46 pages 1 hour read

Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2017

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Character Analysis

Frances

Twenty-one-year-old college student Frances is the novel’s protagonist and first-person narrator. Though she is an unreliable narrator whose conception of reality is often wrong, Rooney does not use this unreliability to create a sense of mystery. Rather, Rooney often makes it obvious when Frances is wrong or misguided. For instance, when Nick tells Frances he doesn’t know what she wants over instant messenger, she takes his words as a signal that he wants to pull away from her. Readers, however, have no reason to suspect he means anything other than exactly what he says—he cannot figure out whether she wants anything serious from their relationship because she is evasive and flippant about it whenever he asks.

There are other times when Frances’s narration about what people around her are is perceptive and accurate, however. Early in the novel, she notices that Bobbi starts referencing things Melissa has told her privately and interprets these comments as a subtle signal that Bobbi wants to implicitly communicate that she is winning the contest of growing close to Melissa. Frances’s intuition about Bobbi’s motivation here seems correct, given what we know and later find out about Bobbi.

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