Marianne and Connell’s relationship is the main focus of the novel Normal People by Sally Rooney.
At first, Connell feels freedom in being with Marianne as he is able to be himself without worrying what people think of him:
When he talks to Marianne he has a sense of total privacy between them. He could tell her anything about himself, even weird things, and she would never repeat them, he knows that. Being away with her is like opening a door away from normal life and then closing it behind him. (p. 7)
This quote shows that one of the reason why Connell is initially attracted to Marianne is because he feels he can be different and more genuine around her. While Marianne and Connells’ secret relationship benefits Connell, as he does not get to worry about his friends’ reactions, Marianne suffers because of his unwillingness to be publicly associated with her. Ultimately, when Connell asks another girl to the Debs, Marianne feels betrayed, and this, a...