The Women in the Castle Themes & Motifs

Jessica Shattuck
This Study Guide consists of approximately 76 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Women in the Castle.
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Tribalism

Shattuck employs the theme of tribalism to set up the premise of the book to show that this basic human instinct can be both helpful and harmful, especially when taken to extremes. Her use of tribalism as a major theme demonstrates that no one is exempt, even the most righteous like Marianne. This theme is also intertwined with the themes of survival and denial, as when characters are faced with life-threatening situations, they are forced to choose themselves and their loved ones first, and later deny or rationalize how their own choices hurt others.

Shattuck introduces this concept in the prologue to establish the main premise of the novel as well as use it to explore the inherent contradictions and contrasts. In the prologue, Marianne’s guests learn of the horrors of Munich the night of Kristallnacht. The Nazis, in their attempt to bring Germany together...

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This section contains 2,561 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Women in the Castle Study Guide
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