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Netherland: A Novel Themes & Motifs

Joseph O'Neill
This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Netherland.
This section contains 1,677 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
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Identity

A central theme in Netherland is identity, or more specifically, Hans' sense of self, which O'Neill uses to discuss the impact of personal and social crises on individual beings. When Rachel tells Hans that their marriage is not working and that she is leaving him to return, with their son, to London, Hans feels like he has lost touch with his own identity. This leads to a period of him wandering around New York without knowing who he really is, leading to his one-night stand with Danielle, his strange friendship with Chuck, and his immersion in cricketing subculture.

O'Neill signals the theme of Hans' identity crisis in part through the errors on his I.D. forms, including a misspelling of his middle name on his Green Card which leads to him being denied a provisional driving license (64). As Hans had not previously noticed the mistakes on...

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This section contains 1,677 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Netherland: A Novel Study Guide
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