We are pleased to present a guest blog post by Jill Yesko. We welcome these kind of commentaries from readers of The Tattooed Girl blog.
The Emancipation of Lisbeth Salander
By Jill Yesko
Throughout the Millennium Trilogy, Lisbeth Salander unequivocally states that she wants two things: to be left in peace and to gain her freedom from guardianship by the Swedish Government.
At the conclusion of “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” both come to pass.
That should make Lisbeth happy, right?
As anyone who has taken Philosophy 101 knows, true freedom does not exist and no person—even the misanthropic Lisbeth Salander—can live in a social vacuum. Freedom brings responsibility and responsibility brings a host of problems and decisions that Froken Salander would rather not deal with.
While some readers may be bored with Lisbeth’s trial (she sits almost mute throughout), I was intrigued by Stieg Larsson’s mini civics lesson and meditation on the responsibilities of citizenship and freedom. Upon restoring Lisbeth’s right to make her own decisions free of the evil Dr. Teleborian and other handlers, Judge Iversen sternly lectures:
“…if I rescind your declaration of incompetency, that will mean that you have exactly the same rights as all other citizens. It also means you have the same obligations. It is therefore your duty to manage your finances, pay taxes, obey the law, and assist the police in the investigation of serious crimes….”
How does Lisbeth react to being a fully-vested Swedish citizen?
“She pouted and looked angry, but she stopped arguing.”
After years of fighting the system, Lisbeth hasn’t a clue what to do next. She test drives her freedom, buying a ticket to Spain using her own passport. After checking on her stolen millions squirreled away in Gibraltar, Lisbeth spends her days like a crazed teenager: blind drunk and having anonymous sex.
Upon Lisbeth’s return to Sweden, Larsson resumes the civics lesson. Reluctantly meeting with her lawyer Annika Giannini to settle Zalachenko’s affairs, Salander continues her adolescent ways. Exasperated by Lisbeth’s refusal to decide what to do with her inheritance, Giannini warns: “Lisbeth, if you’re going to be responsible citizen, then you’re going to have to start behaving like one.”
Lisbeth downs a beer and tells Giannini to decide what to do with the money. So much for being a responsible adult!
At the conclusion of the trilogy, Lisbeth finally acknowledges that despite holding the world at arm’s length, she is “in debt to people”–Blomkvist, Palmgren, Armansky, Giannini—and even “those damn police officers, Bublanski and Modig.”
For Lisbeth Salander, freedom will always be a bitch.
This guest blog post was written by Jill Yesko. Jill is the author of “Murder in the Dog Park: Bad Girl. Good Cop. Bad Dog.” She blogs about crime fiction from Baltimore. Visit: http://murderinthedogpark.blogspot.com