Join | Login 

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!

Signed Bookstore | Authors | eBooks | Books | Stories | Articles | Poetry | Blogs | News | Events | Reviews | Videos | Success | Gold Members | Testimonials

Featured Authors: Kevin Weeks, iRussell Williams, iKellee Stone, iJames Skivington, iAntoine Raphael, iShelley Costello, iSara Coslett, i
  Home > Literary Criticism > Articles
Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Alfred J. Garrotto

· Become a Fan
  Notify me of new titles
  added by this author.

· 43 titles
· 68 Reviews
· Share with Friends!
· Save to My Library
Member Since: Aug, 2000

   My Blog
   Success Story
   Contact Author
   Read Reviews

Subscribe to the Alfred J. Garrotto Newsletter. Enter your name and email below and click "sign me up!"

· There's More: A Novella of Life and Afterlife

· The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story

· The Wisdom of Les Miserables: Lessons From the Heart of Jean Valjean

· Down a Narrow Alley

· I'll Paint a Sun

· Circles of Stone

· A Love Forbidden

· Finding Isabella

· Battling Writer's Guilt

· My Cello Year

· In a Child's Eyes

· We Both Had Dads Named Joseph

· Highjacked by a Great Novel

· When All Else Fails

· House of Faith

· A Little Night Music

· Keep It Simple . . . The Way Jesus Did

· O How Will We Ever Pay For All This?

· A Wedding Prayer-Poem

· A Prayer for Esther on Her Birthday

· Earth Mother”

· In Memory of Bill Joyce

· Aging Actor

· Graduation 2003 . . . Wedding 2010

· A Wedding Toast

· Driver's Prayer

         More poetry...
Alfred J. Garrotto, click here to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.

The Saint With the Dragon Tattoo
By Alfred J. Garrotto
Last edited: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010

Share    Print   Save  Become a Fan
Recent articles by
Alfred J. Garrotto

• Catholicism in a Nutshell
• We Are, Sometimes, Corked Bottles
• Elements of a Successful Family
• Battling Writer's Guilt
• My Cello Year
• In a Child's Eyes
• We Both Had Dads Named Joseph
           >> View all 27
Stieg Larsson's worldwide bestselling "Dragon Tattoo" trilogy revealed one of the most fascinating female protagonists in recent fiction. In this article, I offer a unique view of Lisbeth Salander.

I've always marveled that some children reared in wretchedly dysfunctional families grow up to be marvelous, well-adjusted human beings. Others born into loving homes and Western-style comfort and privilege choose an opposite path, living their lives in seemingly self-inflicted misery. Those who have scratched their way to maturity--even happiness--against the odds now have a new model and patron saint in Lisbeth Salander, the female protagonist of the late Stieg Larsson's internationally best-selling Swedish trilogy: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Purists will argue that a literary (and now film) character cannot  qualify as a saint. There was a time when I, too, delimited my understanding of the spiritual world along the boundary lines of fact and fiction. A crack appeared in my dualistic (either/or) thought processes in 1969, when the Catholic Church admitted that only shaky evidence existed to support the historicity of some saints who had long enjoyed their special annual feast days. Among those demoted was everybody's favorite co-pilot, St. Christopher.

Archbishop Jacopo de Voragine, author of The Golden Legend, a thirteenth century compilation of saints' lives, set off a seven-hundred-year run of popular devotion to the muscular Christ-bearer. Over the past three decades, the saint's medals and dashboard bobble heads have virtually disappeared. What became of those billions of prayers sent heavenward by travelers who relied on him for protection? Jesus assures us, as he did the people of his own day, that our God wastes nothing: "Your faith has saved you" (Luke 7:50).

Humans, whether religious or not, have always drawn inspiration from legends, as well as from certifiably historical people and events. So, why not adopt Larsson's protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, as a saint for our time, especially as a model for young adults? I won't give away the details of her life story here. There just might still be a few people on the planet who have not read the books (or not yet completed the trilogy). Personal discovery of her inner life, values, and unique, but finely tuned, morality is one of the trilogy's great rewards. But I give nothing away by saying that the Universe dealt Salander one of the worst hands of any child, fictional or real.


Canonizing Salander does challenge us to shift our understanding about what is moral and what is not. By rigid Judeo-Christian standards, the behaviors that enable her to survive as a functioning human being are immoral. But behavior alone is not the ultimate determiner of morality. For me, the most sensible and hallowed definition of morality is enshrined at the core of my own tradition. For Catholics, individual conscience is the final arbiter of morality, superseding everything else. The essence of morality is being human in the best sense, according to each person's unique capability at any given moment in life. Since we are made in God's image, whatever attitudes and behaviors help us to grow emotionally and spiritually--and thus become more like God--are moral. An intentional decision or action is immoral to the extent that it causes us to be less than the person God created us to be.

In The Girl Who Played With Fire, co-protagonist Mikael Blomkvist says of his friend Lisbeth, now a murder suspect, that she possesses a highly developed sense of morality. By this he means that her moral compass is a trustworthy guide and that she consistently operates from that core principle. In view of that, by what right does anyone judge her or condemn her choices? This is especially so, in light of the abuse she has suffered as a child and teen from the very adults responsible for guiding and protecting her (mother, father, legal and social welfare systems, and government at the highest levels). That she survives and arrives at womanhood as a still-moral human being is miracle enough to merit this fictional character the titles of role model and patron saint for the twenty-first-century. 

(c) 2010 by Alfred J. Garrotto
All rights reserved


Web Site The Wisdom of Les Miserables

Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!

Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!

Books by
Alfred J. Garrotto

The Wisdom of Les Miserables: Lessons From the Heart of Jean Valjean

Buy Options
Kindle, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Circles of Stone

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Kindle, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

A Love Forbidden

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Kindle, Barnes & Noble, more..

Down a Narrow Alley

Buy Options
Kindle, more..

The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story

Buy Options
Kindle, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

There's More: A Novella of Life and Afterlife

Buy Options
Kindle, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Finding Isabella

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Literary Criticism Articles
  1. Text and Meaning in Albert Camus' The Myth
  2. Lee's and Morrison's New Works May Influen
  3. Heels and Other Clones
  4. Book Titles Which Caught My Eye ...
  5. Writer's Digest Book Evaluation
  6. Why Shakespeare?
  7. Women's Fiction, Chick Lit, etc.
  8. Social Positions and Affectation
  9. Fiction and Generic Consciousness
  10. The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson
  11. Sex and Fiction
  12. As Do You Really Read News...
  13. Mystic Witch book review
  14. Hooked--Book Review
  15. Emerging Voices by Laurel Rund
  16. A Book Review is a Mirror in Another Write
  17. Ash: The Return of the Beast Book Review
  18. The Raj Novel
  19. Savannah Author Flannery O'Connor: A Write
  20. Published March 2011 OM Times

You can also search authors by alphabetical listing: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us

Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen

© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.