Gillian Flynn Essay Topics

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

When students are studying contemporary American literature, it helps to understand the life of the authors creating these works. Use these essay topics to help students write about the life and career of Gillian Flynn.

Understanding Gillian Flynn

Most students have probably heard of Gillian Flynn, or at least the titles of her popular books. As the author of the best-selling novels Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl, Flynn has impacted the worlds of literature and film, with both Dark Places and Gone Girl becoming movies and Sharp Objects turning into a television series. When students learn and write about Gillian Flynn, it helps them to understand how different life experiences can impact an author's works. Let's look at some essay topics to help students learn more about Gillian Flynn and the influences her personal experiences and beliefs have had on her writing.

Personal/Professional Life

  • Gillian Flynn's parents were both professors. Identify their areas of expertise and how their professions may have encouraged Flynn's future career.
  • Compare and contrast Gillian Flynn's early life with your own. What experiences do you share with Flynn? How were her formative years different from yours?
  • Gillian Flynn initially wanted to become a crime reporter. Describe why she chose not to pursue this career path. How could her training and interest in this area impact the stories she creates?
  • Gillian Flynn spent many years as a writer for the magazine Entertainment Weekly. How could this experience have helped her prepare to write her novels, some of which have turned into movies?

Literary Works

  • Identify the novels that Gillian Flynn has authored. Discuss the general themes found in her novels. What criticism has Flynn faced as a result of the themes she includes in her novels?
  • Gillian Flynn's novels are mostly of the mystery genre. Describe the characteristics of mystery novels. Compare and contrast the characteristics of mystery novels to another genre of literature.
  • The works of Gillian Flynn have be honored in many ways. Outline the awards that Flynn has received for her writing. In your opinion, what award that Flynn has received is the most prestigious or important?
  • Gillian Flynn has written other works that are not novels. Identify her other famous written works including comic books and film screenplays. How are these styles of writing different from writing a novel?

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