Sharp Objects

by

Gillian Flynn

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Natalie Keene Character Analysis

Natalie Keene is a ten-year-old Wind Gap girl who goes missing at the start of the novel, prompting Camille’s boss, Frank Curry, to send her to her hometown to investigate. Within days of Camille’s return to Missouri, Natalie Keene’s dead body is found, posed like a doll, in the center of town. All of the girl’s teeth have been removed—making clear the fact that Natalie and Ann Nash, who was killed and stripped of all her teeth just a few months earlier, are victims of the same killer. It is eventually revealed that Natalie harbored violent tendencies, and that her family had moved from Philadelphia to Missouri after Natalie brutally attacked and blinded one of her classmates.

Natalie Keene Quotes in Sharp Objects

The Sharp Objects quotes below are all either spoken by Natalie Keene or refer to Natalie Keene. 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:
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Sharp Objects published in 2006.
Chapter 10 Quotes

“You were always so willful, never sweet. I remember when you were six or seven. I wanted to put your hair up in curlers for your school picture. Instead you cut it all off with my fabric shears.” I didn’t remember doing this. I remembered hearing about Ann doing this.

“I don’t think so, Momma.”

“Headstrong. Like those girls. I tried to be close with those girls, those dead girls.”

“What do you mean be close with them?”

“They reminded me of you, running around town wild. Like little pretty animals. I thought if I could be close with them, I would understand you better. If I could like them, maybe I could like you. But I couldn’t. […] And now you come back and all I can think of is ‘Why Marian and not her?’”

Rage flattened immediately into a dark despair. My fingers found a wood staple in the floorboard. I jabbed it under my fingernail. I would not cry for this woman.

“I’m not so pleased to be left here anyway, Momma, if it makes you feel any better.”

“You’re so hateful.”

“I learned at your feet.” My mother lunged then, grabbed me by both arms. Then she reached behind me and, with one fingernail, circled the spot on my back that had no scars.

“The only place you have left,” she whispered at me. Her breath was cloying and musky, like air coming from a spring well.

“Yes.”

“Someday I’ll carve my name there.” She shook me once, released me, then left me on the stairs with the warm remains of our liquor.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Adora Crellin (speaker), Ann Nash, Natalie Keene, Marian Crellin
Related Symbols: Camille’s Scars
Page Number: 148-149
Explanation and Analysis:

"[Natalie] had serious problems. We looked for my earlobe, see if it could be stitched back on, but it was gone. I guess she swallowed it.” [Meredith] gave a laugh that sounded like the reverse of a gulp of air. ”I mostly just felt sorry for her.”

Lie.

“Ann, was she as bad?” I asked.

“Worse. There are people all over this town with her teeth marks in them. Your mother included.”

“What?” My hands began to sweat and the back of my neck went cold.

“Your mom was tutoring her and Ann didn’t understand. She completely lost it, pulled some of your momma’s hair out, and bit into her wrist. Hard. I think there had to be stitches.” Images of my mother’s thin arm caught between tiny teeth, Ann shaking her head like a dog, blood blossoming on my mother’s sleeve, on Ann’s lips. A scream, a release.

A little circle of jagged lines, and within, a ring of perfect skin.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Meredith Wheeler (speaker), Adora Crellin, Ann Nash, Natalie Keene
Related Symbols: Camille’s Scars, Teeth
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

“I was friends with them for a while,” she said finally, talking into her chest. “We had fun, running around in the woods. We were wild. We’d hurt things together. We killed a cat once. But then she”—as always Adora’s name went unsaid—“got all interested in them. I could never have anything to myself. They weren't my secrets anymore. They were always coming by the house. They started asking me questions about being sick. They were going to ruin everything. She didn't even realize it.” Amma rubbed her shorn hair harshly. “And why did Ann have to bite . . . her? I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Why Ann could bite her, and I couldn’t.”

She refused to say more, answered only in sighs and coughs. As for the teeth, she took the teeth only because she needed them. The dollhouse had to be perfect, just like everything else Amma loved.

I think there is more. Ann and Natalie died because Adora paid attention to them. Amma could only view it as a raw deal. Amma, who had allowed my mother to sicken her for so long.

Sometimes when you let people do things to you, you ’re really doing it to them. Amma controlled Adora by letting Adora sicken her. In return, she demanded uncontested love and loyalty. No other little girls allowed. For the same reasons she murdered Lily Burke. Because, Amina suspected, I liked her better.

You can come up with four thousand other guesses, of course, about why Amina did it. In the end, the fact remains: Amma enjoyed hurting. I like violence, she’d shrieked at me. I blame my mother. A child weaned on poison considers harm a comfort.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker), Adora Crellin, Ann Nash, Natalie Keene, Lily Burke
Related Symbols: Teeth
Page Number: 250-251
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Sharp Objects LitChart as a printable PDF.
Sharp Objects PDF

Natalie Keene Character Timeline in Sharp Objects

The timeline below shows where the character Natalie Keene appears in Sharp Objects. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...homemade flyer shows “a dark-eyed girl with a feral grin:” it is the missing girl, Natalie Keene, who is ten years old. Camille prays that when she walks into the police... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...informed that most of the town is out in the woods, searching the forest for Natalie. Camille sits and waits for Chief Bill Vickery to return from his lunch break, and... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...walks past the girls into the woods, towards the sound of people’s voices calling for Natalie. When Camille catches up with the search party, she begins walking alongside a man and... (full context)
Chapter 2
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...tells Camille he believes there is a “sick baby killer” on the loose—he doesn’t believe Natalie is simply missing. (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...drink in her hand. Camille explains that she has come to cover Ann Nash and Natalie Keene’s stories for her paper, and Adora seems startled. She begins plucking at her own... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Adora remarks that both Ann and Natalie’s parents must be having a difficult enough time without Camille copying down their stories and... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...Adora warns Camille that she needs to be extra-kind to Amma, as both Ann and Natalie were her schoolmates. (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...two shops, a “tiny body” has been propped up, aimed at the sidewalk. It is Natalie Keene, and she is missing all of her teeth. (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...happening around her in brief, strange flashes. She sees that there is a Band-Aid on Natalie Keene’s knee, and notices faintly that Vickery has arrived on the scene, along with a... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...the detective her story, she finds herself wishing she could put a fresh Band-Aid on Natalie Keene’s knee. (full context)
Chapter 3
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
The morning of Natalie Keene’s funeral, Adora flits around the house getting ready. As Camille drinks coffee and watches... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...at a local Catholic church, is completely packed. No children are present at the service. Natalie’s mother and father lead the procession, crying quietly as they walk down the aisle towards... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Natalie’s mother eulogizes her daughter, and then a priest delivers a brief address in which he... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille asks if Natalie’s funeral was particularly hard on Adora—the unspoken connection with Marian’s funeral lingers in the air.... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Vickery tells Camille that Ann and Natalie were both violent girls, and Camille asks if he thinks that someone who didn’t like... (full context)
Chapter 4
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille is at a local park, the last place Natalie was seen alive. Camille talks with a little boy who tells her that his friend... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...boy is reluctant to answer Camille’s questions, but she is persistent in interrogating him about Natalie’s disappearance. (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
James tells Camille that the woman who took Natalie was “old like a mother,” dressed in a white bed dress. She had white hair... (full context)
Chapter 5
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...though undoubtedly committed by the same person, don’t seem to make sense. She wonders why Natalie was taken in broad daylight, and whether James Capisi could have invented an image of... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...for some help—on the record or off—in getting a sense of objectivity about Ann and Natalie’s murders. Richard proposes a deal: he will help Camille—and give her an official comment she... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...straightest of deals,” Camille accepts and asks Richard—on the record—whether he really believes Ann and Natalie’s murders were committed by an outsider. Richard answers that his investigation has “not ruled anyone... (full context)
Chapter 8
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...streak, and finds that it reminds her of the things she’s heard about Ann and Natalie. (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Late one afternoon, Camille decides to try approaching the Keenes for more information about Natalie. She needs a quote for her feature, badly—if she doesn’t turn up anything good, Curry... (full context)
Chapter 9
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...John. She tells John that all she wants is to get a fuller picture of Natalie, so that she can better describe her to her paper’s readers. John admits that his... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
As Camille begins asking John questions about Natalie, Meredith keeps interrupting to offer her two cents. When John says that Natalie tried to... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...his lack of an alibi—he was out driving around town, he says, on the night Natalie was murdered—she empathizes with his feeling “claustrophobic” in such a small town and needing to... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Switching the subject, Camille asks about Natalie’s violence back in Philadelphia. John admits that Natalie—a little girl with a temper—attacked a classmate... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
When Becca and Camille return to the kitchen, the conversation has turned to Ann and Natalie—and how Amma and her friends always picked on both girls. When Camille defensively states that... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...to fall asleep, she cannot shut out flashes in her mind: images of Bob Nash, Natalie’s mother, her own younger self crying on the floor of Marian’s bedroom, Natalie stabbing her... (full context)
Chapter 10
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
As Camille walks downtown to where Natalie’s body was found, Richard pulls up alongside her and asks if the euphemistic “source close... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...and Richard continue exploring the woods for the rest of the afternoon, discussing Ann and Natalie’s murders. When Camille asks if John Keene is a suspect, Richard confirms that he fits... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...holds out her right hand and shows Camille a scar, which she alleges is from Natalie. She then pulls her hair away from her left earlobe to reveal that it is... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille asks if Ann was as bad as Natalie, and Meredith replies that Ann was even worse. There are people all over town with... (full context)
Chapter 11
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships 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... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 12
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...discussing the case. Richard says he thinks John Keene is the murderer—he was close to Natalie in an “unhealthy way” and has no alibi to boot. Camille asks Richard to give... (full context)
Chapter 14
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...feels relief at being able to say so. John tells Camille that he didn’t kill Natalie, and she tells him that she already knows. John takes Camille’s hand and tells her... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...house—Katie is an aide at the grade school, and helped out in both Ann and Natalie’s classes. Katie greets Camille happily and serves her sweet tea, making no mention of Camille’s... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...cruelty, and is even more upset when Katie reveals that “Amma fucked with Ann and Natalie a lot.” (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...image of Adora—all ominous ones. She imagines her mother trying to “tend” to Ann and Natalie the way she tended to Marian and Amma—and though Camille tells herself that she’s “crazy”... (full context)
Chapter 15
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...pleasant greeting. She tells him that she thinks that her mother killed Marian, Ann, and Natalie—and that she thinks Richard thinks so, too. She calls Richard “sick” and accuses him of... (full context)
Chapter 16
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...Adora’s room. DNA tests match the trace blood on the tool to both Ann and Natalie. The teeth, however, are not found anywhere in the house, and though Camille begs the... (full context)
Chapter 17
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
On May 28th, Adora is arrested for the murders of Ann Nash, Natalie Keene, and Marian. Alan bails her out so that she can await trial “in the... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...friends Kelsey, Kylie, and Jodes admit to helping Amma with the murders of Ann and Natalie, in exchange for lighter sentences in a psychiatric hospital. The circumstances of each killing come... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
To get Natalie, Amma draped herself in a white sheet styled to look like a Grecian dress and... (full context)
Epilogue
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...woods, hurting and killing stray animals. When Adora, however, “got all interested” in Ann and Natalie, the girls started coming by the house and asking questions about Amma’s sicknesses. Amma worried... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille speculates that Ann and Natalie died because Adora paid attention to them. Camille believes that Amma, who allowed Adora to... (full context)