Literary Analysis OfThe Goldfinch, By Donna Tartt

1517 WordsOct 10, 20177 Pages
The story in the novel The Goldfinch, written by Donna Tartt, begins even before Tartt’s writing begins. Upon opening the novel, the first sentence present is a quote by Albert Camus, stating, “The absurd does not liberate, it binds”. Even before beginning this novel, the meaning of this quote shines through; the peculiar things that happen in life are what bring people together, a fate is not necessarily a punishment. This quote begins the first section of the novel and gives great meaning to it as the protagonist quickly learns that his world does not end just because his mother’s does. At the beginning of the novel, the protagonist, Theo Decker is introduced in his hotel room in Amsterdam, feeling lonesome and miserable. Shortly after the introduction, the point of view is changed from this older version of Theo to a much younger, thirteen year old Theo. At this point in time, Theo explains about the death of his mother, the woman whom he regarded most highly. While on their way to a meeting with the principal of Theo’s school due to his poor behaviour, the two stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Theo’s mother, Audrey is extremely passionate about art and her favourite painting is entitled ‘The Goldfinch’, painted by Carel Fabritius. In stopping to examine the painting, Theo thinks to himself “It was a direct and matter-of-fact little creature, with nothing sentimental about it; and something about the neat, compact way it tucked down inside itself - its brightness, its alert watchful expression - made me think of pictures I’d seen of my mother … a dark-capped finch with steady eyes” (Tartt 27). This moment is important because it displays Theo’s kind hearted, innocent and observant nature. By comparing his mother to the painting she loves the most, and by finding the good in the painting, despite being plain, Theo demonstrates his innocence and ability to be observant. This comparison between the bird in the painting and his mother leads to the development of a symbol throughout the novel. While in the museum, a terrorist attack occurs. Bombs are set off and multiple explosions occur in the gift shop of the museum, where Audrey is. Fortunately for Theo, who is entranced by a strange-looking,

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