leaves the bar.
Camille wants to divulge the truth to Richard—but because the implications of it are too awful for her to fully consider, she balks. 
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
When Camille gets home, Alan is waiting for her on the sofa. He tells Camille that she’s making Adora ill, and that if conditions don’t improve, he is going to have to ask her to leave. Alan accuses Camille of tormenting Adora by constantly bringing up Marian or discussing, in gory detail, the murders of Ann and Natalie. Camille insists she hasn’t said anything about any of them to Adora, but Alan will not listen to her. Camille tells Alan that if he doesn’t know by now that Adora is a liar, he’s an idiot. Alan replies only that Adora had a hard life—her own mother, Joya, liked to “hurt her.” Camille assures Alan she’ll leave as soon as she can.
This passage makes it clear that Adora has been telling Alan lies about Camille in order to gain sympathy from him, and perhaps to drive Camille out of the house—when Camille urges Alan to see the truth, Alan defends his wife, blaming Adora’s erratic nature and cruelty on the abuse she suffered at the hands of her own mother.
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
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Camille pours herself a drink and brings it upstairs to her bedroom, where she loses herself in memories of Marian, whom she adored. She creeps down the hallway to Marian’s old room and wonders what it must have been like for Amma to grow up down the hall from the room of a dead sister she’d never met.
Camille has for so long been so absorbed in her own experience of Marian’s death that she never stopped to consider what growing up in the shadow of a dead—and thus perfect—sister would do to Amma.
Themes
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
In Marian’s room, everything is pristine. A set of clothes is laid out on the bed, and Marian’s IV stand is still next to the industrial hospital bed and the heart monitor. Camille is “disgusted” that her mother has not “purged” the room of Marian’s things—including her extensive collection of porcelain dolls, which stare lifelessly at Camille until she gets spooked and hurries back to her own room.
The fact that Adora has preserved Marian’s room in perfect condition for upwards of fifteen years shows just how committed Adora is to grieving Marian as a “hobby”—and even perhaps finding comfort or joy in that grief. 
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Camille calls Curry—it has been three days since they last spoke, and nearly two weeks since she arrived in Wind Gap. She tells Curry that she’s gotten a lot of information off the record, and once she secures official statements, she will file something great in a few days.
Camille wants Curry to know she’s committed to doing a good job—Camille is desperately afraid to lose the article and have all she’s put herself through the last few days be for nothing.
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Curry encourages her to continue working hard, but continues asking about whether she feels the pressure of being home is too much and is impacting her “recovery.” Camille admits that being in Wind Gap makes her feel like a “bad person” before breaking down in tears. Curry comforts Camille, assuring her that she is a decent person. Camille feels the words “wrong, woman, [and] teeth” burning against her skin. Curry continues talking to her, telling her jokes and stories, and Camille pulls the covers up over her head and listens to his voice.
Curry is more worried about Camille herself than he is about the article—Camille is so unused to tenderness or concern that she forgets about how deeply Curry cares for her and finds a sense of incredible relief when she remembers.
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon