Gone Girl Major Character Analysis
Nick (Lance Nicholas) Dunne
Nick Dunne is one of the novel’stwo narrators. His chapters alternate with chapters narrated by his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne. Their relationship drives the plot, and the gradual revelation of their characters provides the suspense in this thriller.
Age 34 at the time of Amy’s disappearance, Nick Dunne relies on women to like him and to take care of him. In particular Nick’s mother, Mo, and his sister, Go, protect and support him.Their love is unconditional. His relationship with his misogynistic and verbally abusive father, however, is non-existent. As a result of his upbringing, Nick represses his feelings and must have everyone’s love. He says of himself, “I contain and compartmentalize to a disturbing degree: In my belly-basement are hundreds of bottle so rage, despair, fear, but you’d never guess from looking at me” (37).
Intelligent and extremely handsome, Nick is able to parley his talents into a writing job in New York City. Originally from Carthage, Missouri, Nick’s life seems magical when he meets Amy and enters her world of wealth and privilege. Nick falls deeply in love with Amy, and they marry.
Even as their marriage falls apart due to the strains of job loss, money problems, and parental illness, he respects and admires his wife for her brilliant brain. It is one of her chief advantages over him, and he knows that she is more intelligent than he is.
Nick’s affair mirrors his character weaknesses and his fragile identity, particularly with regards to his masculinity. Fearing that he will become like his father—a woman-hater—he over-compensates, self-consciously creating respectful relationships with women, but not communicating his real emotions or needs to any of them. He also feels deeply insecure about his manhood. He has no role model he can look to so he’s on his own in formulating what he thinks a “man” should be.
Amy uses this insecurity to manipulate and denigrate him. Without her, she says repeatedly, he wouldn’t be a man. To a great degree, Nick seems to agree with her. He stays in this highly abusive and twisted relationship ostensibly for the sake of his…