Sharp Objects


Gillian Flynn

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Themes and Colors
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Sharp Objects, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships

In many ways, the central theme of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects is that of toxic mother-daughter relationships. Throughout the novel, Flynn uses Adora’s literal poisonings of her daughters with homemade tinctures as an extended metaphor for the ways in which abusive mothers “poison” their daughters every day in small ways. Throughout the novel, Flynn uses the relationships between Adora and Camille, Adora and Amma, and even between Amma and Camille to argue that…

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Abuse, Victimization, and Control

Gillian Flynn explores the theme of abuse, victimization, and control through Sharp Objects’ three major characters: Camille, Adora, and Amma. All three women are simultaneously victims of abuse and abusers of themselves, others, or both. Throughout the novel, Flynn uses Camille, Adora, and Amma and their crimes against themselves and others to suggest that victims often become victimizers in an attempt to reassert control over their stories, bodies, and lives.


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Rejecting Femininity

Many of Gillian Flynn’s major works are concerned with what it means to be a woman, and what it means to reject the trappings of femininity—none more so than Sharp Objects. Throughout Sharp Objects, Flynn uses Camille, Amma, and Adora, who each reject femininity both consciously and unconsciously, willfully and passively, to argue that while the unwieldy burdens of femininity and stereotypically female roles and behaviors can actually prove dangerous…

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Secrets, Lies, and Disguises

A tangled web of deceit lies just beneath the surface in the town of Wind Gap, Missouri, and when Camille Preaker returns to the hometown she fled at first opportunity, she is horrified by how valuable a currency secrecy and deception still is there. As Camille reconnects with old friends, family members, and acquaintances and makes new ones as well, she finds that everyone—including herself—has something to hide. Through Camille’s journey to the “underworld” that…

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