The Goldfinch The Goldfinch question


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Theory: Theo Decker may have actually overdosed in the hotel.
Sara Sara May 26, 2018 09:34PM
Though this is just a bit of a far-fetched theory on my end, I'm thinking that perhaps Theo Decker really did OD in his hotel room, and that what followed was him fantasizing about how everything would have gone, ideally. The reason for this is that everything that followed from Christmas morning on was just so CLEAN and tidy compared to the rest of the story. Everything worked out so perfectly, and with such clarity and understanding that it doesn't seem to match.

The timing of Boris' arrival was timed out far too well, and the only people he really interacts with past this point are those who were the most important and long-standing in his life. He reveals everything to Hobie, manages to fix all those he's wronged on vague, repetitive, independent journeys. He gets to stay in good graces with Mrs Barbour and hold onto the semblance of a nuclear family he had with them, all while not having to follow through or break his engagement to Kits, he doesn't even mention speaking to her or making arrangements of how it will work. He also never sees or speaks to Pippa again as far as we're concerned, and is all too well settled and understanding of her letter response to him.

The rest of his story and the ending of the book as far as we can tell is a long philosophical rambling, and a vague drop off of what happens from there.



This is an interesting theory.
I believe the story and everything after the hotel in Amsterdam was much smoother because he tried to kill himself, only to finally have the dream he had been waiting for since the accident in the museum - to see his mother.
I think he believes she seeing him is her forgiving him, as he always felt like her death was his fault and that is why she wouldn't see him in his dreams.
After he wakes up that morning - still alive, I feel like he has a whole new outlook and perspective on his situation, and therefore things begin to go more smoothly, as well as his reaction to the way things go toward the end.

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Sara That's great theory too. I hadn't really considered it at all. ...more
Apr 12, 2020 06:17AM · flag

Sara wrote: "Though this is just a bit of a far-fetched theory on my end, I'm thinking that perhaps Theo Decker really did OD in his hotel room, and that what followed was him fantasizing about how everything w..."

I just finished reading the book, and my most overwhelming impression was that Theo seemed to be in an unbelievably positive and philosophical state of mind compared to the self-loathing, depressed, and desperate creature holed up in an Amsterdam hotel room. So...yes, your "far-fetched theory" holds up rather well.

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Maritza I completely agree. There is so much in LIFE as to "how it ends", and the mastery of Donna Tartt goes so much farther ! ...more
Aug 21, 2020 11:08AM · flag

This is an interesting take. I do agree the ending was wrapped up way to cleanly. The fact that Theo had so much time throughout his life to come clean about the painting and explain everything to everyone and didn't until he went to Amsterdam didn't make sense to me. He was absolutely distraught when he killed a man and then all of a sudden was ok? I do also think he was very quick to leave Pippa alone after her letter to him. He clearly loved her so much throughout the whole novel and was then completely satisfied by the ending. They both did go through a tragic event and I have not so maybe I do not completely understand that point of view. The only other explanation is that maybe she wanted to rush the end and tie up loose ends?


I just finished this book this morning and I immediately started searching for theories on Theo having died in the hotel room. Everything after that point seems just a little too neatly packed. Everything works out a bit too easily. And there are NUMEROUS indicators which reflect an afterlife type situation based on language and symbolism. Thank God someone actually thought the same thing I did. I thought I was crazy. The idea of heaven, where everything works out, where everyone is there, seemed present as well. "Am I still engaged? Yeah, but there's no real commitment here" (that's not a direct quote). It was like Theo's subconscious was driving the bus. I dunno, good job posting this. I think it's a great theory even though it's probably not true.


I love this explanation. Makes me a lot more comfortable with the way this ended to be honest


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