Analysis Of Donna Tartt's The Secret History

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Donna Tartt’s The Secret History tells the story of Richard Papen’s transfer from a small college in his hometown Plano, California, to an elite college in Vermont, Hampden College. During his first week, he becomes obsessively captivated by the five students in a highly selective Greek class and goes to extreme lengths to be accepted by the group’s members Henry Winter, Bunny Corcoran, Francis Abernathy, twins Charles and Camilla Macaulay, and their teacher Julian Morrow. This obsession and desire to please causes Richard’s involvement in two murders that distort his idea of morality. The novel is best analyzed by applying psychoanalytical and feminist theory to the characters with critical articles providing additional information and showing a different perspective. I have chosen to analyze the narrator, Richard Papen, the group leader, Henry Winter, and the only major female character, Camilla Macaulay.…show more content…
He fits in the story as an observer, dragged along by the other characters into their incriminating action. Nick Carraway is an example. In “Heira of the Great Carraway,” Robert Hahn compares the two narrators:
The point of departure for both is a prototypical American journey from west to east—Carraway coming from the Midwest, Papen from California, although his California is not a glamorous la-la land but a lower-class family in a dusty inland town, a dull reality he replaces with a Tinseltown fable … [The students] appear to Richard as Gatsby first appeared to Nick: aglow with glamorous intrigue, moving in a nimbus of mystery and giddily bad behavior. (Hahn
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