Why is she so messed up?

Did I miss something about “All the Evil”? Granted, what happened to Lisbeth was bad (witnessing the verbal, physical, and emotional abuse of her mother by her father … attempts to kill her father … being strapped & isolated in a psychiatric hospital, not having authority figures listen to her), but other people in the books (for example, the women damaged by the sex trade and Helen V.) had worse things happen to them, and they don’t appear to end up as messed up as Lisbeth. I mean, Helen (do I have the right name?) was raped by her brother and recruited to murder by her father whom she ends up killing, and she still goes on to run a successful business in Australia and doesn’t have the anti-social/vengeful attitude Lisbeth has. I started thinking that there was a tie to the “bad genes” of Zala, but Helen would have had “bad genes” too. I mean, I could understand Lisbeth’s character more if she had experienced rape and torture at a young age, but it seems that Bjurman’s (sp?) attack on her doesn’t really “change” her character that much. Does this make sense?

So, I guess it is more that Lisbeth was already borderline “something” (asperger’s? other?) and then what happened just “set her off” on this more-than-slightly deranged path? Comments welcome.

Posted by Just Wondering … in Minneapolis, MN , 17 July 2010

By Editor

13 thoughts on “Why is she so messed up?”
  1. They make a point of the fact that Zala had been experimented on by the Russians. He had no emotions, similar to Lisbeth’s lack of emotions(she had morals, though). Then add in the lack of emotions in her half brother and it becomes likely a genetic trait, all three are sociopaths and extremely violent. Its also a personality difference, Harriet Vangar chose to flee and Lisbeth chose to fight.

    Posted by Lily in Atlanta ,

  2. The events that happened in a persons life help form them based on how they chose to respond. Harriet chose to push the events into the back of her mind and ignore her past. Lisbeth chose to use her past to fuel her future. She has devoted much of her self to finding and bringing justice to violence against women. She refuses to allow history to repeat itself. In my opion that is the stronger, more respectable, admirable choice. No young woman who reads this book says Harriet is a kick butt character but its the small young woman who unexpected kicks a psycho killers butt that we all respect and admire.

    Posted by Sally in Boston ,

  3. I think that even if Lisbeth had a “normal” upbringing with “normal” parents she still would have been the way she is. Maybe not so extreme but still different. The fact that she has photographic memory is a big part of her personality. I think that when you are “to smart” you lose some social skills. I think thats a big part of why Lisbeth reacted and became the way she is.

    Posted by Julia Bergstedt in Piteå (Sweden) ,

  4. All comments are worth reading and thinking about…as an American…I saw the film in Houston TX and my opinion is that, as a writer, the Lizabeth character was made ” STRANGE ” as a method of keeping the readers intrigued and glued to the page.

    Posted by Linda Thamm in Vjctoria, TX ,

  5. i guess the reasone she is so screwd up would first be that she saw what zalachenko did and the fact she probably has aspergers or somthing simolar

  6. I wonder what led Mr. Larsson to create such a strong female character? I love Lisbeth because she has a fierce sense of justice and self worth. Most often in the real world such trauma results in a really broken person. Lisbeth never broke and she never blamed herself. The books put her up against abuse and maltreatment from every kind of authority figure and she always trusts her own perceptions and stands up for herself. She is violent only in self defense. The only reason it surprises us is because she is a woman. No one would think a thing about a man doing the same things. Great character.

    Posted by Linda in Nashville, TN ,

  7. genetics plays a part, personality of course. If she has aspergers, this makes her act totally different socially than a typical woman would. Her brain is wired differently. Temple Grandin is a famous autism advocate who has autism herself, and stated that if children are in isolation during critical periods of brain development, the brain gets damaged. Lisbeth was locked up in isolation during her teen years, when critical periods of high level social development occur. So in a way, she may never be able to recover from this in a social sense. This is a time when teens learn about right and wrong, social justice, morals, etc. Remember, she has no female role models to guide her. So when she reacts to injustice she falls back on her earlier learned behaviors, vengeance and violence. There has been no one in her life to ever teach her otherwise.

    The lack of emotion, obssession on computer hacking and on revenge, her social isolation and inability to hold chit chat are all parts of Aspergers syndrome. I know this problem very well. My son has it. I deal with it every day.

    Posted by RM in USA ,

  8. I sometimes use myself and my twin sister as an example of just how unpredictable someone’s behavior or attitude can be compared to relatives. Our parents seperated when we were 4. the custody battles and brutal verbal abuse that my father endured from my mother were hardly the worst a kid can experiance but compared to the people i knew, it was the worst, and still is.

    the reason i bring this up is because my sister and I reacted very differently to that sistuation. I have often pondered over whay that is and my answer isnt concrete, but it has to be an accumulation of small events you go through as you are growing and developing.

    My sister to this day still trys to bow out of any argument she gets in to in public to keep her image up. She is very paranoid about her apearence and beause of that spends way to much time grooming herself. We do not share friends as I would not put up with any of the bull shit they gave me. Whenever our parents fought, I wound up trying to protect her, while she just ignored what was going on.In almost any argument, I never hesitate to make my message clear. I dont take shit from anyone and she stands up to no one.

    Posted by Katie in USA ,

  9. I haven’t completed the second book yet but she seems to me to be an almost textbook example of an adult with Asperger’s syndrome. I have it too but I’ve been blessed with loving people to help me learn some social skills over the years.

    Posted by Jennifer in Ellerslie, GA, USA ,

  10. People don’t respond equally .. she doesn’t need a diagnose just because she’s different..

    Posted by Li. Eft. ,

  11. Lisbeth “had no emotions?”..then explain how she never forgave Blomqvist for being with Berger on the street, until the end of book 3..

    Posted by Vas in Washington DC ,

  12. well dear readers if you remember there was a part in the first book that mentiones lizbet had aspherger’s.The name was not Helen and was Harriet. I think the reason hariet mentally survived better is because she got away and was not constantly crusified like Lizbeth and her husband loved her andshe had a good marriage.”All the eveilis when she threw the fire bomb at Zala”and ahe was remembering it. Any way I thinh lizbeth was a surviver and did not accept anybody make her a victim.i am on my second time reading of trilogy .I am on the second book.Ilived in sweden for a while and all this names are very familier to me .I love the book s I think Staig Larson is a Genius.

    Posted by andrea in scottsdale usa ,

  13. She grew up in a violent home and as a child, she just coped the best she could. Her sister coped by ignoring it. The world is full of messed-up people, because their parents messed them up by raising them in a chaotic environment. Very sad.

    Posted by Veronica in Södra Ängby ,

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