The Little Stranger


Sarah Waters

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Themes and Colors
Science and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Decline of the British Upper Class Theme Icon
Desire, the Unconscious, and Manipulation Theme Icon
Class Envy Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Little Stranger, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Science and the Supernatural

The protagonist of The Little Stranger, Dr. Faraday, is a man of science. He is a well-trained and respected doctor, who utilizes empirical evidence to reach medical conclusions. However, when Dr. Faraday meets the Ayers family and becomes a mainstay at their manor home, Hundreds Hall, his experiences force him to reevaluate his position. Both of the Ayers children, Caroline and Roderick, as well as their servants, believe that an evil…

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The Decline of the British Upper Class

Hundreds Hall, the home of the Ayers family, is a symbol for the dying segment of the upper class to which the family belongs. Following World War II, England enacted many social policies to help the poorer members of the nation, often at the expense of the wealthy. These social conditions created a paradox for people like the Ayers family. Although they are far from poor, they can no longer afford to maintain properties…

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Desire, the Unconscious, and Manipulation

Romantic love does not feature prominently until the second half of The Little Stranger, when it becomes the central focus of the novel. For much of the story, Dr. Faraday does not express a romantic interest in Caroline Ayers. In fact, in the first half of the novel, he does quite the opposite. Faraday regularly calls Caroline a “plain” woman and appears more interested in her mother, Mrs. Ayers, if anything. However…

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Class Envy

As a young boy, Dr. Faraday’s parents take him to see Hundreds Hall. It is a formative moment in his youth, and for the rest of his life, he remains envious of those who live there. Faraday’s mother made her living as a servant at Hundreds for some time, and his father was similarly lower-class. However, as a result of their hard work, Faraday went to a good college and eventually became a…

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