48 pages • 1 hour readEmily Giffin
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Nina is a complex character. She acts as a foil to the community of the Nashville elite, illuminating their snobbery and elitism with her compassion. She is a dynamic character, as she changes over the course of the novel.
At the beginning of the story, Nina is part of the rich, elite community. Initially, Nina feels as though she has to hide her Cartier watch from her best friend Julie, who finds extravagant displays of wealth “obscene.” At this point in the text, Nina does not consciously feel as though she needs to be ashamed of her lifestyle, but the act of hiding the watch implies otherwise. She is attracted to Kirk in part for his wealth, and willingly goes along with the wealthy community’s social norms to better her status. The first half of the novel illustrates just how much Nina chooses to ignore the problematic aspects of her community, such as the constant lying and using of money to better one’s social standing.
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As the novel progresses, Nina starts to discover that her values are different from her husband’s. She struggles with her son’s actions, and places what is right above his comfort. She puts Finch’s future at Princeton on the line rather than pay his way out of trouble, demonstrating her character development.
By Emily Giffin