My Brilliant Friend Themes & Motifs

Elena Ferrante
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Elena's Dependence on Lila

As the narrator, Elena even mentions several times throughout the story how when she feels up, Lila is down, and vice versa. Elena will feel happy and confident about the path her life is taking only in relation to how Lila's is doing.

When Elena is accepted to high school, Lila is struggling with family problems and a lack of direction and motivation. School, something Lila envies, provides a productive outlet for Elena and gives her pleasure, but while she is excelling, Lila is floundering. When Lila finds something that motivates her and makes her happy, Elena grows envious and falls into a slump.

At her happiest, after the summer on the island of Ischia, Elena feels pretty and slim and has enjoyed a new life of different experiences. For six weeks she lives in blissful ignorance because Lila has not answered her...

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This section contains 1,766 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the My Brilliant Friend Study Guide
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