The Little Friend Essay

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In the following interview excerpt, Tartt discusses the influence of classic literature in The Little Friend.

The Little Friend is set in 1970s Mississippi, the location of Tartt's own childhood. It is a big, expansive novel involving two very different families: the Cleves and the Ratliffs. The story opens with a devastating family tragedy: the death of a Cleve child, nine-year-old Robin, found mysteriously hanged—presumed murdered—from a tree in the family garden. Robin's sister Harriet is only a baby when the tragedy occurs, but years later, as a strong-willed 12-year-old who easily dominates her admiring playmates, Harriet becomes intensely curious about this unresolved episode in her family's history, the unspoken reason behind her mother's tranquilliser-fuelled abdication from life.

Piecing together information gleaned from family anecdotes, Harriet identifies a culprit in Robin's childhood schoolmate Danny Ratliff. But Danny has now grown up, and as Harriet sets...

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This section contains 1,016 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Little Friend Study Guide
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