Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Talented Mr. Ripley: Introduction
Talented Mr. Ripley: Plot Summary
Talented Mr. Ripley: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Talented Mr. Ripley: Themes
Talented Mr. Ripley: Quotes
Talented Mr. Ripley: Characters
Talented Mr. Ripley: Symbols
Talented Mr. Ripley: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Patricia Highsmith
Historical Context of The Talented Mr. Ripley
Other Books Related to The Talented Mr. Ripley
- Full Title: The Talented Mr. Ripley
- When Written: 1953
- Where Written: Lenox, MA
- When Published: 1955
- Literary Period: Modernism; Realism
- Genre: Fiction; psychological thriller; suspense; mystery; international crime
- Setting: New York, NY; Italy; France; Greece
- Climax: Tom Ripley murders his acquaintance Dickie Greenleaf off the coast of San Remo in order to adopt Dickie’s identity as his own.
- Antagonist: Tom Ripley
- Point of View: Third person narrative which closely tracks the thoughts and feelings of Tom Ripley
Extra Credit for The Talented Mr. Ripley
Ripleymania. With The Talented Mr. Ripley, Highsmith created a brand new kind of hero: the evil antihero. Ripley was such an iconoclastic novel with such a brand-new idea—what if the bad guy gets away with it?—that it captivated readers the world over and inspired a series of sequels, known by fans as “the Ripliad.” Highsmith’s Ripley novels have been adapted into movies starring Alain Delon, Dennis Hopper, Matt Damon, and John Malkovich (to name a few) as the face of the murderous Mr. Ripley. Ripley continues to inspire the way we think about “heroes” today—Kill Bill, Breaking Bad, Dexter, and even Suicide Squad are some television shows and movies that feature protagonists whose morals are, in a Ripley-esque way, dubious.
The Generous Ms. Highsmith. After her death in 1995, Patricia Highsmith bequeathed her entire estate to the Yaddo artists’ colony in upstate New York, where she completed work on a draft of Strangers on a Train in 1948. The colony is renowned for supporting the work of celebrated writers, such as Truman Capote, David Foster Wallace, and John Cheever.